The cool tunes of jazz and the New Orleans area of which the musical style emerged have a strong link to African American history. While many of the instruments common to the genre had been played for decades before, during the turn of the 20th century those blaring trumpets, stringed violins, tooting cornets, squealing clarinets, and sliding trombones began to bounce to a different beat. Jazz music was brought to life by the African Americans in the southern New Orleans area.
You and your child can take part in honoring this rhythmic musical genre and the roots of which it originated from in this fun jazz-inspired project! Not only is this project a great way to sneak in a musical history lesson, but your child will be utilizing her fine motor skills in drawing, cutting, and creating her musical notes. It is these very same creative thinking habits that are known to bolster problem solving skills. So get to work with your child and let the cool notes of jazz be your inspiration! You may also want to turn on some great jazz music for the duration of the activity; check out the bottom of this page for some jazzy song ideas.
What You Do:
- After your child has had a sampling of the great jazz genre music you can let them try to distinguish which types of instruments she hears. Does she notice the swinging trumpet beats, the sliding trombones, the scatting of a clarinet?
- Help her write a list of the instruments associated with jazz songs. Try using the Internet if you need some help with the names of instruments.
- After your child has a nice list of instruments, ask her to draw a picture of each, again using the Internet for any needed assistance.
- Encourage her to do her best to add in as many details as possible once she has drawn and colored the instruments.
- Help her to cut the smaller pictures out into little squares of paper.
- Ask your child to cut music note shapes out of black construction paper for her to glue the different instruments onto. Remind her that she should make the head of the music notes big enough to fit the squares of paper on and cut out one note for each instrument square.
- Once your child has cut out all of the notes, help her paste the picture of their instruments on the head of the note. After the glue has dried, assist your child in hanging up her music notes on the fridge, on the walls, or to decorate her bedroom. The next time she hears the sweet sounds of jazz, she will be able to identify the instruments she hears on her homemade music notes!
Here are some suggested jazz songs:
- "So What" by Miles Davis
- "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck
- "Heebie Jeebies" by Louis Armstrong
- "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong
- "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" by Ella Fitzgerald
- "Electric Bath" by Don Ellis
- "Portrait of Jazz" by Bill Evans
- "Mister Magic" by Grover Washington, Jr.