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Marcus Wilkerson

Marcus Wilkerson

Arts Education Artist
  • Music


    Marcus Wilkerson, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, mixes American roots music with the rhythms of traditional African and Afro-Latin music and song. A talented vocalist, hand drummer and guitarist, Marcus weaves in and out of the genres that cross all cultures with his mixture of acoustic soul and what he calls bio-rhythmic expression, using percussion and his body as his instrument.

    Deeply steeped in the classic song writing traditions of early Civil Rights Movement and the peace movement of the 60s and 70s, Marcus Wilkerson is a student, teacher and performer of all music that marks the development of human consciousness.

    Through collaboration with your core teacher, the final curriculum will include formative and summative assessments as well as details for pre- and post-residency instruction. See for more potential residency plans.

    Potential Residency Project

    Songs of Freedom, Songs of Peace -
    Middle and High school students

    Songs of Freedom, Songs of Peace focuses on the songs from the eras of the slavery/revolutionary war period, antebellum/antebellum period, the Civil Rights Era and into the present day. These are songs that trace the development of humans and our consciousness, as we move closer and closer to a more diverse and peaceful co-existence.


    Students will know that music is a direct reflection of the time period and experiences of the people who create it.

    Students will understand that music has the power to address and solve social problems.

    Students will create music that addresses issues important to them.

    Day 1: I will share examples of music from pre-Civil War period, post Civil War through 60s Peace Movement to present day.

    Essential Questions:

    a.) How does music effect social change?

    b.) In what way does music affect our world view now?

    Day 2: Styles and eras of the days past demonstrated and explored. From West African traditional music to Bomboulas of Congo Square, New Orleans, field hollers, spirituals, folk songs and ballads, minstrels and Americas first pop music of the civil rights era.

    Essential Questions:

    a.) What is call and response?

    b.) What distinguishes a work song from a field holler?

    c.) What events took place to inspire which genres of music?

    Day 3: The Social Issues, The Awakenings. Explore social issues and the writer/activist who wrote the theme music.

    Day 4: The Issue Defined. Core groups will pick their leading issue and choose a song template that best communicates the objective. The group will use a developed creative process to write the lyrics and select the accompaniment for the song.

    Essential Questions:

    a.) What are the issues that trouble us most?

    b.) How can we apply what we've learned about "Songs of Freedom" to create music that can make a difference?

    Day 5: Our culminating event of Spirit and Song will include the core groups sharing their songs in front of the other core groups and faculty.

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