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Library Programs: Meet the Music Hero-Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie

For our third week of Meet the Music Hero, I wanted to introduce the kids to jazz. I first fell in love with jazz when I was around 8-years-old, so I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce this style of music to kids. Plus, Charlie Parker has some Missouri ties (he was born and lived in Kansas City) and there are many great picture books about these two, so Miss Pamela and I thought it would be a great storytime.

We started by dancing to some jazzy music and moving around the room. Then Miss Pamela gave some background about Charlie and Dizzy, what instruments they played, and how Kansas City was a place for jazz. She showed pictures of each musician to the kids as well and had them try to puff out their cheeks like Dizzy.

Then it was storytime. We used the book Bird and Diz by Ed Young.


After reading the book, we had the kids watch some videos of Charlie and Dizzy playing music. 

First up, a video of both of them playing (it was actually hard to find a clip of them playing together!):



Then, a great clip of Dizzy Gillespie playing on The Muppet Show:



Then it was time for our activity! This week we really combined art and music, which Miss Pamela and I loved. We gave the kids chalk and black construction paper. I told them to listen to the music and think about what the music made them imagine. Then we turned on the song Salt Peanuts and had the kids create whatever kind of picture they wanted while they listened to the music. When the song was done, everyone held up their pictures and we talked about how we all thought of different things and drew different pictures but listened to the same song.

Then we played some more music and let the kids create and draw.

Miss Pamela made a "Did You Know" fact wall about our musicians and we put out additional biographies about various jazz musicians for the kids to read.

This was one of our biggest turn outs for our Meet the Music Hero program-we had 28 kids! I'm not sure if it was the theme or just good timing on our part (the department was very busy!) but about half the kids were repeat attendees from previous weeks which was nice to see. I loved being able to combine music and art for this week.


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