Our Lower School’s interdisciplinary study of jazz spans first and second grades, providing students with opportunities to learn more about jazz and the genre’s incredible influence. Depending on their grade level, students explored jazz in music class and homerooms, Art, Spanish, and Library classes.
Students were exposed to the lives and music of celebrated jazz artists who were change-makers; their reach extended far beyond the stage and recording studios. They explored the power of using one’s voice and talents to the fullest, looking to others for inspiration, and how influence plays a role in society. Through this meaningful unit, students be-bopped and rocked with Miss Palmer and the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) artists from its “From Nothing to Something” program. First graders enjoyed a visit from Nashville Public Library’s puppet truck and grooved along to a jazz rendition of Puss in Boots. Second grade traveled to NMAAM. In second grade Art, students learned about Romare Bearden, an African American artist deeply inspired by jazz and the Black experience of mid-20th-century America. Students improvised and created their beautiful collages. In first grade Art, students replicated jazz instruments and the piano keyboard while studying pattern, line, and hot/cool colors. In Library class, students developed literacy skills by studying non-fiction books and biographies about jazz and using graphic organizers to investigate themes like creating change and influence. In Spanish, first graders learned about Latin Jazz in an immersive way. Learning crossed over from one classroom to another as students dug deeper into jazz, music genres, art, history, and celebrated world-changing historical figures, and found common themes and explorations.
On March 7, 2023, the Ensworth community heard the joyful jazz of our first and second graders, created and practiced in Miss Palmer’s music classes. The students’ excitement and engagement have been evident from the start of this unit. Miss Palmer’s choice of music will highlight the foundational aspects of jazz studied in class, such as call and response, syncopation, poetry, and improvisation. You will also hear the rhythms and beats that make jazz unique and fun!