The purpose of this activity is to provide students with background information about Cook, Dixon & Young. This activity can be used prior to viewing the film.
1. Watch a video clip of Cook, Dixon & Young performing at:
Click on the video clip link at the top left of the page.
2. Divide the class into three groups and have each group gather information about one of the singers, which can include reviews of their performances. The students can begin their research at these Web sites:
Group One: Victor Trent Cook
Group Two: Rodrick Dixon
Group Three: Thomas Young
3. Ask each group to create a segment to introduce their assigned singer to an audience on the imaginary television show THE INSIDE TRACK: NEW TALENT IN THE WORLD OF MUSIC. Stage a performance if possible.
The purpose of this activity is for the students to research different kinds of music and create a musical program.
1. Write the words "opera," "jazz," "gospel & spirituals," "Broadway show tunes," and "blues" on the board. Ask the students to brainstorm what they know about each of these topics. Record their ideas.
2. Divide the class into groups and have the students conduct research on one of these musical genres.
Group One: Opera
Group Two: Jazz
Group Three: Gospel & Spirituals
Group Four: Broadway Show Tunes
Group Five: Blues
3. Ask each group to create an oral presentation that teaches the class about their topic.
4. After the presentations, have the students return to the list they originally brainstormed and include any new information they have learned.
The purpose of this activity is to encourage the students to think about different ways to respond to a musical performance.
1. Share the following quote with them from music educator Laura Darrow, and ask for volunteers to share their responses to it:
When we think of voices we associate them with the people they are matched with. To sing is intensely personal and somehow seems outside the realm of other types of musicianship. But if we begin to view our voice as an instrument that just happens to be housed inside our bodies, we can eliminate some of the mystique about singing. It is true that just as there are people who run faster, there are people who sing more beautifully. But as most everyone can run, so, too, most everyone can sing.
2. Have the students brainstorm answers to the following questions:
3. Divide the class into small groups and share the following scenario:
- How do audiences typically respond to a musical performance?
- When you listen to music, how do you respond? What goes through your mind?
Imagine that you are watching a performance of Cook, Dixon & Young. How are you likely to respond? Ask each group to suggest responses that they think might reflect the orientation of their assigned person.
Group One: A music teacher
Group Two: A researcher specializing in biology
Group Three: A musical producer
Group Four: A doctor specializing in ear, nose, and throat
Group Five: A painter
Group Six: A poet
4. Discuss the different ways of responding to a piece of music based on the students' input.
The purpose of this activity is to encourage the students to explore various aspects of diversity in the arts.
1. Share the following quote from concert producer John Schimmelman with the class, and ask the students to respond to it:
Consider the lack of opportunities that the African-American tenor has in the traditional opera house. In order to survive, the African-American tenor has to be an extremely diversified performer. They have to be able to sing the blues, to work in jazz clubs and on Broadway.
2. Pick a student to read the following interview aloud from the GREAT PERFORMANCES' AÏDA'S BROTHERS AND SISTERS: BLACK VOICES IN OPERA Web site at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/aidas/meet.html.
Ask for volunteers to share their responses to the interview with the class.
3. Have the students work in small groups to research the lack of diversity in the television industry. Provide each group with 15-20 strips of paper. Ask the students to collect facts, ideas, and images pertinent to this issue and record their key ideas on the paper strips. They can use magazines, books, photographs, and Web sites as resources. They can begin their research at these sites:
4. Have the groups meet and compare their information by browsing through the facts collected and sharing ideas about what they have written on their strips of paper. Ask each group to generate categories that describe the issues pertaining to diversity that they have collected. Create a large wall or bulletin board display that highlights the issues the students have generated.
5. Lead a class discussion on the larger issues surrounding diversity in the arts. The following are suggestions to spark discussion:
6. Divide the class into small groups. Tell the students that they are forming an organization to promote diversity in the arts and entertainment world.
- Brainstorm examples of diversity in the music industry.
- Do you think it is important to have diversity in the arts? Why or why not?
- How are larger cultural and racial issues explored through the arts? Brainstorm specific examples.
- In your opinion, do the arts bring people together or divide them?
- How are the issues surrounding diversity in television similar to or different from those that become apparent in other performing arts?
- How are the issues surrounding diversity in the arts reflected in other aspects of our society such as sports, politics, and business?
- What can people do to address these issues?
Ask each group to generate at least five specific recommendations that address the issue of diversity in the arts.
Convene a panel in a mock meeting in which each group presents its ideas to the class. Provide time for discussion of the issues the students raise.
The purpose of this activity is for the students to create a musical program that reflects their understanding of diverse styles of music.
1. Divide the students into groups of two and do a Pair-Share discussion based on the following questions:
2. Share the following with the class:
- What are your favorite kinds of music?
- What are your five favorite songs?
- When you listen to music, do you prefer to be alone or with others?
- Would you rather listen to music at a live performance or on a recording?
You have been asked to create an evening of music to be performed at your local community center. The audience will consist mainly of students from grades three through twelve. The performance should consist of three acts and 30 songs. Each act should include at least two examples of songs from the categories of opera, jazz, blues, and Broadway show tunes. You may also include other songs of your choice.
Divide the class into three groups. Each group is responsible for deciding on the ten songs to be used in one act.
3. Have each group create a page of a program to accompany each act in the performance. Students should illustrate the pages with photographs, drawings, etc. that showcase the songs to be performed. If possible, this may be created as a Web page with audio files and images.
1. Students will learn about the life of Marian Anderson, who was one of the most accomplished opera singers of all time. She was denied a wider audience due to the racism and segregation in the United States during her lifetime. Have the students read about her life and career at these sites:
2. Ask the students to choose an event in Anderson's life and write a letter from her perspective to a friend or family member reflecting how she might have described the incident.