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  • Betsyrosef

And All That Jazz

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

This week we are moving forward in music history to Jazz. This style was created here, in America. This week, we are going to learn about what jazz is, how it came to be, listen to some fabulous music and even learn to scat a little ourselves and so much more! So here we go!

The biggest part about learning Jazz, is just listening to it! With that in mind, I am giving you the playlists first. Even if you don't get to all the activities, your kids will love listening to the music all week!

This week is a bit different. We are going to learn about several people, instead of focusing on just one. To do this, we have lots of books for you this week! I am putting in youtube links of them being read out loud since I know we all can’t get out to our libraries to get them.


Monday- Classical and Jazz

To get started with Jazz, we are going to learn about George Gershwin who wrote classical music with a jazz twist!


Here is a little history about George.

If your kids are diggin' the history, here is some more about Gershwin and his music!

What is Rhapsody

About how George ended up writing Rhapsody in Blue

Book of the day

The Music in George’s Head by Suzanne Slade. This book tells us a bit about George, how he grew up, and how George ended up writing one of my favorite pieces “Rhapsody in Blue.”


I have 2 videos of Rhapsody in Blue for you!

  • Live Concert: I show clips of this to ALL my students, I have never seen someone have so much fun playing the piano as Lang Lang does in this concert. Notice how he has the whole piece MEMORIZED!!!

  • Fantasia 2000!

Suggestion: Have your students watch the live clip first.

  • Try identifying the instruments in the orchestra!

  • Do you remember their families?

  • What do you think the pianist FEELS as he plays this piece for us?

  • Can you draw a picture/story to the music?

Now Watch Fantasias:

  • How is their story different than yours?

  • What do you notice about HOW the cartoon is drawn?

  • What are the main colors?

*If your students are still practicing sitting through a longer piece like this, or haven't done our previous Back to the Classics where we learned about instruments, you can flip the order. Have them watch the Fantasia version first. Then try actively watching the live concert version and drawing their own picture/story to go with it.


Talk about it Tuesday

Let’s talk about what Jazz is: “Jazz is an original style of American Music. It is a unique blend of many styles of music including gospel music, brass bands, African music, blues, and Spanish music. ” (This definition is from, read the whole article HERE)

So what does that MEAN? Read about 3 main components of jazz HERE. It also has a 5 min video about jazz (It’s a bit dry, so your littles will not be amused by it, but your older kids should like it! )

*If your kids are liking learning about Jazz, check THIS out! It has clips to go along with each definition and person.

Louis Armstrong

Now that we know a bit about Jazz, Let’s learn about one of the most influential Jazz artists. Louis Armstrong.

Biography for younger kids

Biography for older kids

Book of the Day:

Louis Armstrong teaches me to Scat

Fun Clips!

Here are some fun live clips of him performing! Can you hear how his singing sounds a lot like his trumpet sounds when he plays it?

When the Saints Go Marching By

What a Wonderful World

Hello Dolly

Draw it!

It's time to break out your drawing supplies again. Can you draw me a picture or a story to go along with "What a Wonderful World?

  • If you need ideas, remember how everything was drawn in Fantasia 2000's Rhapsody in Blue? Even the cartoon looked "jazzy." Try adding a "jazzy" element to your picture!


Wednesday: Ella Fitzgerald

Yesterday, we started to learn how to scat with Louis Armstrong. Today you are going to learn more about that with the Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald!

Book of the Day:

Skit Scat Raggedy Cat- This book tells Ella’s story from childhood all the way through her career. (The book talks about Ella's childhood and some of the abuse she suffered and trouble she got into because of it. You might want to check out those few pages before showing them to younger sensitive children).

A bit more history:

Check out this website. The have quick little paragraphs about her, with a live clip of her singing!

Your Turn!

Now that you have her sound in your head (Think of your sound as imitating the other instruments in the band) It’s your turn!

Give your singing voice a try with this video on How to Scat! This youtuber has a lot of fun videos on scatting. I especially like this one because she talks about the notes and their rhythms (for any of you with kids already playing instruments).

Fun Clips of Ella Fitzgerald performing

Ella scatting

It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Don’t Have that Swing


Thursday: Craft Time!

Make your trumpet. Yep, with stuff you probably have around your house! Check out instructions HERE

You're Part of the Band!

Now, if you have been following along each week, you should have drums, egg shakers/maracas, and a horn/kazoo. That my friends is enough for a band! Can you all take turns on the different instruments and scatting! HERE. Now I have 2 things I want you to remember as you become a band

  1. Everyone gets a turn soloing! They talked about that in some of our history videos. We share the solo light.

  2. It doesn't have to end up being brilliant or even very good! Just. Play. Be Silly. Try something new.


Food and Fun Friday!

A lot of our Jazz artists and music was influenced by New Orleans, so in honor of that, this week's Recipe Gumbo! My Mom is from New Orleans and is our family's favorite recipe, Enjoy!

Creole Chicken Gumbo(2)
Download PDF • 1.38MB

Dancin' Time!

While you are waiting for your Gumbo to finish cooking, let's learn the Charleston! The Charleston was a popular dance step from the 1920's and is a lot of fun! THIS video is fun, silly, easy to follow and 3 min long (yeah for short!).

Keep practicing with THIS playlist!

The Princess and the Frog!

While you watch, see if your kids can pick out instruments or music styles we have talked about this week!


Other Resources

More Books!

Ella, Queen of Jazz

Jazz Baby

This Jazz Man

Melba and her big trombone

Jazz Fly Ppt

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