NO/LA: The Roots of American Music (11-12)

New Orleans is home to some of the best and most influential musical artists in American history:  Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bichet, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Dr. John, Harry Connick Jr., and Branford, Wynton, Delfayo, and Ellis Marsalis, just to name a few.  What is it about this city that inspires music?  Is it just a coincidence that America’s national musical art form, jazz, got its start in this city, with its tightly-knit, racially segregated neighborhoods?  This class will offer a chance to explore these questions and more, by examining the intersection of jazz, race, and class in this unique city.  You will be challenged to listen critically to numerous musicians in a multitude of styles and genres; you’ll also meet musicians and engage them in discussions about the lineage and history of music. Together we will be pushing ourselves to discover the origins of musical elements that continue to be heard today.

During our trip to New Orleans, we will walk over 20 miles, see the historic Congo Square, visit neighborhoods like the Lower 9th ward,enjoy local cuisine reflective of the city’s diverse culture, and participate in a half-day bicycle ride through the city.  You will be required to demonstrate your bike riding skills before final confirmation in the class!  Students who enroll in this class should be prepared for a mentally and physically demanding experience; one that stretches your skills in listening and investigating cultural history using contemporary clues.  You will spend the second week of the program on campus, working on final projects to demonstrate your understanding of these musical and cultural elements.

Ben McIntosh and Ren Bell

Dates of travel: December 9-13, 2016
Travel fee: $900

Sample Day

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