Jazz in the General Music Classroom

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About this Course

As the climate of the school teaching environment changes, so to the music teacher must be able to accomodate themselves career-wise to such change.

Most people, when asked about different musical genres might say "Rock is just a lot of loud banging" or "Jazz is a lot of noodling that doesn't go anywhere." I feel, determining a needs assessment, that this is due to the average persons' not having been educated on what makes a musical genre have such a title. Therefore, my target audience for this course is that of the non-jazz performing school music teacher that possesses high cognitive ability combined with a need for deeper musical listening.

As world cultures assimilate more and more into each other so too does music. If music is to remain a field of study in American schools than musical practices of our cultural must be incorporated into the music curriculum. One aspect of music performance that has not been taught on the whole to students not in specialty study is American Jazz improvisation.

This course will enable middle school general music teachers to teach the combining elements of jazz without having had great personal exposure to jazz. In order to focus this course on the essence of jazz we are focusing on performance techniques of one of it's primary compositional contributors, George Gershwin.



After this course:

  • Student (teacher) will be able to discuss the two main compositional sources of jazz
  • student (teacher) will be able to explain George Gershwin's role in jazz music
  • student (teacher) will be able to successfully answer the questions for guided listening for each video example
  • Student (teacher) will be able to explain the role of each instrument.
  • Student (teacher) give at least one example of a significant contributor to that instrument's practice.
  • Student (teacher) will use adjectives to to constructively give their interpretation of a presented musician's style.
  • Student (teacher) will be able to describe what "swing" is in jazz.
  • Student (teacher) will be able to identify arrangement performance practices within a given form of jazz
  • Student (teacher) will reflect on their guided listening.

Please note, the media examples presented in this course are for educational purposes only.

Unit 1 Compositional Foundation

Unit 2 Performance/Interpretation Practices

Unit 3 Form