objectives materials technology background activities assessment resources

Louisiana Voices Educator's Guide  
Getting Started With This Guide  
Outline of the Study Guide  
Study Guide Summary  
Study Unit I Defining Terms  
Study Unit II Fieldwork Basics  
Study Unit III Discovering the Obvious: Our Lives as "The Folk"  
Study Unit IV The State of Our Lives: Being a Louisiana Neighbor  
Study Unit V Oral Traditions--Swapping Stories  
Study Unit VI Louisiana's Musical Landscape  
Study Unit VII Material Culture-The Stuff of Life  
Study Unit VIII The Worlds of Work and Play  
Study Unit IX The Seasonal Round and Life Cycles  
Educator's Links  
Educator's Guide Glossary  
Educator's Guide Credits  
Educator's Opportunities For Professional Development  
Join The Community
Louisiana Folklife website Homepage  
Louisiana Folklife Program Home  
Louisiana's Living Traditions: Articles, Photos and Virtual Exhibits about Louisiana Folklife  


Unit VI Outline

Introduction - Louisiana's Musical Landscape

Lesson 1: Music Around the State: Sound and Place

Lesson 2: Listening Logs

Lesson 3: Generational Music Communities

Lesson 4: Moving to Music

Lesson 5: Music Is Business

Lesson 6: Louisiana's Legendary Musicians

Unit VI Resources





Unit VI Louisiana's Musical Landscape

Lesson 1 Music Around the State: Sound and Place


I grew up hearing Cajun music all my life, but like most teenagers I got side tracked and wanted to hear popular music. . . . It didn't take me long to realize that we had something very special here. . . . It's our music. It's who we are.

--Christine Balfa, Cajun Musician, St. Martin Parish

You can go to everybody's house and everybody don't cook gumbo the same. Some people have chicken wings, . . . hot sausage, shrimp, crabs, . . . chicken feets. Depends what flavor you put it in. That's the way the music is. It's the way you step in it. . . . What kind of groove you put to it. That's what the music is about, putting a groove to it, a great feeling to it.

--Benny Jones, Tremé Brass Band, Orleans Parish

Grade Level


Curriculum Areas

English Language Arts, Math, Music, Social Studies


Purpose of Lesson

This lesson introduces students to the styles and elements of music in the three major folk regions of Louisiana within specific traditional music genres. The lesson allows students to hear the diversity of music in the state and to identify the major genres of traditional music by how they sound and where they most often occur. This lesson will also give students a context within which to consider their own musical landscapes they look for and listen to different versions of traditional songs.


Lesson Objectives/Louisiana Content Standards, Benchmarks, and Foundation Skills

1. Students learn to identify traditional music from each of the three major folk regions of the state.

M-HP-E1 Recognize musical styles representative of various cultures.

M-HP-M1 Identify distinguishing characteristics of musical styles representative of various historical periods and cultures.

M-HP-M3 Identify specific types and uses of musical instruments in various cultures.

CL-1-D2 Identifying cultural practices that give rise to commonly held generalizations and/or stereotypes. (2, 3, 4)

H-1A-E2 Recognizing that people in different times and places view the world differently. (1, 3, 4)

G-1C-E4 Identifying and comparing the cultural characteristics of different regions and people. (1, 2, 3, 4)

2. Students explore the relationships among traditional, popular, and elite music.

M-AP-M1 Understand and apply expanded music vocabulary to describe aesthetic qualities of musical compositions.

M-AP-E2 Recognize and respond to concepts of beauty and taste in the ideas and creations of others through the study of music.

ELA-6-M3 Classifying various genres according to their unique characteristics. (1, 2, 4, 5)

CL-1-D5 Demonstrating an understanding of the cultural connotations of common words, phrases, and idioms. (1)

3. Students learn to listen to music discriminately and to identify these musical elements: instrumentation, lyrics, tempo, dynamics, melody, and rhythm.

M-AP-M1 Understand and apply expanded music vocabulary to describe aesthetic qualities of musical compositions.

M-CE-E4 Explore and express basic elements of music through voice, musical instruments, electronic technology, or available media.

M-CA-M3 Describe or explain characteristics of music in regard to suitability of musical selections for specific purposes.

AP-2M-M5 Reflecting and distinguishing differences heard in melody, rhythm, timbre, and form. (2, 4)

M-CA-E2 Identify simple music events (e.g., dynamic change, meter change, same/different sections) while listening to a work.

4. Students use multiple resources to collect data and draw conclusions and to interpret data using charts and graphs.

ELA-5-M2 Locating and evaluating information sources (e.g., print materials, databases, CD-ROM references, Internet information, electronic reference works, community and government data, television and radio resources, audio and visual materials). (1, 3, 4, 5)

ELA-5-M3 Locating, gathering, and selecting information using graphic organizers, outlining, note taking, summarizing, interviewing, and surveying to produce documented texts and graphics. (1, 3, 4)

ELA-5-M6 Interpreting graphic organizers (e.g., charts/graphs, tables/schedules, diagrams/maps, flowcharts). (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

ELA-7-M1 Using comprehension strategies (e.g., sequencing, predicting, drawing conclusions, comparing and contrasting, making inferences, determining main ideas, summarizing, recognizing literary devices, paraphrasing) in contexts. (1, 2, 4)

5. Students compare and contrast different pieces of music.

M-HP-M1 Identify distinguishing charateristics of musical styles representative of various historical periods and cultures.

M-HP-H1 Compare and contrast musical styles representative of various historical periods and cultures.

M-HP-M3 Identify specific types and uses of musical instruments in various cultures.

M-HP-H3 Compare and contrast types and uses of musical instruments in various cultures.

ELA-7-M1 Using comprehension strategies (e.g., sequencing, predicting, drawing conclusions, comparing and contrasting, making inferences, determining main ideas, summarizing, recognizing literary devices, paraphrasing) in contexts. (1, 2, 4)

ELA-6-M3 Classifying various genres according to their unique characteristics. (1, 2, 4, 5)


Time Required

3-5 class periods



State and parish maps, recordings of traditional music from each region of the state (See Technology Connections below), CD player, AM/FM radio (optional), headphones (optional), Internet access to radio shows and audio files (optional), duplicates of worksheets and rubrics.


Technology Connections

Internet Resources

Maps of Louisiana's Living Traditions: Ethnic Group Locales

Louisiana Folk Regions Map: Three Major Subregions

Louisiana Folklife Articles -- Music Traditions

The Treasured Traditions of Louisiana Music

Cajun Music: Alive and Well in Louisiana

Cajun Music as Oral Poetry

Hayride Boogie: Blues, Rockabilly and Soul from the Louisiana Hill and Delta Country

North Louisiana String Band

Since Ol' Gabriel's Time: Hezekiah and the Houserockers

Louisiana Folklife Photo Gallery

Louisiana Voices Traditional Music
Examples Resource Sheet

Louisiana's Three Folk Regions

Musical Elements Chart:  page 1

Key to Louisiana Music Resource Sheet:  page 1, page 2

Music Web Quest Resource Sheet

Louisiana's Legendary Musicians: A Select List

Adaptation Strategies

State and Parish Maps

American Roots Music

Louisiana Music Hall of Fame

Websites with Louisiana Music Online

American Routes  (audio)

Red Hot Jazz Archive   (audio)

folkstreams.net / Dry Wood video by Les Blank   (video)

Louisiana State Museum / New Orleans Jazz Club Vintage Radio Broadcasts  (audio) Features radio broadcasts from the 1960s.

River of Song  (audio, video)

Southern Music: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Recording Trip  (audio)  Scroll down to Special Presentation: The 1939 Recording Expedition, then select Louisiana.

Other Traditional Music Online

Alabama Center for Traditional Arts (audio)(Select Musics of Alabama, Shape-Note Singing, Shape Singing Convention, Alabama School of Gospel Music, Alabama Folkways Radio Series)

The Blue Highway   (Selct Bluescasts for audio)

Crossroads of the Heart / Mississippi Music (audio)

folkstreams.net (Select Subjects / Music) (video)

Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns (Select Classroom for lesson plans, then Biographies for audio.)

Jazz in the Schools, The Advent of Jazz

Lady Sings the Blues (Lesson Plans)

Music from the Sunshine State / Florida Folklife Program
(audio bytes)

Résonance: Musical Heritage of La Francophonie (video)

Music Resources Center / University of California, Berkeley (video)

Smithsonian Folkways (audio)

Traditions in Washington State (audio)  

Washington Folk Arts / Northwest Heritage Tours  (audio)

Wiregrass Ways Radio Program / South Georgia Folklife Project (audio)

Wisconsin Folks / Music Traditions (audio, video)

Student Worksheets

Louisiana Voices Traditional Music Examples Resource Sheet

Musical Elements Chart:  page 1, page 2

Musical Elements Chart Worksheet:  page 3

Music Genres and Venues Worksheet

Key to Louisiana Music Resource Sheet:  page 1, page 2

Music Prove It Worksheet

Music Web Quest Resource Sheet

Music Web Quest Record Sheet

Venn Diagram

Assessment Tools

Interpreting Music Data Rubric (Print using Landscape Orientation)

Found Poem - Found Song:   page 1, page 2


Evaluation Tools/Opportunities


  1. Key to Louisiana Music Resource Sheet: 
    page 1, page 2
  2. Musical Elements Chart Worksheet:  page 3
  3. Music Prove It Worksheet
  4. Venn Diagram
  5. Found Poem - Found Song:   page 1 , page 2


  1. Music Genres and Venues Worksheet
  2. Interpreting Music Data Rubric
    (Print using Landscape Orientation)


  1. Music Web Quest Results
  2. Personal Journals - Reflections About Music
  3. Map of Louisiana Musicians
  4. Found Poem - Found Song:   page 1 , page 2
  5. Timeline of Cultural Influences and Changes in a Genre
  6. Report on Louisiana Ethnic Locales
  7. Notebooks of Music Genres
  8. Skits of Louisiana Musicians
  9. Venn Diagrams
  10. Games


    Background Information for the Teacher

    Because folklife is at the heart of Louisiana Voices curriculum, the examples and lessons for this unit focus on music from folk or traditional cultures of Louisiana. Unit I explains the difference between folk, popular, and elite cultures as well as their dynamic interrelationships. Folk or traditional culture is usually learned mostly by word of mouth or through imitation within a folk group. Indeed, when we talk about "folk music" in this unit, we are not talking about the revivalist music of, say, Peter, Paul, and Mary. We are talking about traditional music passed on through generations within and among folk groups. Popular culture is transmitted through mass media forms of communication, such as radio, television, magazines, and the Internet. Bear in mind that traditional music may be played on popular radio stations. Or popular musicians may play traditional folk songs. Finally, elite culture is transmitted through formal institutions, such as schools, universities, music schools, or museums. Some people refer to "elite" culture as "academic" culture because it is learned and taught in formal settings such as schools, universities, or music academies. Again, it is important to remember that "academic" does not exclude traditional culture or even popular culture. The boundaries of the terms and music genres are fuzzy, so is important to allow for cross-overs and blendings of folk, popular, and elite cultures and music. A Venn Diagram helps students to visualize the interrelationships among folk, popular, and elite cultures and how the boundaries often blur.

    The primary emphasis of this lesson is on what traditional music from each major region of Louisiana sounds like. Thus, the lesson relates closely to Unit IV Lesson 1 and Unit IV Lesson 3. Maida Owens describes the folk regions of the state in Louisiana's Traditional Cultures: An Overview. Nicholas R. Spitzer also provides a shorter overview in The Creole State: An Introduction. Older students can use Louisiana's Three Folk Regions. Briefly, Louisiana breaks down, generally, into three regions: North Louisiana, South Louisiana, and New Orleans. Read Ben Sandmel's article The Treasured Traditions of Louisiana Music for more background information. If these are written above your students' reading ability, refer to the Adaptation Strategies for ways to adjust and modify them to levels that students can understand.

    North Louisiana is populated primarily by English-speaking Protestant British Americans and African Americans. It was settled largely by Scots-Irish Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians. North Louisiana includes all areas north of the "French triangle," so for the Louisiana Voices lessons, it includes the Florida Parishes. Refer to the Louisiana Folk Regions Map: Three Major Subregions. The traditional musical genres that characterize North Louisiana are ballads, lullabies, old-time country (or hillbilly), bluegrass, country, string bands, gospel, blues, and rockabilly. String bands typically consist of fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass, and banjo, especially in bluegrass. Country-western bands also may include a pedal steel, Dobro, and drums.

    South Louisiana was settled predominantly by French-speaking Roman Catholic European Americans and African Americans. Many of the Europeans were of Acadian, French, and Spanish descent. Afro-Caribbean and French influences are prevalent in Cajun and Creole music. The traditional musical genres that characterize South Louisiana are a cappella ballads and lullabies; Cajun music (fiddle, triangle or 'tit fer, and diatonic accordion); Creole juré, la-la, and zydeco (chromatic or piano accordion); and swamp pop.

    New Orleans features a host of diverse ethnic groups: Irish, West African, French, Spanish, Italian, Vietnamese, Caribbean, Latin American, and others. Dominant forms of traditional music include jazz, brass bands, gospel, rhythm & blues, and salsa.

    This lesson addresses two topics, primarily: 1) folk, or traditional, music genres, and 2) the folk region and ethnic group most often associated with these genres. For example, gospel is most often associated with African-American sacred music traditions of various Christian denominations, yet gospel is not exclusive to African Americans. People in white communities sing gospel. Koasati Indians in Allen Parish have gospel choirs. In many churches that share similar songs, it's the style and relationship to the songs that differ among the people. Our examples, though, come from African Americans because gospel is so integral to the identity of African-American religious folk groups.

    Be sure to remind students that music is much bigger than "ownership." Musical genres have different meanings within different folk groups, so it is important for students to transcend simply "who" is associated with a certain type of music and focus on the meaning of the music as it identifies and functions within a certain folk group.

    Students also need a special vocabulary to be able to talk about music, and this aspect of the lesson is user-friendly. Students study examples of various traditional musical styles from around the state and draw from these resources to become aware of the elements of musical style: instrumentation, lyrics or language, tempo, dynamics, melody, and rhythm.


    Instrumentation The combination of instruments used by musicians who play a certain style of music, i.e., a common instrumentation in a modern gospel choir is organ, piano, electric bass, drums, and vocals. The instruments that normally play the melody are often referred to as the lead instruments. The underlying rhythm and chord instruments are often called backup instruments. Instrumentation can be used to identify a certain musical style. By listening to the timbre and tone color of individual instruments and ensembles, we can also compare and contrast traditional musical styles.
    Lyrics or Language Each language has its own rhythms, which contribute to how music sounds. Like poetry, lyrics may tell stories about the people's lives and culture. Language (e.g., English, French, Vietnamese) tells us about the culture and the way people choose to communicate with members of their folk groups. The rhythm of the melody is often determined by the rhythm of the words. Periods of sound or silence in a melody are influenced by lyrics and language.
    Tempo The speed of the beat. Tempo guides how fast the piece of music will be played and is often constant throughout a piece of music. The tempo is usually set by the group leader or drummer and maintained by everyone in the ensemble. Tempo is one element of music that can be used to enhance the expressive qualities of music.
    Dynamics The degree of intensity (sound quality and expressiveness) and loudness. Dynamics often change within a piece of music. Musicians use dynamics to enhance the expressive qualities of music and get the desired response from the listener.
    Melody The pattern of pitches and rhythm that creates a tune or song. In folk music styles, the lead instrument or vocalist most often plays the melody. Others often play or sing complementary lines or chords called harmony.
    Rhythm The metered pattern of notes. In a single piece of music there can be many different rhythmic patterns. Rhythm seems similar to tempo, but tempo generally remains constant throughout a selection while rhythm changes within a piece of music. Rhythm deals with the steady beat of the music, usually moving in groups of two or three and how patterns of notes vary in relation to the steady beat, as in syncopation.

    Key questions to keep in mind with this lesson are: What people and/or region are represented by a piece of music? What musical elements combine to create a traditional music style? How does one style compare with another? The chart below provides background information on styles involved in this unit. Note that the chart does not include all instruments associated with all styles. It is tied directly to the online examples, and includes only the instruments heard in the songs referenced in this unit.

    Double Fiddles, Acoustic Guitar, French Singing, Triangle ('tit fer), Drums Cajun Music South Louisiana 'Tit galop pour Mamou by Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys
    Chromatic or Piano Accordion, Frottoir (rubboard), Drums, French Singing Zydeco South Louisiana Zydeco sont pas salé by Clifton Chenier
    Group Singing, Guitar Gospel Quartet North Louisiana Jezebel by The Ever Ready Singers
    Trumpet, Piano, Percussion, Call & Response vocals in English & Creole French Jazz New Orleans Eh là bas by Billie and DeDe Pierce
    Trumpet, Tuba, Drums, Hand Percussion Instruments (tambourine & cowbell, etc.), Call-and-Response Singing, Trombone, Saxophone Mardi Gras Indians New Orleans Let's Go Get 'Em by Bo Dollis, Monk Boudreaux, and the ReBirth Brass Band
    Electric Guitar, Dobro, Drums, Bass, Accordion, Solo Singing Contemporary Country South Louisiana Lake Charles by Lucinda Williams
    Electric Lead Guitar, Brass Section, Organ, Drums, Bass, Vocal Duet, Call & Response Singing Rhythm & Blues New Orleans and Mississippi Delta Where Ever There's a Will, There's a Way by Ernie K-Doe
    Piano, Drums, Bass, Slide Guitar, Lead Guitar, Solo Singing Rockabilly North Louisiana Country Girl by Kenny Bill
    Unaccompanied Solo Vocal sung in Spanish Isleño Décima St. Bernard Parish The Life of a Crab Fisherman by Irvan Perez
    Finger-Picked 12-String Guitar, Solo Vocal North Louisiana Blues North Louisiana Fannin Street by Leadbelly
    Fiddle, Lead & Backup Guitar, Upright Bass, Steel Guitar, Mandolin, Solo Vocal North Louisiana Country North Louisiana Wondering by Webb Pierce

    For music credits, see Streaming Audio and Video Clips on Louisiana Traditional Culture.

    To Prepare

    Familiarize yourself with the traditional music of the three major folk regions of the state. Review Unit IV Lesson 1. Listen to music online, researching Internet sites listed in Technology Connections. Also read some of the articles listed in Technology Connections above. You could focus on one region or genre or select a variety. For an overview read The Treasured Traditions of Louisiana Music. Select excerpts appropriate for your students to print. Talk with the school music teacher and librarian media specialist to determine what recordings, books, and equipment are available. The music teacher might want to work on an interdisciplinary lesson to allow students to play instruments from each of the three regions of the state or to sing a song from each region.


    4th and 8th Grade Activities

    1. Using the Key to Louisiana Music Resource Sheet, introduce students to different types of music in the three major folk regions of Louisiana. Distribute copies of the Resource Sheet, Pages 1 and 2, or show them to students on a projector. Play some excerpts of music from each part of the state from Louisiana Voices Traditional Music Examples Resource Sheet and discuss with students how these selections typify music of the region.

    2. Introduce students to the elements of music by distributing copies of the Musical Elements Chart and reviewing the definitions on Page 1. As a class, have students listen to "Let's Go Get 'Em" by Bo Dollis and Monk Boudreaux and "Wondering, Wondering" by Webb Pierce and put check marks by each element listed in the column below them, on the Musical Elements Chart Worksheet - Page 2, as they are heard or noticed.

    Then have students work as a class or in groups to choose two more music samples and complete the last two columns. Tell students to use their own words to fill in the blanks and describe what they hear, and to use descriptive words that are already part of their vocabulary to explain what they hear, such as "yelling, rocking, syrupy, whiney." Using words they know will help them to remember the sounds. Students will have difficulty describing what they hear, so working in a small group would benefit them. Choose appropriate music samples for the activity from those listed in the Louisiana Voices Traditional Music Examples Resource Sheet. Then conduct a whole-class discussion about what they think they heard. This exercise can be repeated with each individual example, and students may listen to each sample more than once.

    After completing and discussing the group work, have students complete the Musical Elements Chart Worksheet- Page 3.

    3. Ask students what genres, or types, of music they like to listen to. On the chalkboard or flipchart make a class Music Genres List. Their examples may include popular genres such as rap or rhythm & blues, traditional genres such as zydeco or gospel, and elite genres such as opera or symphonies. Then ask where they hear music and make a class Music Venues List. Again, venues will vary from car radio to religious services, football games to the playground, MP3 players to live concerts. Now students are ready to think about music in different parts of Louisiana. Using the Music Genres and Venues Worksheet ask students to identify which part of the state the musical genre comes from and some regional venues like dance halls, parades, festivals, fiddling contests, religious occasions, rites of passage, or rituals. Conduct a whole-class discussion to talk about the variety of answers, that will emerge and have students defend their answers. After the class discussion, break into groups and do a Venn Diagram to discover if certain traditional music genres have similar musical elements. Then identify the folk regions where this music might occur. After the Venn Diagram, make a mobile that compares and contrasts different music genres.

    4. Distribute copies of the Music Prove It Worksheet and work with students to fill in an example, using the Key to Louisiana Music Resource Sheet, a Venn Diagram, and the Musical Elements Chart. Have students discuss and defend one or two of their choices to the class.

    5. Students can perform a Music Web Quest on the Louisiana Folklife Photo Gallery website for specific instruments associated with the examples of music. Use the Subcategory "Music and Dance | Instruments."

    6. Have students visit the American Roots Music website, and click on "instruments and innovations" and the "songs and their artists" links. Also, visit River of Song and American Routes. Assign them to perform a scavenger hunt to find Louisiana musicians and read about the instruments they play. Create a poster that describes a musician and his or her instrument(s).

    7. Select a traditional song to compare versions, such as "Amazing Grace," "Jolie Blonde," "Goodnight, Irene," "You Are My Sunshine," or "When The Saints Go Marching In." Ask students to listen to the lyrics of the song you've selected. Ask them to pick their favorite verse and reflect on why it is their favorite: What does it remind them of? How does it make them feel? What message do they read into the verse? Have students share in small groups their reflections on their favorite verse. Afterward, they should write a personal narrative in journal format about their reflections or draw a picture about how the verse makes them feel.

    Play excerpts of different versions of the song you've selected, asking students to list differences (instruments, lyrics, or tempo, for example) and commonalities (tune, for example).

    Note: If you choose "Amazing Grace," discuss how many different ways "Amazing Grace" is used, its context, and how many groups identify this song as one of their "anthems". For more background information, watch the video "Amazing Grace with Bill Moyers" (see Unit VI Resources).


    4th Grade Explorations and Extensions

    1. Write a journal entry on which style of traditional Louisiana music you prefer. What instruments do you like? What kind of tempo and rhythm? What kind of lyrics? Write lyrics for a song in your favorite style. You might even make up a tune or set the lyrics to another tune in this style. Traditional musicians have borrowed tunes for centuries.

    2. Create a game of musical styles. For example, place markers on a large state map in response to spinning a wheel, naming styles associated with the three major folk regions of the state as they are played aloud.

    3. Use the list of music links in Technology Connections above to design your own scavenger hunt. You could share the scavenger hunt with another class, especially in schools with computer labs. The technology teacher could facilitate a friendly competition between classes. The skill that this would teach relates to research and evaluation of sources.


    8th Grade Explorations and Extensions

    1. Divide into groups and have each group choose one of the articles below to read. Teachers, if these are written above your students' reading ability, refer to Adaptation Strategies for ways to adapt and modify them to levels that your students can understand.

    Use the Found Poem - Found Song and Found Poem - Found Song, page 2 to jot down words and phrases that appeal to you, then use these words and phrases to create a Found Poem. Share your poems in each group. If possible, adapt the poems to a tune that was mentioned in the article, to create an original "Found Song."

    2. Working in pairs, interview each other about the styles of traditional Louisiana music that you prefer. Write a paragraph describing why your partner prefers a style and ask your partner if your description is accurate. Play recordings of your favorite styles for each other.

    3. Create a Music Web Quest to find sites related to different styles of Louisiana traditional music. Use copies of Music Web Quest Resource Sheet and Music Web Quest Record Sheet. You will need several to record essential information about each website in the appropriate blanks on the forms (Whose site is this? Is it public or private? What type of media is included--audio, video, text, photos?) and about the tradition (What traditions/cultural groups are represented? What musical styles are represented?). Then compare and contrast your sites with sites found by classmates and compile data in a chart, drawing conclusions about findings, such as which traditions or types of media are well represented on the Web, what genres or sites students like best. Or pick two music genres, research them further, and make a presentation to a group or the class using music to demonstrate your findings.

    Use the following websites that feature Louisiana music online:

    Expand this activity by using these additional websites featuring music from across the United States:
    • Alabama Center for Traditional Arts (audio) (Select Musics of Alabama, Shape-Note Singing, Shape Singing Convention, Alabama School of Gospel Music, Alabama Folkways Radio Series, Alabama Folkways Series) Features work songs and blues to spirituals and gospel, from fiddle tunes and lullabies to mariachi and polka.
    • The Blue Highway (Select Bluescasts for audio). Links to live and archived blues radio.
    • Crossroads of the Heart / Mississippi Music (audio) Features blues, gospel, fiddling, and Sacred Harp singing.
    • folkstreams.net (Select Subjects / Music) (video) Features entire video documentaries about traditional cultures with transcripts, notes, and some study guides. See the Educator's Portal.
    • Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns (Select Classroom for lesson plans and activities. Select Biographies for audio.) The first of ten episodes features New Orleans jazz. Website includes biographies, songs, instruments, and lessons.
    • Lady Sings the Blues (Lesson Plans) Interdisciplinary lesson using the book The Color Purple and blues artists.
    • Music from the Sunshine State / Florida Folklife Program (audio) 13-part radio series. Website features 30-second audio bytes of fiddling traditions: Mexican, old-time country, bluegrass, Pacific Island, sacred music, blues, Cuban, Caribbean.
    • Music Resources Center (video) (Select Music Traditions of the World) Features video clips from video documentaries on Cajun, Creole, Polish Americans, old-time fiddling, blues, and African-Americans Texans.
    • Résonance: Musical Heritage of La Francophonie (video) Virtual exhibit with audio/video of Francophone music and instruments worldwide.
    • Smithsonian Folkways (audio) Music to download for minimal cost from around the world.
    • Traditions in Washington State (audio)
    • Washington Folk Arts / Northwest Heritage Tours (audio) Five virtual tours through Washington State.
    • Wiregrass Ways Radio Program / South Georgia Folklife Project (audio) 13 five-minute radio programs on Georgia folk traditions. Music traditions include fiddling, Sacred Harp singing, gospel, auctioneering, hymn lining, hollering or yodeling, old-time country, bluegrass.
    • Wisconsin Folks (audio, video) Features music, dance, crafts, food, and occupational traditions. Music traditions include polka, Objibwe flute, gospel, and Hmong. Compare the accordion and music style of the Happy Notes, a Polish-American polka band from Stevens Point, WI, with Louisiana accordion music or see Joe Bee Xiong of Eau Claire, WI, demonstrate Hmong musical instruments.

    4. Survey different kinds of Louisiana traditional music and report on a topic. For example, you might compare and contrast two traditional musicians from the same region or from different regions of the state. Or choose one musical genre, research its roots, and make a timeline of cultural influences and changes in the genre, including when certain stylistic elements appeared. If you focus on Cajun music, Cajun Music: Alive and Well in Louisiana is a useful article that discusses the historical development of instruments driven by cultural influences in Cajun music. Teachers, use Adaptation Strategies to adapt this adult-oriented resource to your students' reading level, if necessary. If researching jazz, look for influences from the Caribbean, blues, and work songs. In North Louisiana, find roots in fiddle music and the old-time country string bands that evolved in the Upland South. As the year progresses, continue researching Louisiana traditional music and add examples to your timeline.

    Technology Option: Use a timeline software for this activity if you choose to make a Louisiana Music Timeline.

    5. Use the map of Ethnic Group Locales at Maps of Louisiana's Living Traditions to demonstrate how ethnically diverse the state is. Using printed material, Internet sources listed in Technology Connections above (as well as other sites that students find), radio, recordings, and online interviews, choose an ethnic group and research the traditional music of that group. Create a multimedia presentation that reports your findings.

    6. As you read literature and history throughout the year, note references to traditional music. Keep notebooks with a list of book titles and the music genres mentioned. Research some of these traditional genres in the school library and on the Internet and perhaps once a quarter share findings, including recordings if possible, individually or in teams. Also pay attention to references in television shows and commercials, radio, the Internet, and other pop culture sources.

    7. Perform a skit in which each student assumes the identity of a Louisiana musician and come together for conversation. You'll need to know the biography of each musician and their musical skills. You could use one of the 35 musicians featured on Louisiana's Legendary Musicians: A Select List.

    8. Listen to the lyrics of a song that comes from a culture that is different from yours. What do the lyrics tell you about the culture it comes from? Contrast the culture with your own, using a Venn Diagram. Write an additional verse to the song, but make it reflect your own culture.

    9. Use the Jazz in the Schools lesson one on the Advent of Jazz to explore jazz in New Orleans.


    Unit VI Resources

    Unit VI Outline


    National Endowment for
            the Arts.

    Folklife in Louisiana Home | Living Traditions Home | Louisiana Voices Educator's Guide
    Louisiana's Three Folk Regions | Folklife Program Introduction |
    Planning and Funding Folklife Projects | Opportunities for Professional Development
    Links | Credits | Contact Us/Link to Us
    Louisiana Division of the Arts | Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism
    © 1999-2003 Louisiana Division of the Arts,
    PO Box 44247, Baton Rouge, LA 70804, tel 225-342-8180

    Questions about this site? Contact Maida Owens, folklife@crt.la.gov.