Journal of Educational Controversy


Thursday, November 25, 2010

New Curriculum on Democracy and Jazz

Many of our readers will be interested in a new curriculum produced at Teachers College, Columbia University called, “Let Freedom Swing: Conversations on Democracy and Jazz.” On the eve of President Obama’s inauguration on January 20, 2009, a concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC brought together Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and jazz musician, Wynton Marsalis. It was from this event that the idea of a curriculum based on two American traditions – jazz and democracy – was conceived. Readers can access the DVDs and study guide at:

From the website: “Three key themes structure the videos and study guide: “We the People,” “E Pluribus Unum” (From Many, One), and “A More Perfect Union.” Each video is about six minutes in length. The study guide contains questions for discussion, teaching activities, and additional resources. The website contains the three videos, the study guide, information about the project, and additional print, digital, and video resources.”

The journal has published an earlier article on another curriculum produced at Teachers College called, “Teaching the Levees: An Exercise in Democratic Dialogue.” We are planning on publishing an article on this latest curriculum in our upcoming issue next summer.


Les Blackwell said...

What an exciting thought....teaching history through the use of music. Jazz is a unique musical form wholly an American product. Its different formats can be linked to different era in the development of this nation.

But an equally interesting idea is that we spend what time we have with our students in teaching them to "produce" music. Having the chance to understand some of the nuances of music might make the knowledge of music a richer experience.

A good posting!

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