Teach the Beat!

Bringing the distinctive D.C. sound of go-go into the classroom.

Teaching for Change is honored to work with D.C.  area schools and the authors of The Beat! Go-Go Music from Washington, D.C. to develop lessons and share teaching ideas for infusing the history and music of go-go in middle and high school social studies, language arts, math, music, and/or D.C. history classes, and to bring renowned go-go performers into D.C. classrooms.

"Go-go has stayed true to time-honored cultural scripts such as live call-and-response, live instrumentation, as well as its locally rooted fashions, slang, dance, distribution and economic systems. Simply put: Go-Go never sold out. There is a grit and texture to the music that gives voice to the communities where it was created." –Natalie Hopkinson



Teach the Beat is an initiative to ensure that DC area students learn the rich history and the various stylistic elements related to the Go-Go music genre, drawing on the vast array of performers in D.C., scholars, and the experience of teachers who grew up with Go-Go. The goal is to catalyze the art and history of Go-Go as a pedagogical tool for all (upper elementary, middle and high school) music and social studies teachers.

Teach the Beat is coordinated by Teaching for Change and the authors of The Beat. In partnership with DC Public Schools and with support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and individual donors, the focus is to provide the support that music and social studies teachers need to effectively infuse Go-Go into the curriculum, using five components:

  1. Collect and share digital oral histories and lessons from teachers who already incorporate go-go in the classroom to inspire and inform others

  2. Professional development institute for DC area music and social studies teachers

  3. Coaching sessions by go-go performers for music teachers

  4. Support for social studies classes on oral history collection

  5. Sharing selected interviews conducted by students of musicians and school staff on Go-Go.

Copyright  2013 The Beat. All Rights Reserved.

Website developed by Teaching for Change with support from
the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Image credits: Thomas Sayers Ellis