[ Login ]
lesson plan12345678

What is Jazz?


1. National Center for History in the Schools, UCLA

2. NAfME: The National Association for Music Education

3. Student handouts may be downloaded from the Jazz in America website, printed, and photocopied.

4. Any material from the Jazz in America website may be downloaded, printed, and/or made into a PowerPoint slide as the instructor sees fit.


  1. Course Introduction
  2. What is Jazz
  3. Jazz, an Integral Part of American History and Culture

National Standards for United States History1

Historical Thinking
Students should be able to:
  1. Draw upon the visual, literary, and musical sources, including: (a) photographs, paintings, cartoons, and architectural drawings; (b) novels, poetry, and plays; and (c) folk, popular and classical music, to clarify, illustrate, or elaborate upon information presented in the historical narrative (Historical Comprehension Standard 2i).
  2. Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas, values, personalities, behaviors, and institutions by identifying likenesses and differences (Historical Analysis and Interpretation Standard 3a).
  3. Consider multiple perspectives of various peoples in the past by demonstrating their differing motives, beliefs, interests, hopes, and fears (Historical Analysis and Interpretation Standard 3b).
  4. Hypothesize the influence of the past, including both the limitations and opportunities made possible by past decisions (Historical Analysis and Interpretation Standard 3j).
  5. Obtain historical data from a variety of sources, including: library and museum collections, historic sites, historical photos, journals, diaries, eyewitness accounts, newspapers, and the like; documentary films, oral testimony from living witnesses, censuses, tax records, city directories, statistical compilations, and economic indicators (Historical Research Capabilities Standard 4b).
Historical Content
The student should be able to understand recent developments in foreign policy and domestic politics (Contemporary United States, Standard 1), and the economic, social, and cultural developments in contemporary United States (Standard 2). Therefore, the student should be able to:
  1. Analyze how social change and renewed ethnic diversity has affected artistic expression and popular culture.
  2. Explore the international influence of American culture.

National Standards for Music Education2

Artistic Process - Responding: Select, Analyze, Interpret, and Evaluate Music
  1. Choose music appropriate for specific purposes and contexts. – Select programs of music (such as a CD mix or live performances) and demonstrate the connections to an interest or experience for a specific purpose (MU:Re7.1.8a).
  2. Analyze how the structure and context of varied musical works inform the response. – Compare how the elements of music and expressive qualities relate to the structure within programs of music (MU:Re7.2.8a); Identify and compare the context of programs of music from a variety of genres, cultures, and historical periods (MU:Re7.2.8b).
  3. Support an interpretation of a musical work that reflects the creators’/performers’ expressive intent. – Support personal interpretation of contrasting programs of music and explain how creators or performers apply the elements of music and expressive qualities, within genres, cultures, and historical periods to convey expressive intent (MU:Re8.1.7a).
  4. Support personal evaluation of musical works and performance(s) based on analysis, interpretation, and established criteria. – Apply appropriate personally developed criteria to evaluate musical works or performances (MU:Re9.1.8a).
  5. Relate musical ideas and works with varied context to deepen understanding. – Demonstrate understanding of relationships between music and the other arts, other disciplines, varied contexts, and daily life (MU:Cn11.0.T.5a).

The student will:
  1. gain an understanding of the course requirements
  2. gain a basic understanding of why jazz is included in the study of American history/social science
  3. listen to portions of several recordings from The Instrumental History of Jazz and/or the Jazz in America website
  4. gain a fundamental understanding of what jazz is (and what it is not); how, where, and by whom it originated; musics it has influenced (and been influenced by); and its universal appeal
  5. consider the disparity between American ideals and realities with regard to civil rights in American history
  6. become acquainted with Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk

  1. computer logged onto www.jazzinamerica.org
  2. LCD projector and screen
  3. CD player (optional)

  1. The Instrumental History of Jazz (IHJ) – optional
    1. two CDs
    2. accompanying booklet
  2. Student Handouts (one per student)3
    1. Course Introduction (course description/requirements/syllabus)4
    2. two American History (AH) handouts: Jazz Musicians as Cultural Intermediaries and The Disparity Between American Ideals and Realities
    3. Jazz Biographies (JB) handout (Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington)

The instructor will:
  1. distribute student handouts
  2. introduce the course and its requirements
  3. play six diverse jazz recordings (30-90 seconds each), discussing with the students what they heard
  4. have students read and discuss the student handouts, Jazz Musicians as Cultural Intermediaries and The Disparity Between American Ideals and Realities
  5. examine the biographical sketches of Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington
  6. discuss the basics of jazz and its relationship to American 20th and 21st century history and culture, giving the students a point of departure for the remainder of the course

Test Bank
  1. Multiple Choice
  2. Fill in the Blank
  3. True-False
  4. Matching
  5. Essay

the Herbie Hancock institute of jazz
home overview lesson plans jazz resources what's new jazz in america