Year 2 Music

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Jazz Music

louis armstrong

One kind of music from America is liked by people around the world. This music, called jazz, was invented among communities of former slaves after the American Civil War. It began in New Orleans, a southern city where the Mississippi river nears the sea. Many people say that jazz is America's most important gift to music. Other styles of music influenced early jazz, such as ragtime, marching bands, blues and the spirituals that were sung on plantations.

One of the first great jazz musicians was Louis Armstrong. Some people called him by a nickname, 'Satchmo', and others called him 'Pops'. When Louis was a boy, he lived in New Orleans. He became very good at playing jazz even when he was young. He learned to play the cornet (an instrument like the trumpet) so well that the other musicians in his band would stop playing, or play in the background, and let him play a solo ('solo' means 'alone' in Italian). He played and sang with many different jazz musicians and bands during his life, and he was loved by people all over the world. You can always recognise his warm and gravelly voice.

A song that jazz musicians in New Orleans liked to improvise on is called 'When the Saints Go Marching In.' Let's sing part of it:

Oh, when the saints go marching in,
When the saints go marching in,
I want to be in that number,
When the saints go marching in.

Jazz musicians are known for improvising, or making up the music as they go along. Learn more about this and try your own improvising in the Improvising activity.

This activity is adapted from pages 217 - 218 of What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.

Click below to see the related activity:

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