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The Harlem Renaissance


1. National Center for History in the Schools, UCLA

2. NAfME: The National Association for Music Education

3. For information on ordering The Instrumental History of Jazz 2-CD set, go to www.amazon.com (item #B000001YNU).

4. Student handouts may be downloaded from the Jazz in America website (www.jazzinamerica.org), printed, and photocopied.

5. Any material from the Jazz in America website (www.jazzinamerica.org) may be downloaded, printed, and made into a transparency as the instructor sees fit.


  1. The Harlem Renaissance
  2. Jazz as Part of the Harlem Renaissance
  3. Effects of the Harlem Renaissance on Jazz

National Standards for United States History1 (grades 5-12)

Historical Thinking
Students should be able to:
  1. appreciate historical perspectives (Historical Comprehension Standard 2f).
  2. draw upon visual, literary, and musical sources including...folk, popular and classical music, to clarify, illustrate, or elaborate upon information presented in the historical narrative (Historical Comprehension Standard 2i).
  3. analyze cause-and-effect relationships (Historical Analysis and Interpretation Standard 3c).
  4. draw comparisons across eras and regions in order to define enduring issues as well as large-scale or long-term developments that transcend regional and temporal boundaries (Historical Analysis and Interpretation Standard 3d).
Historical Content
Students should be able to:
  • examine the contributions of artists and writers of the Harlem Renaissance and assess their popularity (Era 7: The Emergence of Modern America Standard 3c).
National Standards for Music Education2 (grades K-12)
Students will be:
  1. Singing, alone and with others. (Standard #1)
  2. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music. (Standard #6)
  3. Evaluating music and music performances. (Standard #7)
  4. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts. (Standard #8)
  5. Understanding music in relation to history and culture. (Standard #9)

Students will:
  1. gain a fundamental understanding of the Harlem Renaissance
  2. gain a fundamental understanding of the role of jazz in the Harlem Renaissance
  3. understand the American historical significance and cultural implications of the Harlem Renaissance

  1. CD player
  2. chalkboard (with chalk and eraser)
  3. overhead projector (optional)
  4. computer logged onto www.jazzinamerica.org (optional)

  1. The Instrumental History of Jazz3 (IHJ) (optional)
  2. student handouts4 (one per student)
  3. overhead projector transparencies5

The instructor will:
  1. distribute student handouts
  2. discuss the background of the Harlem Renaissance
  3. discuss the role of jazz during the Harlem Renaissance
  4. play various jazz recordings

The students will:
  1. participate in a class discussion regarding the history of the Harlem Renaissance
  2. participate in a class discussion regarding jazz history as a part of American history during the 1910's and 1920's
  3. listen to jazz recordings
  4. follow and interact with the animated student handout entitled "Journey #4: New York City - Harlem Renaissance" (click on the Student Handout button on the left-hand side of your screen)

A Test Bank is provided that includes questions in the four formats listed below. At the teacher's discretion, all of the questions in each test bank may be used, or a few questions from each format may be selected to compile a shorter test.
  1. Multiple Choice
  2. Fill in the Blanks
  3. True / False
  4. Matching

The following topics and activities are covered in the Student Handout:

  1. Destination and Dates:
    New York City
    mid 1920's to mid 1930's
  2. Historical Events:
    Harlem Renaissance (1920's)
    Stock Market Crash
    Great Depression
    New Deal
  3. Vocabulary:
    battle of the bands
    big band
    call and response
    cutting contest
    Great Depression
    Harlem Renaissance
    Lindy Hop
    New Deal
    rent party
    stock market
    Urban League
    Works Progress Administration
  4. Experience the Music
    Found throughout each student handout, this section provides students with an activity to help them Experience the Music firsthand.
    CALL and RESPONSE: Students sing back a "response."
  5. Jazz Artists:
    Cab Calloway
    Benny Goodman
    Fletcher Henderson
    James P. Johnson
    Willie 'the Lion' Smith
    Art Tatum
    Fats Waller
    Chick Webb

the Herbie Hancock institute of jazz
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