Marie Rackham performs her favorite songs of the people

Marie Rackham plays beloved songs of the people

Have you noticed your students, your children, or yourself feeling more agitated than usual in these complicated times? Agitation is a serious and unacknowledged obstacle to learning.

There are many good habits and tools that one can employ to increase calmness within oneself and foster a better mental frame for learning. Among them, one of the most accessible and powerful is music, specifically classical music.

In recent years we've seen a number of in-depth studies on the effects of classical music on the capacity of the mind to learn. The benefits of listening to classical music while learning include reduced stress and tension, accelerated learning, greater retention of material learned, higher performance on tests, lower blood pressure, and even increased IQ scores.

Music enhances learning
Marie Rackham Basic Cozy Punctuation Course

Deep in the brain there is a band of white fibers called the corpus callosum. Researchers have discovered that the corpus callosum increases in size when humans are exposed to quiet, classical music. This increase in size increases the communication between the two hemispheres of the brain which, in turn, increases learning efficiency.

The roots of the greatest works of classical music always lie in the deepest sensibilities and sensitivities of a people, which is why I love folk songs and spirituals as much as I love Bach, Chopin, or Debussy. Here I've gathered 64 of my favorites, from African-American spirituals to the music of Stephen Foster to folk songs from many different and beautiful traditions. I hope you enjoy listening to these timeless songs of the people as much as I enjoyed and continue to enjoy playing them.

Marie Rackham

Who This Music is For


Folk Songs & Spirituals has been carefully assembled and arranged so that even students without any background in classical music can enjoy and benefit from the music.

Families learning at home, independent learners who wish to increase their memory and powers of concentration, and teachers interested in helping to cultivate calm in the classroom have all benefited from Marie's nuanced and powerful interpretations of these memorable pieces of classical piano music.

A Word from Thomas

Complete Playlist


Track Kind, Country, or Composer Piece Length
1 Spiritual Deep River 2:16
2 Spiritual Ezekiel Saw The Wheel 0:45
3 Spiritual Go Down Moses 0:58
4 Spiritual Little David 0:53
5 Spiritual My Lord What A Morning 1:17
6 Spiritual Nobody Knows The Trouble 1:24
7 Spiritual Old Time Religion 0:38
8 Spiritual Swing Low Sweet Chariot 1:05
9 Spiritual Were You There 0:38
10 Stephen Foster Beautiful Dreamer 1:25
11 Stephen Foster Camptown Races 0:42
12 Stephen Foster Jeanie 1:04
13 Stephen Foster My Old Kentucky Home 1:22
14 Stephen Foster Nelly Bly 0:55
15 Stephen Foster Oh Susanna 0:28
16 Stephen Foster Old Black Joe 0:49
17 Stephen Foster Old Folks At Home 1:30
18 Stephen Foster Ring the Banjo 1:02
19 American Folk Song Coming Round The Mountain 0:42
20 American Folk Song Dixie Land 0:40
21 American Folk Song Jolly Good Fellow 0:29
22 American Folk Song Good Night Ladies 0:49
23 American Folk Song Grandfather's Clock 1:10
24 American Folk Song Home On The Range 0:49
25 American Folk Song Home Sweet Home 0:59
26 American Folk Song Listen To The Mockingbird 1:05
27 American Folk Song Long Long Ago 0:44
28 American Folk Song Love's Old Sweet Song 0:39
29 American Folk Song Oh My Darling Clementine 0:27
30 American Folk Song Polly Wolly Doodle 0:25
31 American Folk Song Sweet Betsy From Pike 0:45
32 American Folk Song Sweet And Low 0:51
33 American Folk Song Frankie And Johnny 0:51
34 American Folk Song The Old Gray Mare 0:35
35 American Folk Song Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here 0:34
36 American Folk Song Mademoiselle from Armentières 0:35
37 American Folk Song The Man Who Broke The Bank 0:37
38 American Folk Song Pop Goes the Weasel 0:26
39 American Folk Song Arkansas Traveler 0:32
40 American Folk Song Sailor's Hornpipe 0:45
41 American Folk Song Irish Washerwoman 0:34
42 American Folk Song Aloha Oi 1:03
43 American Folk Song Red River Valley 0:55
44 American Folk Song Drink To Me Only 0:56
45 Russian Folk Song Dark Eyes 0:43
46 Russian Folk Song Two Guitars 1:05
47 Russian Folk Song Song Of The Volga Boatmen 1:10
48 Scottish Folk Song Comin' Thro The Rye 0:25
49 Scottish Folk Song My Bonnie 0:48
50 Scottish Folk Song Auld Lang Syne 0:37
51 Scottish Folk Song The Campbells Are Coming 0:34
52 Irish Folk Song I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen 1:30
53 Irish Folk Song Danny Boy 0:59
54 Irish Folk Song St. Patrick's Day In The Morning 0:30
55 Irish Folk Song The Minstrel Boy 0:36
56 German Folk Song Du, Du Liegst Mir Im Herzen 0:29
57 German Folk Song O Du Lieber Augustin 0:18
58 German Folk Song Oh Where, Oh Where Is Mine Little Dog Gone 0:21
59 Spanish Folk Song Juanita 0:49
60 Spanish Folk Song Beautiful Heaven 1:12
61 Spanish Folk Song La Cucaracha 0:24
62 Spanish Folk Song La Paloma 1:32
63 Italian Folk Song Santa Lucia 0:28
64 Jewish Folk Song Hatikvah (The Hope) 0:47


In order to support students and families in these unusual times we're working to keep our rates as affordable as possible.

Folk Songs & Spirituals: $16 $10 USD

Immediate access to all 64 downloadable mp3 files for an individual or a family.