Using the Arts to Learn


“Funny how a beautiful song could tell such a sad story.” – Sarah Dessen, Lock and Key

Listening to the musical Hamilton’s soundtrack often sends me into a whirl of emotions. I’ve been listening to It’s Quiet Uptown by the original Broadway cast as well as the Kelly Clarkson cover for the mixtape version of the musical for the past week – both are amazing. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve cried whenever I put it on. It still hits me in the feels when I hear it. I encourage you all to listen to It’s Quiet Uptown. Truly a lovely song. It’s truly unimaginable to me what they might’ve gone through with Philip’s death and the circumstances as to why it happened in the first. Dessen’s quote is perfect for It’s Quiet Uptown. The song is a beautiful song, and yet it tells such a sad story.

Lyrics enhanced by music can make for great storytelling. Hamilton is one of the many examples of people using the arts as a medium to tell a story. Thanks to Hamilton, I learned the story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton and a little more on Alexander Hamilton. I had researched Alexander Hamilton when I was a little girl so I could faintly recall some details such as his affair and that he was important as a founding father, but the musical helped to tell the story of him and his wife to a broader audience who may or may not have known anything about Hamilton beyond that he’s on our $10 bill. Having listened to Hamilton’s soundtrack and watched a bit of the musical from YouTube, I sought to learn more on my own because it interested me to learn more.

When I learn about history, I typically like to learn about politics and wars, but lately I’ve been seeing opportunities to learn more about great women that did things on a domestic level like Hamilton’s wife Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton who was an amazing woman who did great things such as establishing New York’s first private orphanage, which now operates as family services called agency Graham Windham. I’m filled with admiration for a woman who suffered such setbacks in life, but still pushed on forward to do great things with her life. Eliza is a heroine in her own right. It’s touching that Eliza would spend a good portion of her life after Hamilton’s death to preserving his legacy in good faith, and that even when she was suffering from short-term memory loss, Eliza could still remember her Alexander vividly (1).