Musical Ideas for “Change Sings”

Using Change Sings in Music Class
Change Sings by Amanda Gorman


As teachers, we know how important it is to provide opportunities for social-emotional learning and development in a child the fact that they can make a difference in the world. One young lady has done that and has inspired adults, and this book can inspire kids as well.

Amanda Gorman is not only the youngest poet who has recited her poem at the U.S. inauguration but is also the first youth Poet Laureate in the United States. She was raised by a single mom who was an English teacher and has revealed she has an auditory processing disorder and speech disorder. To practice her speech development, she sang.  Your students with various abilities can probably relate to the struggles of overcoming speech issues. 

But to the book…..

The illustrations by Loren Long are fabulous. Gorman refers to singing often. Another great aspect of the book that is unique to music is Long’s use of musical instruments in the illustrations and the mentioning of diversity by both: not just racial diversity, but ability diversity as well. 

So, how can you use this book for meeting musical concepts?


  • Use the vocalizing words mentioned in the text to practice the four voices and vocalizing to extend range into the head voice (singing, screaming-don’t really do that!-humming).
  • Use the book as the basis for movement: Play a recording like Fanfare for the Common Man and ask the students to act out what the words are saying. 

First Grade:

  • Create a simple melody, preferably with so-mi,  and use it as part of your so-mi preparation. If you use this book later in the year, use phrases from the poem for simple rhythmic dictation with ta and ti-ti.

Second Grade:

  • The idea is similar to first grade, but create your song with so-mi-la-do (or add re in the later part of the year.) Students can also create a simple melodic ostinato with solfege and words or phrases from the poe.

Third Grade:

  • See the end of this post.

Fourth Grade

  • Students will create ostinati with phrases or words from the poem to use as a speech piece for movement, either during the poem or in between for another style of a rondo.

Older Grades: Create a melody for the poem. It would be best to divide the class into groups and give each a stanza.

Have YOU thought of a great lesson plan for this wonderful book? Send it to me, and I will share it. If I use your idea on the blog, you will get a $10 Amazon gift card!

NOTE: The link below is an updated link. The original one didn’t work.

Freebie! I am offering a free third grade lesson plan for Change Sings. No strings attached.

Please use this book. Your students will love it.


  • Hi there,
    I love your ideas for the book Change Sings for K-5.
    I would love to see your Grade 3 lesson, but the link doesn’t work.
    Kind regards,
    Beata Buczkowski
    Mississauga, Ontario

    • Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I’ve corrected it in the blog post.


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Hi there!

I am an elementary music teacher and adjunct professor from Missouri and have completed my Ph.D. in music education through the University of Kansas.

I am an elementary music teacher and adjunct professor from Missouri and have just completed my Ph.D. in music education through the University of Kansas.


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