Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.
- 1 to 1.5 hours
Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:
- summarize the life and work of Duke Ellington
- list the key achievements of Duke Ellington
- outline the style and influence of Duke Ellington's music
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.
Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.
- A short audio clip of a musical selection by Duke Ellington
- Paper copies of the text lesson Duke Ellington: Biography, Songs & Facts
- A worksheet created using the biography quiz and the music quiz
- Five full-length selections of music by Duke Ellington
- Begin by playing the audio clip for the class.
- Has anyone heard this music before today?
- What type of music is it?
- Can anyone name the composer?
- Pass out the paper copies of the text lesson Duke Ellington: Biography, Songs & Facts, one per student.
- Tell the class to read the introduction, 'You Ain't Been Blue' and 'Duke Ellington - Biography' sections of the text lesson.
- How might Duke Ellington's early life have influenced his career?
- How unusual was it for an African American man of Duke Ellington's time to achieve such success?
- Have the students read the rest of the text lesson now.
- What is ragtime?
- What is big band?
- What is the significance of all the awards bestowed upon Duke Ellington?
- Let's take a closer look at Duke Ellington's music now.
- Play the video lesson Duke Ellington: Music, Piano & Big Band, pausing it at 1:47.
- What did the term the 'Harlem Renaissance' represent?
- Play the rest of the video lesson for the class now.
- What is Duke Ellington's lasting legacy?
- Pass out the worksheet and have students work independently to complete it.
- Divide the students into five groups.
- Give each group one of the full-length Duke Ellington musical selections upon which to focus.
- Instruct the groups to begin by listening to their assigned selection.
- Now have the students in each group collaborate as they respond in writing to the following questions:
- What instruments can you identify in the piece?
- What is unique about the selection?
- How does the music make you feel?
- What does the music tell you about the time period in which the selection was composed?
- How does the title of the selection relate to its sound and meaning?
- What can you tell about Duke Ellington based on this work?
- When the groups have finished responding to the aforementioned questions, have them take turns playing their selection for the class and presenting their analysis for consideration by the class.
- Have students compare Duke Ellington's catalogue of compositions to that of other well-known composers.
- Show the class a documentary about the life of Duke Ellington.
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