1. Using primary sources (such as newspapers), find out how Prohibition affected your town or city. Are there editorials or other commentary on the pros or cons of Prohibition? Are there records of speakeasies or related criminal activity? Are there advertisements for jazz concerts or clubs? Was Prohibition considered successful in your area?
2. Research musical styles that were influenced by the jazz and swing artists described in the lesson. Possible topics include (1) the differences between the music of the Jazz Age (1920s) and that of the Swing Era (roughly 1935 to 1950), including soloists, singers, size of bands, and arranging styles; (2) regional differences in the jazz music of Chicago, New York, and Kansas City; (3) the growth of the radio broadcast industry in your region, and its jazz programming in the 1930s and 1940s.
3. Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was one of the greatest American composers. He wrote thousands of pieces, including songs, instrumentals, suites, and movie scores. In addition, he was a brilliant pianist, orchestrator, and bandleader. Learn more about the life and works of Duke Ellington. Using the library, Internet, and multimedia resources, develop a profile of his life and seminal works. Examine his childhood and first musical experiences in Washington, D.C., his performances in Harlem’s Cotton Club, his band and compositions during the Swing Era, and his later extended works.
Possible resources include: www.smithsonianjazz.org (search for Ellington); Ellington’s autobiography, Music Is My Mistress (New York: Da Capo Press, 1976); and Jazz at Lincoln Center Radio broadcasts about Duke Ellington (there are several to choose from at www.jazzatlincolncenter.org/jazzcast/archive.asp).