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April 24, 2014

Jazz Month and International Jazz Day: Part Three - Jazz Solos on Orff

In my final 2014 International Jazz Day post, I want to share a way to get your students participating in jazz instead of only consuming jazz.  Jazz is truly a participation sport and its only when people start allowing jazz to pulse through them that they start to appreciate and enjoy jazz music.

There is no better way to internalize jazz music than through improvisation.  At the heart beat of jazz, improvisation is the way individuals take ownership of the music and start making it "their own" (sorry for the overly used cliche).  Many people are intimidated by improvisation but with the right tools, improv can be fun and liberating.  Surprisingly, even very young students can be successful improvising!

Improvising on Orff with the Blues Scale


I got a new set of Orff instruments at the beginning of the school year and am absolutely in love!  For Jazz month, I have set up the instruments in the E Blues Scale, which is the key that works best on the Orff instruments.


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Jazz Month and International Jazz Day: Part Two - 12-Bar Blues Progression

Yesterday I posted some resources, including the Chuck Vanderchuck PBSKids website, for teaching Jazz at the elementary level.  Jazz is truly an American art form and although it is a world-wide phenomenon now, it started here in the Southern United States.  I am proud to be an American and as an American music teacher, I owe it to my students to expose them to jazz, as it is the grandfather of most current American music (country, rock and roll, pop, etc.).

Jazz is by nature a participatory art so I like to get my students interacting and making music as much as I can.  One of my favorite ways of getting students to participate in making jazz is playing the 12-Bar Blues progression.

12-Bar Blues

I know that technically the 12-bar blues is from "the blues" but the progression is also used in a lot of jazz tunes as well.  It is a great way to get kids participating in jazz without knowing so much of the music theory required to play good jazz.  You can choose any piece that uses the standard 12-Bar Blues Progression for this (I use "Good Mornin' Blues" or "ABC Blues" from the Silver-Burdett Making Music Textbook Series from the 2nd Grade and Kindergarten books respectively.  I've also used Chuck Berry's "Johnny B Goode" recording)

We start by counting the boxes in the graphic below and discuss that each box represents one "bar" or measure in music.  The black hashes represent the 4 beats in each measure.  Then we discuss roman numerals and what I, IV, and V mean in roman numerals (1, 4, and 5).  We practice saying the chord numbers as we pat the beat for each bar (1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1….4, 4, 4, 4, 1, 1, 1… you get the idea).


Then we discuss that each roman numeral represents a chord in music.  We define chords as 3 or more notes played at the same time and that each chord has different notes in it and each chord sounds unique.  


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April 23, 2014

Jazz Month and International Jazz Day: Part One

Happy National Jazz Month 2014.  I know I am super late to the party this year but I thought its better late than never.  I have some awesome jazz resources I want to share for National Jazz Month and best of all, they're F R E E ! ! !

Just in case you didn't know about National Jazz Month, it happens every year during April and is sponsored by National Association for Music Educators (NAME), the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and a plethora of other jazz partners.

Here are some links and resources to check out:

Smithsonian Jazz at the National Museum of American History

Jazz April 2014 - A project of the Jazz Journalists Association

International Jazz Day - April 30

Jazz: A Film By Ken Burns (PBS)

Jazz Corner: A Great Resource for Jazz Musicians

PBS Kids used to have a great Kids Jazz club that they discontinued.  I was terribly disappointed when I discovered this.  However, they replaced it with a new series that is pretty ok, not great, but not bad.  It is flash-based, so I cannot use it on my iPad lab but it works ok as a class activity on the Interactive Whiteboard.


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February 14, 2014

Royalty-Free, Public Domain Clip Art

Clipart created using CLKER and PicCollage
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  As my gift to you, I wanted to share with you two of my favorite source for graphics and clipart that I use for my printables and products.

CLKER

from Clker.com

www.clker.com
is a royalty-free, public domain source for clip art.  What is so cool about this site is that the images are created by the users using vector designs.  You could actually create your own vector illustrations using this site to share with others!

The sheer volume of clipart available on this site is pretty incredible.  It is the first place I always go when creating my products, maybe because I am cheap, maybe because I am resourceful, maybe because I am lazy!  I'm not sure what is true but I do know that I love this site!!!


PICCOLLAGE


I also love the free app for iPhone, iPad, and Android called PicCollage.  Its also free and its great for creating your own images.  I use this app more for things like above, for "catch" images.  Its a great app.  Check it out!!

Created Using PicCollage

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