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    MENC: The National Association for Music Education
  •   Teachers Guide
    Extension Activities: Episode One

    Extension Activities for Episode 1:

    The Vision of the Tailfeather Woman

    A Round Dance

    The Polka

    "Red-Headed Swede"

    "Sail Away, Ladies"

    Rock Drum Patterns

    "Kim Marie" chords

    "Sail Away"--Latin

    Bix and Rhythm

    After completing the introductory activities, use these extension activities to reach your curricular goals--and to have some fun! Some are designed for use as part of your daily lesson planning; some activities are better used as activities in which the student logs directly onto the internet for sound files and other enhancements. You will find these lessons and activities all listed in the activity index to this site. For some of these activities, you will need to consider purchasing the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 2-CD set that goes with the program. This can be a useful resource, in particular, for those teachers who want to explore more deeply the musical styles introduced by the program.

    "The Vision of the Tailfeather Woman"

    Objective: The students will understand the importance of the drum and drumming in the cultural context of Native American, specifically Ojibwe, culture.
    • Story (below)
    • (Program 1, 04:05)
    • Chippewa Nation (profile of the musical group with discography and audio/video clips)
    • Listen to the segment on the Ojibwe (Program 1, 04:05)
    • Read the story to the class.
    • After reading, review the important points in the story.
    • Discuss the importance of drums and drumming to Native Americans.
    • Optional: Dramatize the story, with some pantomiming the action as others read. Accompany the story with drums.

    The Vision of Tailfeather Woman

    Here is the story of the beginning of the ceremonial powwow drum. It was the first time when the white soldiers massacred the Indians when this Sioux woman gave four sons of hers to fight for her people. But she lost her four sons in this massacre and ran away after she knew her people were losing the war. The soldiers were after her but she ran into a lake. She went in the water and hid under the lily pads. While there, the Great Spirit came and spoke to her and told her, "There is only one thing for you to do."

    It took four days to tell her. It was windy and the wind flipped the lily pads so she could breathe and look to see if anyone was around. No--the sound is all that she made out, but from it she remembered all the Great Spirit told her. On the fourth day at noon she came out and went to her people to see what was left from the war. The Great Spirit told her what to do: "Tell your make a drum and tell them what I told you." The Great Spirit taught her also the songs she knew and she told the men folks how to sing the songs. "It will be the only way you are going to stop the soldiers from killing your people."

    Her people did what [the woman] said, and when the soldiers who were massacring the Indians heard the sound of the drum, they put down their arms, stood still and stopped the killing, and to this day white people always want to see a powwow. This powwow drum is called in English "Sioux drum" and in Ojibwe bwaanidewe’igan. It was put here on earth before peace terms were made with the whites. After the whites saw what the Indians were doing and having a good time--the Indians had no time to fight--the white man didn’t fight. After all this took place the whites made peace terms with the Indians. So the Indians kept on the powwow. It’s because the Sioux woman lost her four sons in the war that the Great Spirit came upon her and told here to make the Drum to show that the Indians had power too, which they have but keep in secret.

    -WILLIAM BINESHI BAKER, SR., Ojibwe drum maker (from Thomas Vennum, Jr., The Ojibwa Dance Drum: Its History and Construction.)

    "A Round Dance"

    Objective: The students will experience a Native American social round dance.
    • Perform a Native American social round dance. The step is basically a side-close step in a circle, moving to the left.. Use the recording of "Powwow Song" [River of Song CD 1, Track 1], or a more examples of round dances and powwows from various Native American communities in the two basal music textbooks. (Both have authentic musical examples, information and instructions for doing various round dances. They also have authentic recorded listening examples.)

    The Polka

    Objective: The students will experience a basic Polka step. (Teaching sequence by Barbara Staton. Used by permission.)
    • Move hands to the music (on the video-tape or with the sound sample), pretending to take eight gallops (step-close) to each side, then four, then two.
    • Move around the room to the music, again first taking eight gallops to each side, then four, then two.
    • Finally, add a hop on the foot opposite to the direction in which they will be moving (The final form of the basic polka step is:
      Hop R., Step L. , Close R. Step L
      Hop L., Step R. , Close L. Step R.
      NOTE: If dancing while facing a partner, the girl’s foot work is with the opposite feet so that they both move in the same direction.

    "Red-Headed Swede"

    Objective: The students will sing, and will develop their own, "parody" lyrics.
    • Listen to the song on the CD
    • Discuss the tune ("And the Band Played On") and the fact that this is a parody lyric.
    • Sing the first and last verses:

      Hilda would dance with a redheaded Swede, at the smorgasbord.
      The others would plead, but she paid them no heed, at the smorgasbord.
      Now, Hilda was daring, she ate pickled herring
      And drank all the beer that was poured.
      His heart it did melt as she sliced him some smelt, at the smorgasbord.

      Hilda she married that redheaded Swede at the smorgasbord.
      She had eighteen kids. Now, they all flip their lids, at the smorgasbord.
      But, I am not kicking, though I took quite a licking, For now I feel fully restored. For I am that Swede, yah, that redheaded Swede from that smorgasbord.
    • Research other aspects of Norwegian-American music on the web.
    • Invite students to develop their own parody lyrics to the tune. Encourage them to use themes that come from their own cultural backgrounds.

    "Sail Away, Ladies"

    Objective: The students will sing a sea-shanty, discovering the use of syncopation and the lowered third, as used in the blues scale.
    • Program 1, 21:10
    • CD1, track 3
    • score
    • Users of basal series texts can find sea shanties in:
      • Share the Music (McGraw-Hill, Inc.., 1998): Down the River, Gr. 5, 156; Erie Canal, Gr. 5, 154; Boatman, The Gr. 6, 332; Shenando’, Gr. 6, 352; Boatman’s Dance (Grade 7, 120); Listening, 122; Drunken Sailor, Gr. 8, 261
      • The Music Connection (Silver Burdett Ginn, 1995): Blow the Wind Southerly, Grade 6, 269 and 304; Blow, Ye Winds, Gr. 6, 285; Down the Ohio, Gr. 6, 36; Sail Away, Ladies, Gr. 7, 303; Shenandoah, Gr. 8, 125
    • Users of basal series texts can find more about the blues scale in:
      • Share the Music (McGraw-Hill, Inc.., 1998): Grade 5, Unit 6: 246-247; 256-257; 260-263; 268-271; Grade 6: 134, 242-245; Grade 7: 128-129; Grade 8: 269
      • The Music Connection (Silver Burdett Ginn, 1995): Book 7: 64, 65, 81, 170; Book 8: 74, 326-330
    • John Koerner (profile of the musician with discography and audio/video clips)
    • Sing the sea shanty along with the tape or CD in Koerner's style
    • Either aurally or using the score, look and listen for instances of syncopation.
    • Introduce the blues scale (start with G major, and then introduce the flatted third and seventh degrees)
    • Look and listen for evidence of the flatted third in the song.

      Sail Away Ladies

      Ain’t no use in sittin' and cryin’.
      Sail away, ladies, sail away.
      You’ll be an angel by and by,
      Sail away, ladies, sail away.

      Don’t you rock 'em, daddy-o.
      Don’t you rock 'em, daddy-o.
      Don’t you rock 'em, daddy-o.
      Sail away, ladies, sail away.

      Hey, I got a home in Tennessee
      Sail away, ladies, sail away.
      That’s the place I want to be.
      Sail away, ladies, sail away.
      (Repeat REFRAIN)

      Arranged by John Koerner

    Rock Drum Patterns

    Objective: The students will learn some basic rock drum patterns
    • Listen to "I Did My Best" by Soul Asylum.
    • Form two groups and learn some basic rock drum patterns with body percussion (one group clapping the snare drum part, the other patting the cymbal part with alternating hands). Switch parts and repeat.
    • Take turns playing the patterns on instruments. (see the score for an example.)
    • Play the patterns along with "I Did My Best" by Soul Asylum.

    "Kim Marie"

    Objective: The students will use chord roots and/or chords to accompany a song
    • Using classroom or chorded instruments, have students accompany the recording of "Kim Marie" with chord roots or complete chords. The progression is as follows:

      In C:
      C C F Dm G G C C
      C C F Dm G G C C
      F F C C A A D G
      C C F Dm G G C C

      For the section in F:
      F F Bb G C C F F
      F F Bb G C C F F
      Bb Bb F F D D G C
      F F Bb G C C F

    "Sail Away"--Latin

    Objective: The students will learn to change the rhythmic background--and thus the context--of a piece.
    • CD1, track 3
    • Score (click here) to see the score; click here to listen.
    • John Koerner (profile of the musician group with discography and audio/video clips)
    • Manny Lopez (profile of the musical group with discography and audio/video clips) The video sample inclues Manny and "Dude" Lopez doing a rendition of "Jazz Me Blues" to Latin beat.
    • Sing "Sail Away" without the recording.
    • Change the song's style by adding a Latino-style drum part. For an example, see the score.

    Bix and Rhythm

    Objective: The students will learn about Bix Beiderbecke, with special attention to his rhythmic style.
    • Listen to the program segment on Bix Beiderbecke (program 1, 40:10.
    • Read Bix Beiderbecke: The Birth of Midwestern Jazz (below).
    • Listen to the rhythms of Jazz Me Blues and I Did My Best. Ask students to tell how they are alike, and how they are different.

    Bix Beiderbecke & the Birth of Midwestern Jazz

    In 1910, a piece in the Davenport Democrat announced the discovery of a musical prodigy: "Leon Bix Beiderbecke, age seven years, is the most unusual and the most remarkably talented child in music that there is in the city... [H]e can play in completeness any selection, the air or tune of which he knows."

    Bix Beiderbecke was a uniquely Midwestern figure. His father’s family were German immigrants with a strong interest in classical music; his grandfather, a local grocer, had organized a German men’s choir in Davenport in the 1860's. His mother was the daughter of a Mississippi riverboat captain, and a trained pianist and organist.

    Bix was picking out tunes on the piano by age four. At first, he imitated the parlor and classical pieces familiar around his home. Then, in 1918, his older brother Charles returned from the First World War with some cash in hand and bought a record player and a bunch of records, including the Original Dixieland Jazz Band’s "Tiger Rag." Bix was an immediate convert. He borrowed a cornet from a friend, and spent weeks sitting by the phonograph, learning every lick.

    He was not alone. The ODJB had set off a revolution, and soon Bix was showing off his embryonic jazz chops with a group of fellow students at Davenport High. The local kids had an advantage shared by few other northern Americans. Along with records, they could hear jazz as it came up the river on the big pleasure boats from New Orleans. In 1919, the stern-wheeler Capitol brought Fate Marable’s band to Davenport, with Louis Armstrong on cornet, and both Armstrong and Bix would later recall their meeting. By the time he was eighteen, Bix was himself working on the boats, playing for summer excursions on the Capitol and Majestic.

    Davenport, however, was still a small town, and Bix’s music would not come to fruition until his parents sent him off to school near Chicago. They had hoped to get him away where he could concentrate on schoolwork, but instead they had placed him at the heart of the jazz world. The city was becoming home to a wave of New Orleans expatriates, including Armstrong, King Oliver, and Jelly Roll Morton. Young white enthusiasts were soon picking up their licks and, in 1924, the first of these homegrown Midwestern groups went into the recording studio. Called the Wolverines, it featured Bix on cornet, and he was on his way to becoming a jazz legend, a status that only grew as he moved into the popular bands of Jean Goldkette and Paul Whiteman, and recorded small-group sessions with a circulating bunch of young players among whom his choruses virtually always stood out as exceptional moments of magic.

    The legend, as it happened, would often obscure the music. Especially after his premature death in 1931, many white musicians and historians, eager for a figure they could identify with, would canonize Bix as the ultimate jazz soloist. In reaction, others would write him off as good for a white player, but not a real contender alongside the likes of Armstrong.

    By now, the exaggerations have mostly run their course, and most people agree that Bix, while not of Armstrong’s stature, was a massively influential player and helped bring a new approach to jazz. His Davenport youth had allowed him to absorb two widely disparate traditions, giving his playing a unique flavor. He retained the complex harmonic influences of his family’s German concert music but, unlike most other white "progressives," he had grown up hearing the masters as they came north on the boats, and was a real jazzman. At his best, he played with gorgeous tone, infectious swing, and a range of melodic and harmonic ideas that would help point the way to much of the later course of jazz.

    These days, when jazz is centered in a handful of major cities, musicians rarely have a sound that can be identified as regional. In earlier years, though, every region from Texas to San Francisco to Kansas City had their local favorites, and spawned their own styles and imitators. Bix Beiderbecke would draw from many sources, but Davenport provided his roots, and to a great extent he would always remain a product of his hometown on the Iowa riverfront.

    - From River of Song: A Musical Journey Down the Mississippi, by Elijah Wald and John Junkerman, St. Martin's Press, 1998

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