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Smithsonian Music
Did you know that the Smithsonian’s combined musical resources constitute the world’s largest museum of music? Music is an integral part of the Smithsonian’s connective tissue, spanning a remarkable number and diversity of collections, programs and exhibitions. Visit this site, created for the 2019 Year of Music, to tap into the Smithsonian’s bounty of educational resources, music videos, collection spotlights and more.
The Look of the Listen: The Cover Art of Folkways Records
From 1948 to 1986, Folkways Records produced over 2,000 recordings of remarkable breadth and diversity. This virtual exhibition from Smithsonian Folkways presents the look of Folkways through an exploration of the cover art and design of this extraordinary recording company.
Musical Math-terpiece: The Art of Piet Mondrian
In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, middle school students will learn about the life and art of Piet Mondrian, his style influenced by jazz music and his technique using spatial concepts. Students will create a painting in Mondrian’s non-objective style.
Louis Armstrong Education Kit
This History Explorer kit of guided listening activities and streaming music offers an engaging way of introducing students to jazz. It traces Louis Armstrong’s career as a musician, from influences in African rhythms and New Orleans marches through performances in the 1960’s and 70’s. It could be used as an introduction to using music and sound recordings as primary sources.
The Life and Music of Celia Cruz: Her Music
Use this History Explorer resource to introduce students to audio samples of Celia Cruz’s music and video clips of her life and performances. In addition to salsa, Cruz performed many genres of Afro-Caribbean songs. Her repertoire showcased the power of her voice, as well as her skill and mastery of rhythmic complexities.
Hip-Hop and Rap Across the Smithsonian
Through the years, hip-hop has created new traditions and furthered musical and cultural traditions of the African diaspora. Visit this site to explore hip-hop and rap-related collections from across the Smithsonian.
The Invention of the Electric Guitar
In this online History Explorer resource, students will learn how the need for louder guitars led to the invention and proliferation of the electric guitar. They’ll also learn how the emergence and popularity of rock and roll led to the guitar’s commercial success and more innovative designs.
Scientists Show How Humans May Share a “Musical Grammar”
Across 60 cultures, songs sung in similar social contexts have shared musical features. Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn why that is significant.
Protect Yourself! Amulets Made from Recycled Materials
Our world is increasingly becoming filled with disposal paper items filling landfills and polluting our environment. In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, high school students will create an amulet constructed with recycled magazines and newspapers.
Masters of the Building Arts Activity Guide
This Smithsonian Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage educational activity guide for young people explores the artistry and skill of master crafts-workers in the building trades and their important contributions to our architectural heritage. It features hands-on activities to do at school or at home.