VanHecke, Susan. 2011. RAGGIN’ JAZZIN’ ROCKIN’: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MAKERS. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. ISBN 9781590785744 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-12]
This excellent source will delight band students as it gives the history behind many of the famous names they see emblazoned on their instruments. Who knew that Zildjian cymbals were invented almost 400 years ago? Why are Conn brass instruments still considered of highest quality? How did Steinway and Hammond become synonymous with pianos and organs? Each chapter discusses the history of these and other instruments with a famous family name.
Music-lovers will appreciate the detail behind the instruments and the creators’ rising to fame, yet the layout makes this an accessible source for teens. Sidebars, multiple photos, and pages accented in neon green add to the book’s appeal. While the text reads like a story, much of the content is unique (a chapter on Moog electronic synthesizers hails to more modern instrumentation), appealing to young researchers as well.
Librarians don’t often make connections with music and band teachers, but this book provides the perfect opportunity to do so. Contact a music teacher in your community about holding a recital in the library. Ask these experts to talk about their favorite instruments, genres, and composers. Invite music students to report on research that they have conducted regarding music and provide a visual display of their work.
Other books for young adults about music history:
Ellis, Rex M. WITH A BANJO ON MY KNEE: A MUSICAL JOURNEY FROM SLAVERY TO FREEDOM. ISBN 9780531117477
Gourse, Leslie. DEEP DOWN IN MUSIC: THE ART OF THE GREAT JAZZ BASSISTS. ISBN
Hart, Mickey. SONGCATCHERS: IN SEARCH OF THE WORLD’S MUSIC. ISBN 9780792241072
Rubin, Susan Goldman. MUSIC WAS IT: YOUNG LEONARD BERNSTEIN. ISBN 9781580893442
By Rebecca S. McKee