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Where Did Jazz Come From?




1. National Center for History in the Schools, UCLA

2. For information on ordering The Instrumental History of Jazz 2-CD set, click here.

3. Student handouts can be downloaded from the Jazz in America website and photocopied.

4. Any material on the Jazz in America website may be made into a transparency as the instructor sees fit.


  1. Where Did Jazz Come From?
  2. Jazz -- America's Music

National Standards for United States History (Grades 7-8)1

Historical Thinking
Students should be able to:
  1. appreciate historical perspectives (Historical Comprehension Standard 2f).
  2. draw upon visual, literary, and musical sources including...folk, popular and classical music, to clarify, illustrate, or elaborate upon information presented in the historical narrative (Historical Comprehension Standard 2i).
  3. draw comparisons across eras and regions in order to define enduring issues as well as large-scale or long-term developments that transcend regional and temporal boundaries (Historical Analysis and Interpretation Standard 3d).

Historical Content
Students should be able to:
  1. understand the international background and consequences of the Louisiana Purchase (Era 4: Expansion and Reform Standard 1a).
  2. explain how the cotton gin and the opening of new lands in the South and West led to the increased demand for slaves (Era 4: Expansion and Reform Standard 2d).
  3. describe the ways in which African Americans laid foundations for modern black communities during Reconstruction (Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction Standard 3b).
  4. investigate new forms of popular culture and leisure activities at different levels of American society (Era 6: The Development of the Industrial United States Standard 2c).

The student will:
  1. gain a fundamental understanding of how, where, and by whom jazz originated
  2. gain a basic understanding of why jazz is considered America's music

  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 Handouts3 (one per student)

The instructor will:
  1. distribute student handouts
  2. discuss the origins of jazz
  3. play recordings of early jazz, discussing with the students what they heard
  4. discuss why jazz is considered America's music

The students will:
  1. participate in a class discussion on the origins of jazz
  2. listen to jazz recordings
  3. participate in a discussion about why jazz is considered America's music

Test Bank
  1. Multiple Choice Test
  2. Essay/Discussion Questions at the Teacher’s Discretion

Video Clips

videospacer Cannonball Adderley - Work Song
the Herbie Hancock institute of jazz
home overview lesson plans jazz resources what's new jazz in america