April 11, 2011

April is Jazz Appreciation Month!

Each April, my students and I explore a Jazz appreciation unit.  We listen to different jazz recordings, study the history of jazz, play jazz chord progressions, and even improvise some solos.  I always enjoy the unit and my students seem to as well!  
Today I will share some online jazz resources.  Stay tuned for more lesson plans and other resources for teaching jazz appreciation!
  • PBS Kids Jazz Site - excellent site for student exploration.  We use it at the computer center and I encourage my students to "click around" (today's student loves to self-direct their learning through exploration and this website is perfect for that)
  • Smithsonian Jazz - a great resource for the history of jazz (oral histories, recordings, archives, photographs) as well as JAM events around the country.  
  • MENC Jazz Lesson Plans  - free and also member-only lesson plans and other resources
  • Ken Burns' Jazz PBS site - the well-known mini-series documentary by Ken Burns.  The in-depth look at the history of jazz, broken down by era, is extremely helpful and interesting.  
I hope that you will take some time to explore the truly American art form that is Jazz and its rich history.  There are so many opportunities for cross-curricular instruction, for meaningful listening opportunities, and for unlimited creativity!    

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