Alastair Moock is a Grammy Nominee for Best Children’s Album, a three-time Parents’ Choice Gold Medal winner, and recipient of the ASCAP Joe Raposo Children’s Music Award. He is also a co-founder of two anti-racist music organizations, The Opening Doors Project and Family Music Forward. A songwriter and performer for 25 years, Moock has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe playing for adults, kids, and everyone in between. Like his boyhood hero Woody Guthrie, he believes in the power of music to reach all people — young and old, far and wide, for all occasions.
Alastair has been performing educational programs for literally all ages since 2010 — at elementary, middle, and high schools; public, private, and charter schools; colleges and universities; and music and writing conferences throughout the country. He was a roster member at Young Audiences of Massachusetts for five years before setting out on his own.
During the height of covid, we worked hard to make all of Alastair’s programs available for remote learning. Two programs, “Race and Song: A Musical Conversation” and “Music and Social Change” were professionally recorded and edited with detailed photos and graphics. Alastair is back to live performing, but all of his offerings are still available for remote learning if preferred.
Social Justice Assemblies
Race and Song: A Musical Conversation (Grades K-12)
Alastair is joined by legendary folk musician and social justice educator Reggie Harris for a candid back and forth on history, current events, and the power of song. The two discuss their roots, what it means to live in one’s skin, how we can talk more productively about race, and why the past informs the present. Improvising together on songs like “Wade in the Water,” “Freight Train,” “This Little Light of Mine,” and Moock’s own “Be a Pain,” Reggie and Alastair demonstrate the unique ability of music to simultaneously express sorrow, joy, struggle, and determination… A must see program for anyone interested in booking race-conscious work for young people. Learn more HERE.
Playing with Tradition Assembly (Grades PreK-3)
American folk music, like all folk music, is rooted in tradition. But the form is constantly evolving, with songwriters reworking older songs to tell new stories. In this lively, upbeat performance full of participatory singing and dancing, Alastair introduces young students to a diverse group of American musicians who have used folk music to teach lessons, chronicle history, champion causes, celebrate victories, and simply make people happy. Students will meet Woody Guthrie, Mississippi John Hurt, Pete Seeger, and other heroes of American folk, and learn how Dr. King and others used the American song tradition to help inspire change during the Civil Rights movement. Alastair also sings some of his own playful compositions to show how a contemporary folk singer incorporates the folk tradition into his life and work.
Singing Their Way Through Assembly (Grades 3-5)
Using a combination of original and historical material, Alastair demonstrates the ways in which American music has been used to inspire courage and fuel broader social movements. Students will learn how Woody Guthrie grew into a champion for workers’ rights, how Dr. King used music in his fight to end segregation, how Bob Dylan used song craft to protest a war, and how Alastair and his daughter turned a personal journey through cancer into an uplifting album for “the world’s bravest kids.” Students will sing, laugh, and learn important lessons about their nation’s past.
Music and Social Change Assembly (Grades 4-12)
The most detailed of Alastair’s social justice programs, this assembly introduces students to the music that shaped and connected three of America’s most important movements for change: Labor Rights, Civil Rights, and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement. Through Moock’s narrative storytelling and musical talents, and an engaging visual presentation, students journey from the Great Depression through the Jim Crow South (and North), and learn how organized resistance led to change then that still informs movements for change today. Moock performs and teaches songs like “This Land is Your Land” (examining the song’s great virtues and also its problems), “The Union Maid,” “If You Miss Me From the Back of the Bus,” and “We Shall Overcome.” Students will answer questions, sing, and walk away with a deeper understanding of our country and the ways in which our past affects our present. Check out a preview HERE.
Language Arts Assemblies, Residencies & Workshops
Language of Song Assembly (Grades 3-5)
Alastair brings his guitar and his passion for American folk music to teach students language arts skills in this spirited, interactive program. Using well known folk songs, contemporary tunes, and gems from his own catalog, Alastair helps students identify key concepts such as subject, mood, setting, and point of view, and to recognize how writers use rhythm and sonic patterns like rhyme and alliteration to pull in readers (or, in this case, listeners). After singing and discussion, kids put what they’ve learned to work, helping to craft a new verse for one of Alastair’s original songs. Moock’s presentation gives students a fresh perspective on the power and fun of language and leaves them feeling inspired and empowered to express themselves through writing.
Build a School Song Residency (Grades 3-5)*
Every school needs its own song, or so Alastair Moock believes. Writing an original song from scratch is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn important language arts skills while also engaging in a powerful community-building exercise. The residency begins with a “Language of Song” assembly, followed by a number of classes in which Alastair works with students to brainstorm ideas, and then write and perform a song that reflects unique qualities of the school and student body. At the end of the residency, students will have a finished and recorded song, a new appreciation for writing, and an experience they will never forget.
Song for a Cause Residency (Grades 5-12)*
Throughout history, music has been a powerful tool for supporting social, political and charitable causes, and protesting injustice. As important as it is for students to learn about the history of this type of music, it’s even more powerful for them to engage in creating it themselves. In this unique residency, which begins with a “Music and Social Change” assembly, Alastair guides students through the process of choosing a cause, thinking through solutions, and finding authentic ways to express their voices in the building of a brand new issue-based song. Possible topics may include bullying, LGBTQ+ rights, racial or gender equality, or any other issue of substance that students and teachers may choose to focus on.
Songwriting Workshops (Grades 3-12)
When schools don’t have time for a full residency program, these one-off workshops are a perfect way to expose students to effective writing techniques and literacy skills through fun, small-group exercises and games.
*Because they require multiple visits, residencies are generally only available within 50 miles of Boston.
Concerts and Fundraisers
Sometimes educational spaces are looking for something a little less academic and a little more rockin.’ Alastair Moock and Friends perform concerts for kids and families all over the country — at theaters, clubs, schools, and libraries – and they’re available to play your concert or fundraiser, too!
In his 25+ year career, Alastair has made a name for himself as a songwriter on the folk and Americana circuit, touring throughout the U.S. and Europe and playing renowned events like the Newport Folk Festival. In addition to his well-known work for kids, Moock has released five “grownup” albums, including his latest self-titled release of 2017. The Boston Globe calls him “one of the town’s best and most adventurous songwriters” and The Washington Post says “every song is a gem.”
Among other places, Moock has taught songwriting and guitar workshops for adults at WUMB’s Summer Acoustic Music Week (SAMW) in New Hampshire, The Cape Cod Songwriters’ Retreat in Massachusetts, and The Sanibel Writers’ Conference in Florida.
“Alastair presented possibly the best multimedia program (spoken word, pictures, singing, and truly fine guitar playing) that I have ever seen in an assembly in my 35 years of teaching. He had the students singing and clapping with him at the end. A superb performance, and great teaching, too!”
– Bill Rogers, Middle School History Teacher, Buckingham Browne & Nichols School (Cambridge, MA)
“After many years of separation due to the pandemic, it was moving to see students hand-in-hand singing ‘We Shall Overcome.’… Moock beautifully blended music, discussion, and visuals to help students understand the influence of music on past, present, and future social change movements.”
– Jocelyn Marshall, Grade 4 Teacher, Graham and Parks School (Cambridge, MA)
“Alastair has a wonderful way of meeting students where they are, sharing his passion and knowledge about the historical power of music, and reminding them of their potential power in this world. He can work with any age group, empowering them to be active participants in their world.”
– Tamara Schurdak, Head of School, The Chestnut Hill School (Chestnut Hill, MA)
“We brought ‘Race and Song’ to our entire school community, and it was a fantastic success. With access to the video ahead of time, each grade was able to view the performance in a developmentally appropriate way, and teachers crafted deep, thorough lessons and conversations around the content. Reggie and Alastair were incredibly kind, open and generous with their time, and their beautiful video provided a jumping off point for really important and timely conversations. All of our students, from our youngest learners to our oldest, were fully engaged and eager to continue the conversation even after the Q&A was over.”
– Mica Moellering, Head of Performing Arts, Charles River School (Dover, MA)
“We hosted Alastair for back to back assemblies and he was wonderful! He taught about the history of our country through folk music and how music can affect change. He highlighted the Great Depression, Vietnam War, and Civil Rights through a musical lens, and kept the kids engaged and having fun (singing and laughing) while learning a ton about important topics in our country’s history. A fun assembly for all — highly recommended!”
– Rachel Motley, PTO member, Chickering Elementary School (Dover, MA)
“The kids are still talking about Alastair’s amazing presentation. This was one of those experiences I know our students will take with them for the rest of their lives.”
– Brian Gellerstein, Music Teacher, Tobin Elementary School (Cambridge, MA)
“An unbelievable job from start to finish! Our kids learned so much and they now have their very own song to take away from the experience. Thank you thank you thank you!!!”
– Randi Goodwin, PTO member, Glover Elementary School (Marblehead, MA)
“Here’s the thing about Alastair: He is really genuine, and it comes across. He cares about this music and kids, and he conveys his passion for it in an accessible and enjoyable way.”
– Shelley Sommers, Library Director, Inly School (Scituate, MA)
For booking inquiries and further info, please contact Stacey Babb at #ob#fgnprl#at#bcravatqbbefcebwrpg.arg#ob#.