Music appreciation is one of the many specials classes that all seventh-grade students participate in, alongside their core academic courses. The class studies contemporary American music history, tracing the evolution of different genres and the rise of notable artists from the 1950’s and onward, and how music intersected with social and political movements in the nation.
Manhattan Middle School Teacher Ms. Abramowitz’s students have been particularly inspired by the life and music of Muddy Waters, a six-time Grammy award winner who is considered one of the most important artists in American music history.
To learn about his background and story of perseverance in making his first blues record, the class listened to a read aloud of Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters. The biography was illustrated by Evan Turk, this year’s middle school visiting illustrator. Following the read aloud, Ms. Abramowitz reviewed the content of the book to reinforce reading comprehension.
The class listened to a few of Mr. Waters’ most famous songs, including “Honey Bee,” “Feel Like Going Home,” and “Baby, Please Don’t Go” so they could discuss the message of the lyrics and how the instruments echoed the immense emotion of the blues genre. Students were impressed to learn that many rock n’ roll artists such as Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Led Zepplin, The Rolling Stones, and AC/DC named Mr. Waters as one their greatest musical influences.