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Teaching to the rhythm of Jazz: resources for teachers

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Hot can be cool, and cool can be hot, and each can be both. But hot or cool, man, jazz is jazz. -Louis Armstrong

If you're looking to inject a bit of music in your class this Spring, inspiration abounds in April, which is designated as Jazz Appreciation Month. This year's theme, set by the Smithsonian, is "The Spirit and Rhythms of Jazz."

The non-profit website Edutopia, has published a great list of "Seven Free Jazz Resources and Websites for Educators." Here are two of my favorites from the post by Matt Davis:

The Best Sites and Videos for Learning About Jazz Chants: Edutopia blogger and educator Larry Ferlazzo published this blog on his personal site, and there are some great ideas here for bringing jazz chants into the classroom. Jazz chants are poems that use musical rhythms to help students better understand conversational English, and they can be used to test and improve students listening comprehension skills. They’re great for ELL students, as well as younger students.

Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with EDSITEment: The National Endowment for the Humanities produced this resource, which features a wide variety of teaching aides. There are lesson plans, links to online jazz collections, possible topics for research projects, and much, much more. Plenty here to pique the curiosities of your students.

If you're looking for extra credit activities for your students, musicians Arturo Sandoval and John Proulx will be performing at LACMA this month. They'll be dishing out hot -- or cool -- jazz at free 6 pm concerts at the museum on April 19 and 26, respectively.

Another great resource for Jazz in Los Angeles is The World Stage, which regularly hosts concerts and classes at its Leimert Park home. The non-profit Harmony Project offers free jazz music lessons for low income families at The World Stage. For more information visit their website.

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