[ Login ]
lesson plan12345678

Cool Jazz


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, click here.

4. Student handouts can be downloaded from the Jazz in America website and photocopied.

5. Any material from the Jazz in America website may be downloaded, printed, and/or made into a PowerPoint slide as the instructor sees fit.


  1. Cool Jazz
  2. Cultural Implications of Cool Jazz

National Standards for United States History1

Historical Thinking
Students should be able to:
  1. Appreciate historical perspectives – including the ability to (a) describe the past on its own terms, through the eyes and experiences of those who were there, as revealed through their literature, diaries, letters, debates, arts, artifacts, and the like; (b) consider the historical context in which the event unfolded–the values, outlook, options, and contingencies of that time and place; and (c) avoid “present-mindedness,” judging the past solely in terms of present-day norms and values (Historical Comprehension Standard 2F).
  2. Draw upon the visual, literary, and musical sources, including (a) photographs, paintings, cartoons, and architectural drawings; (b) novels, poetry, and plays; and (c) folk, popular and classical music, to clarify, illustrate, or elaborate upon information presented in the historical narrative (Historical Comprehension Standard 2I).
  3. 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Historical Content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 understand how the social changes of the postwar period affected various Americans (Era 9: Postwar United States Standard 1B). Therefore, the student should be able to:
  1. Explain the reasons for the sustained growth of the postwar consumer economy.

National Standards for Music Education2

Artistic Process - Responding: Select, Analyze, Interpret and Evaluate Music
  1. Choose music appropriate for a specific purpose or context. – Demonstrate and explain, citing evidence, how selected music connects to and is influenced by specific interests, experiences, purposes, or contexts (MU:Re7.1.5a).
  2. Analyze how the structure and context of varied musical works inform the response. – Demonstrate and explain, citing evidence, how responses to music are informed by the structure, the use of the elements of music, and context (such as social, cultural, and historical) (MU:Re7.2.5a).
  3. Support interpretations of musical works that reflect creators’/performers’ expressive intent. – Demonstrate and explain how the expressive qualities (such as dynamics, tempo, timbre, and articulation) are used in performers’ and personal interpretations to reflect expressive intent (MU:Re8.1.5a).
  4. Support evaluations of musical works and performances based on analysis, interpretation, and established criteria. – Evaluate musical works and performances, applying established criteria, and explain appropriateness to the context, citing evidence from the elements of music (MU:Re9.1.5a).
Artistic Process - Connecting: Synthesize and Relate Musical Ideas
  1. Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make music. – Demonstrate how interests, knowledge, and skills relate to personal choices and intent when creating, performing, and responding (MU:Cn10.0.5a).
  2. Relate musical ideas and works with varied context to deepen understanding. – Demonstrate understanding of relationships between music and the other arts, other disciplines, varied contexts, and daily life (MU:Cn11.0.5a).

The student will:
  1. gain a fundamental understanding of cool jazz
  2. explore how cool jazz reflected American culture and society in the 1940’s and 1950’s

  1. computer logged onto www.jazzinamerica.org
  2. LCD projector and screen
  3. CD player (optional)

  1. The Instrumental History of Jazz (IHJ)3 – optional
    1. two CDs
    2. accompanying booklet
  2. Student Handouts4 (one per student)

The instructor will:
  1. distribute student handouts5
  2. discuss the fundamentals of cool jazz
  3. discuss American history and culture regarding cool jazz
  4. play various recordings, including examples of cool jazz

The students will:
  1. participate in a class discussion regarding cool jazz
  2. participate in a class discussion regarding jazz history as a part of American history during the 1940’s and 1950’s
  3. listen to jazz recordings of cool jazz
  4. follow and interact with the animated student handout entitled "Journey #6: California West Coast Jazz" (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: West Coast Jazz, mid 1940's to 1960

  2. Historical Events:
    building of the Panama Canal
    Civil Rights Act
    Fair Housing Act
  3. Vocabulary:
    Civil Rights Movement
    Cool Jazz
    Early Jazz
    Fair Housing Act
    Latin Percussion Instruments
    New Orleans jazz
    Panama Canal
    Progressive Jazz
    steady beat
    Swing style jazz
    West Coast Jazz
  4. Experience the Music
    Found throughout each student handout, this section provides students with an activity to help them Experience the Music firsthand.
    IDENTIFY STYLES: Students listen to a recording and identify a particular jazz style.

    IDENTIFY VAMP: Students say lyrics with "Take Five" vamp.

    IDENTIFY INSTRUMENTS: Students listen to a recording and identify which instrument is being played.
  5. Jazz Artists:
    Count Basie
    Dave Brubeck
    Clora Bryant
    Nat 'King' Cole
    Buddy Collette
    Duke Ellington
    Dizzy Gillespie
    Benny Goodman
    Lionel Hampton
    Stan Kenton
    Melba Liston
    Kid Ory
    Charlie Parker

the Herbie Hancock institute of jazz
home overview lesson plans jazz resources what's new jazz in america