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April is Jazz Appreciation Month.  So, I decided to go digging around out there on the great web… and was delighted with the classroom resources I found for incorporating Jazz Appreciation Month in April’s lesson plans!  Jazz is such an important part of American music (and history) — and I love to play it and to teach it!

I’ll share with you some of the resources I found, and hopefully you will find something useful to your studio.

The Smithsonian Jazz website has a wealth of fantastic resources for Jazz Appreciation Month (and classroom jazz instruction in general).   The ‘Groovin to Jazz‘ detailed lesson plans and listening examples are great, with many topics to choose from, so you can pick what would interest your class!

Here are the links:

Smithsonian Jazz ‘Groovin to Jazz’ lesson plans:

Groovin to Jazz listening examples:

Click around on the Smithsonian Jazz website to find even more great Jazz ideas!

Another amazing site I found is Arts Edge from Kennedy Center.  The Celebrating Jazz page has many step by step lesson plans for fun and informative classes!


Celebrating Jazz:

A class on Composing 12 Bar Blues:

A class on the history of Harlem Jazz:

(Note: I just posted the 2 class links above to give you an idea of the offerings on the ArtsEdge site… but click on the top link and then look around the site for so many great ideas!)

National Association for Music Education has some good ideas for jazz education resources as well. Find them here. (I found a lot of the above sites from this site — and I’m sure I didn’t glean all of the good ideas!)

Dr. Joseph Pisano posted an excellent lesson plan called: Jazz Appreciation Month: Celebrate Women Jazz Artists — it focuses on the role women have played in jazz music.  I would love to use this in a group class this month!

Ok. That’s a little list to get us all started.  Do you have any resources that we could add to the list? I’d love to hear about them!  Oh, and don’t forget to find jazz lead sheets for print!

Happy jazzing!


The treasure.

The treasure keepers.

What’s in the ‘treasure box’??   Ok, I’m sure you’ve guessed it already…

Jelly Beans!!

Game 1:

Ok, here’s how the group class shaped up:

First we played a game involving Bea’s Keys, a stop-watch, and little paper bags.

(notice I picked up these little treat bags at Target for 48cents! 0n clearance)

I wrote the letters of the musical alphabet on the bags….

Then at class I divided the students up into 2 teams — the team to quickly (and accurately) get all the Bea’s Keys in the right bags won (and got jelly beans!).

Game 2:

I got the idea for the next game from Susan Paradis’ site. It’s called ‘3 or 4?‘.

I printed the cards from her website (see link above) in black and white… then glued them on multicolored craft sticks.  The game is played by the students taking turns playing pieces while the group listens for the meter. After the piece is complete, the students hold up the corresponding number…either 3 beats in the measure…or 4. (this game could easily be expanded for older students studying more complex rhythms).  The kids really had fun with this one.

Game 3:

We only had time to squeeze in one more game… but I highly recommend using this one (especially for younger groups). The kids absolutely loved it!  The game is called ‘Adventures in Music‘ and I got the idea from a post on Heidi’s blog (but the game is a creation by Joy at Color in My Piano). Go to either link to find the printable (free!) game. It’s a board game that reinforces notation, symbols, and terms — it was perfect for my group.  We used (you guessed it) jelly beans for game board markers. It was a class favorite.   If you haven’t played it with your students you should check it out!

The End.

All in all it was a great class. I have to add that during the class one of my students said “Oh, I just love Easter!”… I told her that I was really hoping that she would say, “Oh, I just love group class!“…. but at this point I’ll take what I can get.  🙂

I had several other games lined up to play — but we just ran out of time!  I hope to do another class soon (so thanks to you all for keeping me inspired with ideas!).

Here are links to the games we played (except Game 1, since that was my own creation):

Game 2:

Game 3:

Games that we would have played if we had more time (we’ll do them next class!): — game ideas from the MTNA 2010 Conference


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