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Year 2 Music

music owl

Improvising

the zuits from tulsa, oklahoma

Jazz is a type of music first created in America (if you don't know much about it, see the Jazz Music activity). There’s one big difference between jazz and most other music. If you sing 'Row, row, row your boat', you don’t change the words or the tune. But every time a jazz musician plays a song, it comes out a little different. Different jazz musicians can play the same songs in different ways. A jazz musician may start with a familiar tune, but then he or she changes the tune while playing it, so that it sounds a little different every time. When you make something up as you go along, you are improvising. When jazz musicians play, they improvise. Can you imagine how you could improvise on a familiar song? You might start out singing something you know, like this:

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

Now sing it again, but have fun by changing the words and the tune. As you improvise, your words might come out something like this (you'll have to imagine your own tune!):

Row, row, row-ba-doh-ba-doh,
Row my little puddle-paddle boat.
Row so merrily, be-bop-a-bearily,
Down the ice cream peanut-butter dreamy stream!

Now try your own improvising!

The colourful jazz musicians in the photo are part of a jazz band called 'The Zuits', and they play in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They have a lot of fun improvising and playing brilliant jazz music. Jazz musicians not only play in America but also all over the world!

One famous English jazz musician was Humphrey Lyttelton, who played jazz sometimes with the famous jazz musician Louis Armstrong from America.

This activity is adapted from pages 217 - 218 of What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.

Click below to see the related activity:

music owl