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Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Visit the webpage of Folkways Recordings to explore, research, order and download recordings from the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian. The site includes music from the United States and around the world. Visitors can search by album, artist, country or genre.
Audible Artworks: Selected African Musical Instruments
Explore this online exhibition from the National Museum of African Art to learn about African musical instruments that are also works of art.
Musical Math-terpiece: The Art of Piet Mondrian
In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students learn about the jazz-inspired life and art of Piet Mondrian. Then they create their own Mondrian-style paintings.
The Invention of the Electric Guitar
This online exhibit from the National Museum of American History shows how the need for louder guitars led to the invention and proliferation of the electric guitar. It also explains how the emergence and popularity of rock and roll led to the guitar’s commercial success and more innovative designs.
Women Breaking Musical Barriers: She Isn’t Supposed to Play That
This website from the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage traces the history and diversity of women in music through text, video recordings and audio recordings.
The Music in Poetry
These lessons from the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access introduce students to the rhythms of poetry. The focus is on two poetic forms that originated as forms of song: the ballad stanza, found throughout British and American literature, and the blues stanzas of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes.
¡Azúcar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz
Celia Cruz was an influential and legendary musical figure, both in her native country of Cuba and in the United States. Invite students to connect to her story through immigration, history, geography, music theory, music history and art on this National Museum of American History online exhibit.
Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn: Jazz Composers
When we think of jazz musicians, it’s usually first and foremost of performers who take the stage and improvise on songs or instrumentals. But it is composers who work offstage and behind the scenes to create a repertory for performers to play. Invite students to visit this National Museum of American History website to learn about two of the greatest jazz composers.
These Are America’s Ten Most Endangered Rivers
According to a new report, mining and flood control projects are the main threats to America’s waterways. Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn more.
Student Activity: Exploring Water Quality
In this activity from the Smithsonian Learning Lab, students will learn about sources of pollution in nearby streams, lakes and rivers. Then they will conduct their own test of water quality.