The United States boasts a rich musical diversity. Colonial Americans integrated European traditions with new cultural influences to compose a unique musical identity. African traditions influenced hymns and folk songs that connected people to religion and to the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Patriotic tunes created unity in wartime. America's jazz, blues, rock, and hip-hop continue to evolve from their African-American origins. Music: Investigate the Evolution of American Sound invites kids ages 12 and up to explore the roots of American music genres as they investigate the social, political, and religious influences that inspire musicians. Activities encourage readers to inquire into the art and science of music. Readers can engage in a hands-on exploration of the physics of sound vibrations, decibel levels, and acoustics, or use vocal styling to improvise and discover the rhythm of their bodies to create a beatbox. Music encourages readers to analyze lyrics, their meanings, and rhythms, and then use that analysis to write their own songs. This title meets common core state standards in language arts for reading informational text and literary nonfiction and is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. Guided Reading Levels and Lexile measurements indicate grade level and text complexity.
Gr 5-8-This overview is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) advocate's delight. The book begins by discussing the science behind how humans hear music. The narrative then turns historical as readers are taken through the various stages of American music, beginning with the music of slave life, then the patriotic music of the 19th century, followed by the emergence of jazz, rock and roll, and hip-hop in the 20th century. The author skillfully connects the origins of Yankee Doodle to the social activism of Bob Dylan, offering a nuanced examination of the topic. Interspersed throughout the text are sidebars that include notable quotes and quick facts about various musicians and bands. Each chapter concludes with an "Inquire and Investigate" spread that encourages readers to engage in activities ranging from making their own wooden fife to warbling with wineglasses. The handful of fill-in-the-blank boxes makes this book less than ideal for library circulation. Cartoon illustrations are more decorative than informative; the glossary is extensive. Overall, this is an admirable synopsis of the multicultural history of American music.-Keith Klang, Port Washington Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.