Immersing Yourself in Creativity

Jeremy Jeanjacques and Jawansey Ramsey playing with the Young Traditional Brass Band in Black Men of Labor Social Aid and Pleasure Club’s annual second line parade. Photograph by Eric Waters.

Part Two of the curriculum is designed for music teachers who want to help their students connect their own learning experiences to others who have commited themselves to being musicians. However, Language Arts teachers can also use the lessons to develop criticial reading skills.


The lessons are based on different chapters in Talk That Music Talk where young people have conversations with their mentors about learning music and how the city embraces jazz in the cycles of life of its residents. As Bruce Barnes writes in the introduction, the conversations help to dispel, “the myth that music either ‘bubbles up from the street’ or you have to practice until your knuckles bleed and your sight reading is perfect.”


Musicians often wish they had more direct mentorship while they were coming of age. Many professional musicians expressed a desire to know not just the notes or technique of songs, but what it’s like to live a life as a musician. This section of the curriculum is designed to answer this call. The objectives of the lessons include creating a desire in young musicians to develop a love of practicing their instrument, reducing fears of “bad notes” and concerns about playing in bands or in front of audiences, exposing them to new genres of music from different eras, and increasing their active listening skills. However, these objectives are life lessons that any student can benefit from and thus can be open to all students around music appreciation.



Music and Language Arts teachers can use these lessons over the course of a few days, or use them throughout a school year as time permits. The lessons can also be done simultaneously with the posted interlinked lessons delivered by Social Studies teachers on Part I: Music and Social Change: Civil Rights and New Orleans Music. They can also be done alone.