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Roaring Twenties Project

Topic 4: Jazz

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Significant societal changes happened in America between World War I and The Great Depression. This time period is referred to as the Roaring Twenties. After World War I, Americans were no longer focused strictly on world affairs. Instead they turned their attention to problems on the homefront.

The nation witnessed a failed "nobel experiment" along with the creation of an amendment providing more rights to women. Along with Constitutional change, Americans gained individual freedom and independence thanks to Henry Ford and mass production of the automobile. However, this rapid social change created fear in many Americans. The results were a national trial about teaching evolution in schools and racial conflict due to the Great Migration.

The Roaring Twenties was a time of great exuberance and fast-paced living. Americans were moving to the "big city" from their rural roots. They were also moving away from traditional morals and values and embracing a more scandalous, rambunctious way of living. These new attitudes made room for a host of changes that affected nearly all aspects of American life.

Popular music in the Roaring Twenties evolved right along with the American people. It was a time that gave birth to the blues, jazz, and the Broadway musical. Copious amounts of music were produced at this time, and today's music has its origins deeply rooted in music of the Twenties.

Please follow the link to read background information about the decade.

Please follow the link to read background information about the decade. Introduction to the 1920's


The Task

You need to find out about all kinds of music from the Roaring Twenties.(Note- You must first be logged into World Book Online through the virtual reference center.)
  • The Blues
  • Jazz
  • Broadway Music
  • Musical Comedy

The Process - Phase 1:

Music of the times
  1. What type of music became very popular in the 1920's
  2. Name three popular musicians of the times.
  3. What was the Cotton Club Orchestra?
  4. Why was Jazz music considered the Devil's music by some Americans?

1920's: Music

The Process - Phase 2:

  1. Log on to
  2. Create a radio station on Louis Armstrong
  3. Listen to several selections.
  4. Write a short essay (one page) about the music of Louis Armstrong. Give details about his music, and what you like or dislike about his style.

The Process - Phase 3:

Follow the link below.
PBS Jazz Biography
  1. Choose a jazz musician and read his or her biography.
  2. Answer the following general questions about this person.
    1. Who is this person?
    2. What is this person's claim to fame?
    3. How did this person contribute to the field of jazz?
    4. What obstacles did this person face as he or she became famous?
    5. How did this person overcome the obstacles he or she faced?
  3. Prepare a short narrative that you will present to the class about a musician from the era. At a minimum, it must contain the following elements:
    1. The musician's name, birthplace, dates of birth and death.
    2. Any particular style the musician performed in.
    3. One or more of the musician's best known works.
    4. Any distinguishing characteristics of the musician - for example, Cab Calloway was known for wearing a white tuxedo.
    5. A musical selection (either audio or video) from your musician.


Complete each question for this WebQuest using Microsoft Word. Your font must be Times New Roman size 12. Include the questions and your answers. Each answer must be the length of a short paragraph (5-6 sentences) and must contain facts and details.Turn in the answers for your individual grade by Friday January 7th. This will count as a test grade. You will now compose a Jazz piece. Your group must create a video of a performance of the Jazz piece you created. The video and mucical score will be turned in as your group project. Please keep your Jazz composition in the style of the 1920s.


This project is based on the original work from copyright 2004 all rights reserved. Latest update 11/20/12