Free White Paper Download

"Daddy Sang Bass. Now, Little Brother Just Listens to iTunes"

by Dr. Joshua Drake

Family singing, usually around a piano, was an American tradition for more than 150 years until it was displaced by the radio in the 1920s, and by personal listening devices following the invention of the transistor radio in the 1950s. In this interesting white paper, Dr. Joshua Drake skillfully and engagingly recounts the development, noting many interesting roles singing has played in American culture.

Drake argues that family singing was a very important thread that tied the family together. The breakdown of the modern family parallels the disappearance of family singing, not necessarily a “cause and effect” relationship, but worth pondering. Significantly, the demise of family singing was replaced by the use of personal listening devices and television—each person now having an iPad or iPhone or something similar. Can a revival of or a rebuilding of family ties grow out of making music together? How can we help make families stronger in the 21st century?


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