Welcome to the story of jazz and the American experience.
NEA Jazz in the Schools takes a step-by-step journey through the history of jazz, integrating that story with the sweep of American social, economic, and political developments. This multi-media curriculum is designed to be as useful to high school history and social studies teachers as it is to music teachers.
Each of the five lessons contains an opening essay, video, music, photographs, discussion questions, and other resources. Each lesson contains practical suggestions for effective ways to use the materials.
We hope that these lessons serve as an exciting jumping off point for you and your students to learn more about jazz and its unique connection to our nation’s past and present. Please accept this invitation to bring the wonders of jazz to a new generation of Americans!
We suggest that you begin by reading the essays and scanning the lessons. As you do so, you might think about how you could place these within your curriculum.
These lessons are designed as units; five units serve as a week-long curriculum. If you plan to teach a lesson per day, you might find that there is more material than can be taught in one class period. This allows you to pick and choose the items that best suit your students, your curriculum design, and your teaching goals. You might draw on an entire individual lesson or components of several lessons. Alternately, you could spread the units, or elements from the units, across the semester.
Note that each lesson fulfills National Curriculum Standards for social studies, history, arts education, civics and government, and geography.
To link the NEA Jazz in Schools curriculum to your class, you might draw on the following themes:
Each unit contains:
The interactive timeline features events from the essays that can be viewed by multiple categories: culture, technology, music, history, and geography.
The Listen page contains music clips for the entire curriculum. The list can be sorted by lesson, track number, artist, song title, or date by clicking at the top of each respective column.
The Artist page contains biographies, audio clips, and related web resources for each of the major artists.
Link to a related musical excerpt.
Link to a related photograph.
Link to a related video.
Link to a short biography and related resources.
NEA Jazz Master
This icon identifies the artist as a recipient of the NEA Jazz Masters Award. For more information click here
Link to more information related to this key term in the essay.