Spotlight Musician José Feliciano

I remember my older brother playing (on guitar and recordings) José Feliciano songs. I instantly fell in love with Feliciano’s sound and cool vibe and have followed him for years.

Laura

José Feliciano is a musician, singer, and composer. His greatest hits include “Feliz Navidad” and “Light My Fire.” “Feliz Navidad“, was written in 1970. Feliciano said the feeling behind the song was what he felt in his home country of Puerto Rico, celebrating Noche Buena, Christmas Eve, eating pasteles and lechon, and caroling in parrandas.


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50th Anniversary

Biography

José Feliciano, one of 11 children (all boys), was born in 1945 in Puerto Rico and moved with his family to New York City when he was 5. He was born blind from congenital glaucoma.

By the age of 9, he was performing in theaters. One of his first instruments was a concertina but then he switched to guitar.

He continued to perform and gain in popularity because of his ability to play the guitar (virtuoso) and sing, and how he arranged the songs to make them sound so unique. He became popular in the 60s and still tours today. (2020s)

Light My Fire

This shows his incredible guitar and arranging skills.

Listen to the Falling Rain

Build a House Book Review With Lesson Plans for Music

Integrate literature into the music class with these lesson plans for Build a House by Rhiannon Giddens and illustrated by Monica Mikai. This book is based on the song of the same name and is the story of what happened to enslaved Africans after the Emancipation Proclamation.

  1. The Review
  2. Official Video of the Book and Song
  3. NPR Book Interview with Rhiannon Giddens
  4. Rhiannon Giddens & Yo-Yo Ma Play “Build A House”
  5. Breakdown-The Song
  6. Lesson Plan
  7. Buy the Book
  8. I Will Not Be Moved
    1. Links for “I Will Not Be Moved”
  9. The Whitewashing of African American Roots Music
Continue reading “Build a House Book Review With Lesson Plans for Music”

Hispanic Latinx (a/o/e) Heritage Month Activities

The resources on this page have been researched for their authenticity and respect for Hispanic Latinx (a/o/e) heritage, using culture bearers as much as possible!

This nationally recognized heritage month extends from September 15-October 15. Originally named Hispanic Heritage Month, the name has been slowly changing into Latinx Heritage Month. It is a time to celebrate Latinx culture, people, and history.

Continue reading “Hispanic Latinx (a/o/e) Heritage Month Activities”

Black History Month Songs & Curriculum

Lift Every Voice for Black History Month curriculum resources.

On This Page

  1. Song Info
    1. Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing (Black National Anthem)
      1. Kings Return
    2. Sister Rosa by The Neville Brothers
    3. Documentary About Bessie Jones
    4. What Can One Little Person Do? by Sally Rogers
  2. Musician & Song Database-Searchable
  3. Resources
    1. Carnegie Hall African American Music Timeline
    2. African Drumming & Dance
    3. Music History, Is Black History
    4. Preservation Hall Lesson Plans
    5. Namibia Culture-Bearer, Garth Prince
    6. Black Stringband Music
    7. A History of We Shall Overcome
    8. Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll.
    9. Paying Royalties
    10. Black Music of the African Diaspora
    11. Black History Month Songs for Kids
  4. Bulletin Boards

Song Info

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing (Black National Anthem)

Kings Return

Sister Rosa by The Neville Brothers

Documentary About Bessie Jones

What Can One Little Person Do? by Sally Rogers

A composed song about important black leaders and the power of one.

Musician & Song Database-Searchable

I’ve tried to use songs written by Black artists that are accessible to children. There is a multitude of current songs (or within the past 10 years) that could be used as well that I haven’t added to the list. Also, there are SO MANY amazing Black performers who weren’t composers that you can highlight as well.

Resources

Carnegie Hall African American Music Timeline

There is SO much to discover in this resource.

  • a physical timeline showing origins and connections for black music genres
  • LOTS of music links on every page that play Apple music snippets, just enough to be perfect for the classroom
  • beautiful images of musicians and historical events on every page

African Drumming & Dance

In this series, dancer Rujeko Dumbutshena and drummer Farai Malianga show you how to dance traditional African dances and drums and their place in African history. This is a YT playlist from the Kennedy Center.

Music History, Is Black History

This resource page by Reverb has lots of information about Black musicians who were innovators and had groundbreaking achievements.

Teaching Idea: Let students choose a musician to research, putting all the research together into a timeline of Black music history.

The final student product could be online or hard-copy.
ONLINE-a Google slide, Flipgrid video presentation
HARD-COPY-poster board, report on 8.5 x 11, info on record-shaped album

Preservation Hall Lesson Plans

What an amazing resource! Just to name a few lesson plans: Learn the song Blue Monday, Bourbon Street Parade, Brass Bandbook, Congo Square, El Manciero, and TONS more.

Namibia Culture-Bearer, Garth Prince

Prince is a musician, vocalist, drummer, and educator who has knowledge of traditional folk songs of Namibia.

Black Stringband Music

This resource, by musician Jake Blount, has some essential and relevant information about Stringband music but other information about Black music and musicians. Mr. Blount has such thoroughly researched information.

A History of We Shall Overcome

A fascinating and thorough search of the evolution of this famous song. After watching, I definitely subscribed to Genie Deez’s channel because he is amazing!

His YT playlist on Culture & History includes great information on Funk, Civil Rights, syncopation, and so much more.

Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll.

In Black Diamond Queens, Maureen Mahon draws on recordings, press coverage, archival materials, and interviews to document the history of African American women in rock and roll between the 1950s and the 1980s.”

AMAZING video. I highly recommend watching for teachers and upper middle school/high school students.

Paying Royalties

The United Parish in Brookline introduced a unique program to help carry on the legacy of this music in Roxbury, and they’re hoping to be a model for others.

“There was growing discomfort around how to use Negro spirituals, appropriately and respectfully,” said the congregation’s minister of music Susan DeSelms.

Black Music of the African Diaspora

This blog post is from two educators who created a new seminar that looks at American history through Black American music. The greatest thing is that they have shared their playlist on Spotify!

Black History Month Songs for Kids

Bulletin Boards

In the News

Special Days Celebrated With Music


  1. April 30 International JAZZ Day
  2. April 22 Earth Day
  3. April 11 National Barbershop Quartet Day
  4. April 3 National Film Score Day
    1. Music of John Williams
  5. April 11 National Barbershop Quartet Day
  6. March 29 World Piano Day
  7. March 21 World Poetry Day
  8. March 17 St. Patrick’s Day
  9. March 10 International Bagpipe Day
  10. March 4-Marching Music Day
    1. Blue Devils Drum Corps
    2. Southern University Marching Band
    3. US Marine Corps Band
    4. The History of Military Marches
  11. February 26-National Tell a Fairy Tale Day
  12. February 15-National Gumdrop Day
  13. February 7-World Ballet Day
    1. Misty Copeland
  14. January 28-National Kazoo Day
  15. January 24-National Peanut Butter Day
  16. January 17-Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  17. January 9-International Choreographer’s Day
    1. Mambo from West Side Story
    2. Thriller by Michael Jackson (shortened)
  18. January 3-Women Rock! Day
    1. My ❤️ FAVORITE rocker-H.E.R.
  19. December 6-Walt Disney Day
    1. Minnie & Mickey
    2. Disney’s 2021 Release Movie-Encanto
  20. December 13-National Violin Day
    1. The Kanneh-Mason Family

April 30 International JAZZ Day

April 22 Earth Day

April 11 National Barbershop Quartet Day

April 3 National Film Score Day

Music of John Williams

April 11 National Barbershop Quartet Day

March 29 World Piano Day

March 21 World Poetry Day

March 17 St. Patrick’s Day

March 10 International Bagpipe Day

March 4-Marching Music Day

Blue Devils Drum Corps

Southern University Marching Band

US Marine Corps Band

The History of Military Marches

February 26-National Tell a Fairy Tale Day

February 15-National Gumdrop Day

February 7-World Ballet Day

Misty Copeland

January 28-National Kazoo Day

January 24-National Peanut Butter Day

January 17-Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Follow the above link for LOTS of MLK resources!

January 9-International Choreographer’s Day

International Choreographer’s Day

Mambo from West Side Story

Thriller by Michael Jackson (shortened)

Evolution of Dance has lots of great dances and might be appropriate for some classes. Please review it before showing.

January 3-Women Rock! Day

Aretha Franklin
Joan Jett

My ❤️ FAVORITE rocker-H.E.R.

December 6-Walt Disney Day

Walt Disney Day-December 6

The first Monday of December (12/06/2021)

Walt Disney was born in Chicago in 1901 and began as an illustrator. One of the first characters he helped create was Mortimer Mouse who later was renamed Mickey Mouse. He is known for the animated features The Three Little Pigs, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Pinocchio, Bambi, Dumbo, and Mary Poppins. Disney was a pioneer in animation and introduced several developments in the production of cartoons.

Minnie & Mickey

Disney’s 2021 Release Movie-Encanto


December 13-National Violin Day

The violin, also known as a fiddle, is a wooden chordophone in the string family. It is the highest-pitched instrument in the family, has four strings, and is played by plucking or bowing.

Pictured is a violin from 1658.

Early stringed instruments came from the Greeks, Central Asia, and the Middle East and influenced the violin that we know today which emerged in the 1500s in Northern Italy.

The Kanneh-Mason Family

Braimah Kanneh-Mason on violin

Ultimate Ukulele Chords That Take You Beyond the Basics

  1. Inspiration-RIFFS
  2. How to Play G -Video Tutorial
  3. Long Drives (C, F, G, Am)
  4. One Call Away (C, F, G, Am)
  5. Columbia, Mi Encanto (C, F, G)
  6. Earth Day Is Ev’ry Day (C, F, Am, G)
  7. Walking On Sunshine (C, F, G)
  8. Let It Be (C, F, G, Am)
  9. Riff for Bring U Down Playalong (below)
  10. Another Brick In the Wall (C, Dm, F, G)
  11. Bring U Down (G, F, Am, Dm)
  12. Counting Stars (Am, C, G, F, Dm)
  13. If I Didn’t Love You (F, G, Am, C)
  14. Someone You Loved (C, G, Am, F, Dm)
  15. D Chord
  16. You Belong With Me (G, D, Am, C)
  17. Bigger Than the Whole Sky (G, Am, C, D)

Inspiration-RIFFS

How to Play G -Video Tutorial

Comparing ukulele chords and learning how to play the G chord.

Long Drives (C, F, G, Am)

One Call Away (C, F, G, Am)

Columbia, Mi Encanto (C, F, G)

Earth Day Is Ev’ry Day (C, F, Am, G)

Walking On Sunshine (C, F, G)

Let It Be (C, F, G, Am)

This is a beautiful video with added melody.

Riff for Bring U Down Playalong (below)

Another Brick In the Wall (C, Dm, F, G)

Bring U Down (G, F, Am, Dm)

Counting Stars (Am, C, G, F, Dm)

If I Didn’t Love You (F, G, Am, C)

Someone You Loved (C, G, Am, F, Dm)

D Chord

You Belong With Me (G, D, Am, C)

Bigger Than the Whole Sky (G, Am, C, D)

Spotlight Classroom Musician of the Week – Thelonious Monk


Thelonious Monk, Jazz Pianist

Here are some ideas to explore the wonder of the great jazz virtuoso, Thelonious Monk. You’ll find biography info, a movement activity to his fabulous piece, “Stuffy Turkey,” some links, and advanced movement options!

Continue reading “Spotlight Classroom Musician of the Week – Thelonious Monk”

America the Beautiful

One of the top ten songs EVERY child should learn to sing.


Included on this page-

Lyrics-Ukulele music-Performance options-TpT Link to an America the beautiful presentation-Free coloring page download, Great video examples of the song

Besides singing in the classroom or at a school community meeting, when have YOU had your students perform America the Beautiful?

(Leave your answers in the comments. Here are mine.)
  • Veterans Day
  • Presidents Day
  • Sporting Events
  • Peace Walks
  • Spring & Winter Programs
  • Earth Day
  • Women’s History Month
  • Memorial Day
  • Fourth of July

For ukulele (C, C7, D7, F, and G)

PPT Presentation on TpT

Teachers Pay Teacher Presentation in both Powerpoint and Google slide formats

Coloring Sheet Free Download

Patriotic tribute by two sisters

Virtual Orchestra and Choir Collaboration

Ray Charles

It’s About Time

“What animal keeps the best time?

A WATCH dog!

Spotlight Artist: Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck was a jazz musician. He was born in California and died in 2012 at age 91. He loved experimenting with different time signatures such as 5/4, 6/4, and 9/8. He recorded Take 5 in 1959 and it became a jazz hit and a classic. Take 5 was written by Paul Desmond.

Take 5

A Mashup of Take Five and Beethoven’s Fur Elise

Fun With Fives

Try a few of these ideas!

Body Percussion
  1. Count to five repeatedly and clap on the numbers FOUR and FIVE. Add the music.
  2. Instead of clapping on the 4 and 5, what else could you do?
    • Get with a partner or small group, come up with a plan, and share with the class!
Movement
  1. Can we move on all five numbers? Let’s try some opposites.
    • Hands up on 1-2-3 and down on 4-5
    • Bend over on 1-2-3 and straighten on 4-5
    • Smile on 1-2-3 and frown on 4-5
    • Right arm up on 1-2-3 (then down) and left arm up on 4-5 (then down)
    • Challenge move: Sway one direction on 1-2-3 and then the opposite on 4-5.
  2. Parachute-whether you have a big parachute, mini parachutes, or scarves, create a move for the 1-2-3 and then another for the 4-5.
    • Parachute-up on 1-2-3 then while up, pull, shake, or beat of hands on 4-5. Repeat for down. So, “Up, two, three, pull, pull. Down, two, three, pull, pull.”
  3. Create movement for the A section and then the B section to perform the entire first section Intro and ABA. (see notes below)
Speech
  1. 3+2=5 Add a 3-syllable animal to a 2-syllable animal-“mockingbird + robin”
    • Play the TWO syllable game. The teacher says “An-i-mal” and each student (or with a partner) in rhythm has to say a two syllable animal. The teacher can point to random students or go in order. If you play it as an out game, students who are out could then be in charge of clapping on 4 and 5 or playing an instrument on 4 and 5.
    • Could you play using “Yum-my fruit” or “Stu-dent names”?
  2. Try the 3 + 2 activity with colors, food, plants, reptiles, etc.
Instruments
  1. Drums
    • Play on beats 4 and 5 trying out different drum techniques. (low, high, brush, knock, fist.
    • Put two together for the 1-2-3 + 4-5. Maybe brush for 1-2-3 and high for 4-5. Let students explore and then share with class.
    • Try playing just on the 1.
    • Try using the form ABA. The A section is the two styles on 1-2-3, 4-5 and the B section is just on the 1. Try it with the recording.
  2. Sticks-exactly the same idea as drums but partners could tap each other’s sticks on the 4 and 5 of the A section or beat 1 of the B section.

Spotlight Artist: Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau was a singer. He was born in Wisconsin and came from a very musical family. He sang jazz, pop, soul, and R & B music and won many Grammy awards. He died in 2017.

Singing-Take 5 Cover with lyrics.
Les Nuages is a band from Romania.

If you are adventurous, here are some lyrics I created to show students some possibilities. Sing along 😀 and try writing some of your own.

Lyric Template-Write a class version!

Teacher Notes

  1. The form (video above): Intro (drum solo then 8 measures of piano intro), ABA, sax improv, drum improv, at 4:20 a return to ABA, coda.
  2. Depending on your school situation, lots of additional opportunities are available if you use a variety of formations: rows and columns, circles
  3. Parachute activity-It’s always best to verbalize movements of this type. I’ve included what you might say.
Kahoot Questions
  1. Who performed the piece Take 5?
  2. What genre of music is Take 5?
  3. What is the time signature for Take 5?
  4. Identify the piano, saxophone, and drums.