Kids ages 12 and up are invited to explore the roots of American music genres with this book as they investigate the social, political, and religious influences that have inspired and continue to inspire musicians. Activities and projects take it a step further engaging kids in hands-on explorations of the physics of sound vibrations, decibel levels, and acoustics. They can kick up their heels to the sound of the Charleston to explore torque or build their own djembe, fife, and bugle. Kids can also learn how to use vocal styling to improvise and use the rhythm of their bodies to create a beatbox. Encouraging readers to analyze lyrics' meanings and rhythms, the book also demonstrates how to use that analysis to write their own songs. From early Americans weaving in European traditions to African traditions influencing hymns and fold songs, the history of music in the United States is brought to life through projects and inquiry-based investigations.
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.