On November 6, 1854, famed American musician John Philip Sousa was born in Washington, D.C. This patriotic birthplace is fitting, since Sousa’s best-known works are marches that are commonly played during parades or at other celebrations of American holidays.
Sousa is best known as a brass-band trailblazer, but the first instrument he learned to play was the very traditional violin.
Sousa soon became an apprentice in the United States Marine Band, and eventually came to lead it. Once he formed his own band, his career really took off. He wrote over one hundred marches, including The Stars and Stripes Forever.
Sousa found that sometimes the brassy energy of his bands was so strong that it overwhelmed even the powerful tuba. So he invented a whole new instrument called the sousaphone. It is so big that is bell is two feet wide, and its pipes actually wrap around the player’s body!
The guy who invented the music that represents our country? All-American cool.