In this lesson, students will discover the Humphrey Brother family legacy. Students will learn the notable jazz standard, “Panama,” and perform as an ensemble.
- Describe the historical significance of the song, “Panama.”
- Analyze song form.
- Read music.
- Apply instrument techniques and strategies for learning a song.
- Perform collectively for an audience.
National Core Arts Standards
Music – Harmonizing Instruments – Anchor Standard 1 Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Music – Composition and Theory – Anchor Standard 3 Refine and complete artistic work.
Music – Composition and Theory – Anchor Standard 4 Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.
Common Core State Standards
ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Students should have familiarity with reading music. Teachers should read the Band Director Note: “Panama” – Flex Combo Arrangement prior to teaching the lesson.
- Reflect on the lasting impact of Willie, Earl, and Percy Humphrey’s dedication to preserving and influencing traditional New Orleans jazz. Show students the video, The Humphrey Brothers, to build background knowledge.
- Play “Panama” by Eureka Brass Band for students. Listen to the song and provide examples of Percy Humphrey and Eureka Brass Band’s continued recognition and influence in the jazz community.
- Tell students about the song “Panama.” Panama is part of the standard traditional New Orleans Jazz repertoire. Percy Humphrey led Eureka Brass Band from 1946-1975, and the song still shows strong influence among today’s generations of jazz musicians. Ask: Why do contemporary musicians and bands continue to play “Panama?” Why is it important to preserve music? How can music honor someone’s legacy?
- Review the Band Director Note: “Panama” – Flex Combo Arrangement. Tell students they are going to learn the melody of the song, “Panama.” Distribute the “Panama” Instrument Parts to students. Note: The Panama arrangement is for a sit-down traditional band, however band directors can use this set of parts/score to adapt to brass band.
- “Panama” Full Arrangement
- This arrangement is the full four-strain, ragtime-style form of “Panama,” with two solos and a shout chorus.
- “Panama” Abridged Version
- This arrangement is abridged to the final strain of the four-strain ragtime-style song, “Panama,” plus two solos and a shout chorus, in the same spirit as Louis Armstrong’s version.
- “Panama” Chord and Scale Improv
- “Panama” Full Arrangement
- Have students reference the instrument-specific parts to learn and memorize the chord progressions. Tell students that the song form for “Panama” is considered a rag, because it has many different moods and sections.
- Allow time for students to learn the song and put their own spin on the classic.
- Assess students’ knowledge of the song, “Panama.” Have students perform for an audience.
- Conclude the lesson with a reflection. Ask: Why is intergenerational teaching important?” How does music impact history, culture, and future generations?
Used with permission. Portions of this work are based on the National Core Arts Standards Copyright © 2015 National Coalition for Core Arts Standards/All Rights Reserved – Rights Administered by SEADAE.
© Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved.
Roderick Paulin, Curriculum Developer and Music Artist Liaison
Meghan Swartz, Music Artist Consultant
Mark Braud, Music Artist Consultant
JoDee Scissors, Editor and Content Producer