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John Philip Sousa ~Composer Study Lesson Ideas

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Did you know that November is the month of John Philip Sousa’s birthday? He was a composer who was born on November 6, 1854.  Well, in honor of that I have some resources and lesson ideas to share with you for teaching about John Philip Sousa in your home or school.

John Philip Sousa lesson ideas

First and foremost, you have got to listen to some of of his fun music.John Philip Sousa was nicknamed the March King because he primarily American Military and patriotic marches. He wrote 136 marches and many operettas. His music is fun and lively, and kids will love it!  Sousa led the U.S. Marine Band and then the President’s Own Band during five different presidencies. He even played at two inaugural balls.   He organized The Sousa Band the year he left the Marine Band. The Sousa Band toured from 1892–1931, performing at more than 15,000 concerts.  The band played for sold-out crowds both in America and around the world.  

 HERE is a great playlist on YouTube of Sousa’s music.

Did you know Sousa was also a novelist?  He wrote a few books that can be found for FREE on Amazon Kindle.

fifth string by Sousa

The Fifth String

Experiences of a Bandmaster

Pipetown Sandy (not on Kindle)

Classics For Kids

One of our favorite sites to learn about classical music is Classics for Kids.
They have 4 different radio broadcasts about Sousa As well as some printable activities to go along with them.



The Crayola website has a free coloring page about John Philip Sousa.

This is a great website all about Sousa and his career. There are some amazing resources on there.

John Philip Sousa

Sounds of Sousa is another website full of resources to learn about Sousa and his music.

Stars and Stripes Forever Movie

The Stars and Stripes Movie about the life of John Philip Sousa is on Netflix but I also found a free place to watch it HERE.

John Philip Duck

Another great children’s book about Sousa is John Phillip Duck by Patricia Polacco, Plus there is a fun unit all about it on Homeschool Share.


We always love the books by Mike Venezia. He has a World’s Famous Composers one about John Phillips Sousa.

Childhood of Famous Americans- John Philip SousaL

Another book series we love is the Childhood of Famous Americans series.
They have one called John Philip Sousa: Marching Boy, by Ann Weil.

Have fun learning a cup routine to El Capitain by Sousa with your kids!

Beth’s Music Notes is a blog full of fun music resources for teaching. She has some great lesson ideas for John Philip Sousa!

And finally… did you know that John Philip Sousa was homeschooled?
The Famous Homeschoolers site has a great biography about him with links to more great resources about him.


November Birthdays

Some Other  November Birthdays From History:

November 2, 1734- Daniel Boone, Kentucky frontiersman
November 2, 1755- Marie Antoinette, queen of France
November 2, 1795- James K. Polk, 11th U.S. President (1845-1849)
November 2, 1865- Warren G. Harding, 29th U.S. President, died of a heart attack while in office
November 3, 1793- Stephen Austin, defeated Mexican army and founded Texas
November 4, 1879- Will Rogers, actor, cowboy
November 7, 1867- Marie Curie, chemist, physicist
November 8, 1656- Edmund Halley, astronomer, mathematician
November 8, 1847 Bram Stoker, novelist, wrote horror novel Dracula
November 8, 1922- Christian Barnard, surgeon, performed the first heart transplant
November 9, 1918- Spiro T. Agnew, The only U.S. Vice President to resign while in office.
November 11, 1885- George S. Patton, WWII general
November 12, 1815- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, leader of women’s suffrage
November 12, 1866- Sun Yat-sen, Chinese revolutionary leader
November 13, 1850- Robert Louis Stevenson, writer
November 14, 1765- Robert Fulton, invented the steamboat
November 14, 1840- Claude Monet, painter
November 14, 1889- Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India
November 14, 1900- Aaron Copland, composer
November 18, 1923- Alan Shepard, astronaut, first American in space
November 18, 1928 – Mickey Mouse’s Birthday
November 19, 1831- James A. Garfield, 20th U.S. President, assassinated during first year in office
November 19, 1917- Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India
November 20, 1889- Edwin Hubble, astronomer
November 21, 1694- Voltaire, philosopher
November 22, 1890- Charles de Gaulle, President of France
November 23, 1804- Franklin Pierce, 14th U.S. President (1853-1857)
November 23, 1859- William “Billy the Kid” Bonney, Wild West outlaw
November 24, 1784 Zachary Taylor, 12th U.S. President, died in office.
November 24, 1864- Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, painter
November 25, 1914- Joe DiMaggio, MLB baseball player
November 25, 1960- John F. Kennedy Jr., son of President Kennedy
November 26, 1922- Charles Schulz, cartoonist, created “Peanuts”
November 30, 1835- Samuel Clemens “Mark Twain”, author “Tom Sawyer”
November 30, 1874- Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Britain during WWII

love karyn


  1. These are great ideas. Love the post.

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