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Rhythm and Blues Music Teacher Resources
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Students explore power and the symbols of power in West African music. They discuss the music of West Africa and compare it to African American music of today. In addition, they investigate musical instruments of Africa, identify the characteristics of drumming and mud cloth, and study the art of narrative story-telling. Activities such as reviewing videos, dancing basic rhythm, and exploring the Mjiani Dance are listed.
Contemplate what music learners listen to and why they listen. Can they find poetry within music lyrics? Specifically hone in on blues lyrics and ruminate upon the social issues prevalent in the themes. Particular song lyrics coincide with poets like Langston Hughes and his writing "Weary Blues." Scholars then compose a poem themselves. Tie these activities into a social studies, art, or English class for cross-curricular emphasis.
This lengthy assignment was designed for English language learners. It includes a 1-page reading on the rapper, Jay-Z, and 10 activities/exercises that focus on listening and reading comprehension, speaking, vocabulary acquisition, spelling, and more. An answer key is provided for some of the exercises.
Middle schoolers examine influence The Blues had on Rock and Roll and the concomitant social, political, and economic factors and movements during the post-World War II period. Students then research and create multimedia reports on teacher-approved bands, including timelines of bands' careers.
Watching Great Performances’ Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival Chicago launches an investigation into and discussion of how the electric guitar and guitarists have changed the sound of the blues over time. An engaging way to explore the relationship between music and culture.
Tenth graders identify and interpret how to recognize traditional harmonic progressions such as I-V-I in writing or performance. They experience improvising simple melodic patterns based on traditional harmonic progressions. By coupling chord identification and improvisation, 10th graders learn that a certain pitch has both melodic and harmonic attributes.