African Banjo Echoes in Appalachia: A Study of Folk Traditions Cecelia Conway

Conway, C. 1995. African banjo echoes in Appalachia: A study of folk traditions. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press.

Summary
Tracing the influence of African American banjo music on European American culture, evolving from the African gourd banjo to the Appalachian folk songs we know today. This book illustrates the evolution of this musical artform, including various photographs and historical documents as well as interviews with prominent banjo musicians. It is a valuable resource in understanding the traditional banjo music of mountain people.

Quantitative Reading

Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Level

53

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

10.2

Gunning-Fog Score

12.9

Coleman-Liau Index

14.9

SMOG Index

10.1

Automated Readability Index

11.8

Average Grade Level

12.0

Qualitative Reading Summary

This book structure is Middle High level, set up much like a textbook with main chapters that are broken up by subject sub-headings. There are many illustrations including photographs, and images of primary source documents. Indicies break the book down by song titles and subjects. There is a selected bibliography that provides further reading, and an appendix that provides information about various instruments within the banjo history and their spellings. It would be best suited for older high school students.

Curriculum Tie Ins

This book would complement a music history class, or especially a focused history elective on the Old South for 12th grade level.

Standards

California State Standards – Music 9-12 Proficient (http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/muproficient.asp)

Role of Music
3.1 Identify the sources of musical genres of the United States, trace the evolution of those genres, and cite well-known musicians associated with them.
3.2 Explain the various roles that musicians perform, identify representative individuals who have functioned in each role, and explain their activities and achievements.

Diversity of Music
3.3 Describe the differences between styles in traditional folk genres within the United States.

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The Cello Suites: J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece Eric Siblin

Siblin, E. 2009. The cello suites: J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the search for a baroque masterpiece. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press.

Summary:

Spanning centuries, this unique perspective on Bach’s cello suites combines three narratives: Bach’s 18th century missing manuscripts, Pablo Casal’s 19th century popularization of his music in Spain, and present day music critic Eric Siblin’s appreciation and love of the music which fuels him to investigate it. Part history and part mystery, this book humanizes a piece of music and gives the reader an appreciation for the history of the cello, the history of this music, and how it affects listeners to this day.

Quantitative Summary

Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Level

66.4

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

9.4

Gunning-Fog Score

11.1

Coleman-Liau Index

9.6

SMOG Index

8.9

Automated Readability Index

9.7

Average Grade Level

9.7

(based on random paragraphs typed into http://www.readability-score.com/)

Qualitative Summary

This historical narrative is broken into sections, thematically as suites like the “cello suites” that the title refers to. The language and structure would rank Middle Low I think, with the narrative sections being straightforward and there being no illustrations Chapters are titled after musical terms related to the suites, and begin with epigraphs related to those terms. I think this could be successfully used in 9-12 audiences.

Curriculum Tie Ins

This could be great supplemental reading in an English or History class, as it deals with historical elements in an interesting “mystery” narrative, and ties in musical history elements. Students could listen to various versions of the suite being played and using information from the book distinguish elements of interpretation.

Standards

California State Standards – Music 9-12 Proficient (http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/muproficient.asp)

Analyze and Critically Assess
4.1 Develop specific criteria for making informed critical evaluations of the quality and effectiveness of performances, compositions, arrangements, and improvisations and apply those criteria in personal participation in music.
4.2 Evaluate a performance, composition, arrangement, or improvisation by comparing each with an exemplary model.

Derive Meaning
4.3 Explain how people in a particular culture use and respond to specific musical works from that culture.
4.4 Describe the means used to create images or evoke feelings and emotions in musical works from various cultures.

Other relevant info:

http://www.ericsiblin.com/pages/cello.html – Author’s page, compiles videos of the suites being played.

Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz: Jazz In America

Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz: Jazz In America
(http://jazzinamerica.org)

Summary
This is the website for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz which provides an internet-based jazz curriculum to music educators. They provide lesson plans written for different grade levels in conjunction with relevant standards set forth by the National Association for Music Standards and the National Center for History in The Schools. The website provides not only the lesson plans, but downloadable hand-outs, as well as interactive multimedia so that teachers can use the lesson in full in their classroom.

Each 50 minute lesson focuses on different standards and uses multimedia, handouts, and quizzes in such a way that teachers are free to present it as is or manipulate the lesson for their own classroom.

Quantitative/Qualitative Summary

This website is geared towards educators and adults, though I think teens could use it as well for the multimedia. It is easily accessible with large buttons in its headers directing users to the website overview, the lesson plans, and the resources it has available.

The lesson plans are laid out in such a way that they define what standards each covers, and they list the relevant handouts and multimedia each requires. Teachers can print out these lesson plans and handouts directly, and play the accompanying multimedia directly from the website during the class.

Curriculum Tie Ins
The lessons in this website are written to be relevant in US history and music history classes for 11th graders. They would be perfect supplements in either of those classes.

Standards
California State Standards – Music 9-12 Proficient (http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/muproficient.asp)

Role of Music

3.1 Identify the sources of musical genres of the United States, trace the evolution of those genres, and cite well-known musicians associated with them.

3.2 Explain the various roles that musicians perform, identify representative individuals who have functioned in each role, and explain their activities and achievements.

Jazz — A Film by Ken Burns

Summary
This documentary mini-series is an extensive retrospective on the history of Jazz, spanning from its roots in 1890’s New Orleans to its second century, the 2000s. Broken into ten episodes, the film look at the different periods in the history of Jazz, thematic eras and featuring greats such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis. Ken Burns is a renowned documentary film-maker well known for these types of episodic films that look at elements that define early American culture.

Quantitative/Qualitative summary
These films are generally aimed at older teen to adult audiences, and the format I think really lends itself to the classroom. They aired on PBS as a mini series, so they are broken into episodes that aired nightly, and are now collected into a dvd-set. The series focuses on creating a narrative out of interviews with musicians, historians, and critics, while weaving in relevant historical footage and photographs. The style is accessible to different types of learners.

Curriculum Tie Ins
This would be great in a US History Class, or a Music History class. The series is broken up enough that a class could utilize only small segments of it or the entire series over the course of a semester. It could be used to illustrate more straight-forward texts read in class with its historical examples. Students could be prompted to write critical responses to episodes they’ve seen.

Standards
California State Standards – Music 9-12 Proficient (http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/muproficient.asp)

Role of Music

3.1 Identify the sources of musical genres of the United States, trace the evolution of those genres, and cite well-known musicians associated with them.

3.2 Explain the various roles that musicians perform, identify representative individuals who have functioned in each role, and explain their activities and achievements.

Other relevant info
http://www.pbs.org/jazz –  A companion website to this film series.