Tag Archives: music

The Weekly Text, February 8, 2019

OK, for the second Friday of Black History Month 2019, here is a high-interest reading on seminal Hip-Hop group Public Enemy and the vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet that accompanies it.

Years ago, I set out to write a reading and writing unit on the History of Hip-Hop, starting from a pithy remark Chuck D made to characterize Hip-Hop, to wit that the musical genre in its manifestations was “CNN for Black people.” Even though the seriously alienated students in whose service I contrived this material took great interest in it, the principal of the school forbade me from teaching it. I have yet to revisit that material and take it further, as I have no reason to think any of the principals I’ve worked for since would have allowed me to present this high-interest, differentiated material.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Everyday Edit: Duke Ellington

Here is an Everyday Edit worksheet on Duke Ellington which Mark’s Text Terminal routes to your from the good people at Education World. That hyperlink will take you to a year’s worth of Everyday Edit worksheets–for free!–if you find them useful in your practice.

Miles Davis and Fusion Jazz

When I was in high school, one of the ways one exercised one’s will to power was to possess more, and deeper, cultural knowledge. This was particularly true of music. The more obscure and unlistenable prog-rock band and recordings one could find, the more social capital one possessed. I won’t bore you with the details of this; if I mentioned the names of some of these rock groups, you almost certainly wouldn’t know them. That’s how arcane this knowledge was and is, and how ephemeral and transient the music turned out to be.

That was never true, however, of one of the masterpiece albums a friend of mine played for me when I was about 16. Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew is simply a seminal album: it broke new ground, and still sounds fresh and innovative today. It also gave rise to a new genre of music–jazz fusion, or fusion jazz–depending on which word one wants modifying the other.

Here is a reading on Miles Davis’ invention of and contributions to fusion jazz with a vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet to accompany it. I’ve found students with even a modest interest in music find this material interesting.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Duke Ellington on Bebop

“Playing ‘bop’ is like Scrabble with all the vowels missing.”

 Excerpted from: Shapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Quoted in Look. 10 August 1954

Shakespeare’s 18th Sonnet

In response to a request from a student, I worked up this reading on Shakespeare’s 18th Sonnet and this vocabulary building and comprehension worksheet to accompany it.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Learning Support: The Muses

Here is a learning support on the 9 muses that I contrived to use with a unit on the History of Hip-Hop unit I began assembling in my second or third year of teaching. (OK, yes, I admit I don’t know what I was thinking here; let’s just say I was a neophyte teacher attempting to find a way to synthesize a broad of content into a high-interest unit that would attract highly alienated and challenging students in the South Bronx.)

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

This Is Spinal Tap

“A spoof documentary (1984) written by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner about an ageing British heavy metal band on a disastrous tour of the United States. The accuracy of this satire about the rock business fooled many people into thinking that Spinal Tap was a real rock group. The wheel turned full circle when the band actually conducted a US tour with their second album Break Like the Wind in the early 1990s.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.