Rhythm and Blues Music Teacher Resources
Find Rhythm and Blues Music educational ideas and activities
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This lesson focuses on how students can learn basic blues percussion patterns by considering the polyrhythms of African drumming and investigating how and why such drums were banned during slavery. Students will listen to several blues and non-blues recor
Students explore the various rhythmic combinations in jazz and blues music. They watch a video segment, apply a mathematical formula to calculate the number of possible rhythmic combinations, and perform a combination of notes and rhythm on a keyboard.
High schoolers view the AMERICAN MASTERS film "Muddy Waters: Can't Be Satisfied" and research him using the Guided Reading strategy. They examine the influential musician's childhood and trace his journey from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago. They also focus their research on the Great Migration from the 1920s to the 1970s as they create a travel package for history buffs and Blues music enthusiasts.
Students observe that there are myriad combinations of rhythms to choose from when improvising jazz and blues music, and recognize that while the variations seem infinite, they are in fact finite. They notate a 12 bar blues progression using a different combination of notes and rhythms for each of the 12 bars, and then perform it on a keyboard or virtual piano online.
In this music history learning exercise, students will read five paragraphs about the history of blues and jazz music and respond to 10 short answer questions.
Students explore history and sounds of blues music, construct instruments from scrap materials, and compose music to accompany lyrics of songs for kids.
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.
Take a quick tour through the history of Blues. Elementary learners will find this presentation easy to understand and full of interesting information. There are web links that direct viewers to additional information but none that provide examples of what the Blues sound like.
Students identify the musical form of the 12-bar blues. They identify a problem from the "Farming in the 1940's" section and compose a 12-bar blues song. make comparisons between problems of the 1940's and today.
Young scholars groups give their presentations. Afterwards, the "lyrics" groups perform their new, original Blues lyrics with a live rhythm section.
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.
When slavery took Africans from their land, they were separated from the rich musical and oral traditions native to each country and region. While working as slaves, Africans found they had two places where they could use these musical traditions freely:
Students examine the relationship between technological and social change. They discuss how blues became so popular because of the radio. They discuss how music can be used as a tool for cultural understanding.
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.
Students 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.
Young scholars discover an Indian influence on Blues music. In this music instructional activity, students explore improvisation and compare the traditions of different cultures and styles. Young scholars develop the blues scale, cyclical music, and compose short variations.
Students read and analyze A Streetcar Named Desire. Group activities, web resources, and creative assignments are used to understand the analysis and context of this famous play.
Students investigate the dramatic elements of a Streetcar Named Desire. In this drama instructional activity, students explore the theme of the Tennessee Williams play as they read the play and watch performances of some of the acts. Students then write formal analyses of the play.
Students gain an appreciation for various types of music. Using the music of the past, they compare it with the music of today. In groups, they research periods in which blues and jazz were most popular and write their own piece of music to perform for the class.
Young scholars perform improvisation. In this blues music lesson, students play chord tones within the blues twelve bar progression. Young scholars utilize new pitches given four or eight measures.