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AmPopMusic Features for Teachers

Study Units

With nine separate Study Units, AmPopMusic offers a survey of the essential musical genres which make up the collective called “American popular music”. The study begins with a look at the elements and concepts needed to understand what music is, and how it’s put together. Though the Study Units can be separated as independent, stand-alone units, they are presented in a suggested order for continuity. Beginning with the ideas, persons, and styles which predate each of the remaining eight genres, the evolution of the style is examined, taking each through decades of sub-styles, concepts, musicians, arriving at the contemporary idioms we hear today.
AmPopMusic Study Unit Thumbnails

Quizzes & Tests

Over 150 different quizzes, practice tests, puzzles, and evaluative activities help students to review reading materials, musical concepts, time periods, musicians, and characteristics of musical genres. Spread throughout the Study Units, as well as in the dedicated Testing Library, these tools help to determine how well students are grasping facts and concepts and what needs to be reviewed in order to achieve the foundation for academic and standard success.

Quiz screenshots

Gradebook & ReportCard

Monitor your students’ progress on Study Unit reading and testing by checking in with the Gradebook, which breaks down students’ progress by Study Units. So, you can go to the Jazz, Rap, or Blues Study Unit section of the Gradebook and see what kind of progress your students are making.

From the student’s perspective, they can see where they have completed chapters and topics, what quizzes they have taken, (and perhaps need to retake!)

Overall scores are pulled together for each of the Study Units used in your class.

Gradebook and Reportcard screenshot

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans are set up with key points for lectures, suggested video and audio musical examples, and discussion ideas. Other suggested activities such as worksheets, study questions, chapter readings, and “exit ticket” ideas.

Essential Questions and Learning Goals are also included, with lesson plans extending over one to three class periods. Whether you want one lesson, a whole series, or the entire Study Unit, these Lesson Plans lay the perfect foundation for your study of American popular music history. 

AmPopMusic Lesson Plans

Using AmPopMusic Notes

Throughout all the Study Units, with all chapters and topics, students can make personal observations and notes regarding what they read, hear, and see. These “notes” can be as simple as couple of phrases or summaries, or as long as a full 1,000 word essay. 

  • Notes can be:
        • saved, reviewed, edited
        • downloaded and printed. 

Students’ notes will be viewable by their teacher whenever they log on.

Notepad for AmPopMusic students

3 Important Things in 30 Seconds

Over 80 video summaries for Study Unit Chapters give a 30 second “quick look” at three of the important concepts to look for in each chapter. These videos are meant to give a framework of which crucial concepts a student should be looking for while they read through the Study Unit’s chapter.

Private Sessions

Looking to send a note to a student about an upcoming assignment, quiz, lecture, or class activity?

With “Private Sessions”, you can select the student’s name, choose a Thread Title, then send a message, complete with a variety of attachments: documents, links, pictures – all can be sent via a Private Session with your student.

Private Sessions Screenshot

Audio/Video Room

The ability to hear and view the music being performed and, at times, discussed, is an invaluable part of learning about American popular music history. AmPopMusic has researched, organized, and linked over 800 (now over 1,100) audio and video performances. Through these, students can connect names, instruments, concepts, genres and their characteristics, timelines, and the effects of music on American culture over the past century and a half. As teachers have known for centuries, to listen, and to see, is an essential part of learning about music history.

Lecture Presentations

Visuals to support your in-class lectures, or guided presentations for Study Units are helpful for students to get a broader overview of where a musical genre has come from, how its evolved, and where it may be headed. 

AmPopMusic provides Lecture Presentations for Study Units – for use by students OR teachers – in or out of class. Assigned viewing in preparation for an upcoming lecture is another way these Lecture Presentations have been used by music teachers.

Study Qs

Available throughout AmPopMusic are chapter worksheets which can be downloaded, completed, and submitted either as a pdf or printed for submitting in-class environment. The worksheets call for “Important Terms & Names” from the chapter as well as questions drawn from material contained in the Study Unit chapter reading material.

Have a closer look at AmPopMusic’s Study Qs
and download some samples.


Study Qs??
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Study Units

An Overview

Ch. 1: Understanding Pitch

Ch. 2: Understanding Musical Pulse

Ch. 3: Understanding Volume

Ch. 4: Understanding Tone

Ch. 5: Understanding Melody

Ch. 6: Understanding Harmony

Ch. 7: Understanding Rhythm

Ch. 8: Understanding Bass

Ch. 9: Understanding Countermelody

Ch. 10: Understanding Structure

Ch. 11: Understanding Instrumentation

Ch. 12: Understanding Tempo

An Overview

Ch. 1: 19th Century: Pre-Foster

Ch. 2: Folk Music by the People

Ch. 3: Popular Music in its Infancy

Ch. 4: Stephen Foster – “Father of American Popular Music”

Ch. 5: The Importance of Stephen Foster

Ch. 6: Scott Joplin – “King of Ragtime”

Ch. 7: The Player Piano – Automated Music

Ch. 8: John Philip Sousa – “The March King”

Ch. 9: John Philip Sousa – Recording Artist and Activist

An Overview

Ch. 1: John Lomax – Recording American Roots Music

Ch. 2: Woody Guthrie – “Father of Modern American Folk Music”

Ch. 3: Leadbelly & Pete Seeger: End of the First Wave

Ch. 4: The Kingston Trio – Beginning of the Second Wave

Ch. 5: Joan Baez – “First Lady of Folk Music”

Ch. 6: Peter, Paul & Mary – Balancing the Message

Ch. 7: Robert Zimmerman – The Beginning of an American Icon

Ch. 8: Dylan in New York City

Ch. 9: Dylan after Newport

Ch. 10: The Importance of Dylan

Ch. 11: Folk Music in the 21st Century

An Overview

Ch. 1: The Roots of Country

Ch. 2: Bristol Beginnings

Ch. 3: The Grand Ole Opry

Ch. 4: Cowboys and the Movies

Ch. 5: Western Swing

Ch. 6: Bluegrass: Hillbilly on Caffeine

Ch. 7: Honky-tonk: Merging Two into One

Ch. 8: The Nashville Sound: Country-Pop

Ch. 9: Rockabilly – Country meets R&B

Ch. 10: Country Feminists Find Their Voice

Ch. 11: The Bakersfield Sound

Ch. 12: Austin “Outlaw” Country

Ch. 13: Neo-Traditionalists at the end of the 20th Century

Ch. 14: Mainstreaming Country in the ‘90s

Ch. 15: Redesigning Country in the 21st Century

An Overview

Ch. 1: What is Jazz?

Ch. 2: Before It Was Jazz

Ch. 3: Jazz is Born!

Ch. 4: Early Jazz Musicians

Ch. 5: Louis Armstrong

Ch. 6: Chicago and Harlem – Hub of 1920s Jazz

Ch. 7: Big Band – Jazz Swing!

Ch. 8: Big Band Musicians and Singers

Ch. 9: Jump Blues and Bop

Ch. 10: Cool Jazz

Ch. 11: Hard Bop

Ch. 12: Free Jazz – Breaking the Rules

Ch. 13: Fusion – The Jazz-Rock-Funk Experience

Ch. 14: Third Stream and World Jazz

Ch. 15: New Age & Smooth Jazz

Ch. 16: Summary – Jazz Lives!

An Overview

Ch. 1: Blues – The Granddaddy of American Popular Music

Ch. 2: Where Did the Blues Come From?

Ch. 3: What Are the Blues?

Ch. 4: How to Build the Blues

Ch. 5: Classic Blues – The Early Years

Ch. 6: Delta Blues – Authentic Beginnings

Ch. 7: Blues in the City – Migration and Power

Ch. 8: Blues in Britain – Redefining the Masters

Ch. 9: Contemporary Blues – Maturity and Respect

Ch. 10: The Relevancy of the Blues Today

Ch. 1: Timelines, Cultures & Technology

Ch. 2: Pre-Rock Influences

Ch. 3: Rock is Born!

Ch. 4: Rock is Named

Ch. 5: Doo-Wop

Ch. 6: Independent Record Labels

Ch. 7: Technology Shapes Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ch. 8: The Plan to Mainstream Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ch. 9: Payola – Rock ‘n’ Roll’s First Scandal

Ch. 1: Crafting Sound in the Studio/Producers and Hit Songs

Ch. 2: West Coast Sound: Beach, Surf, and Teens

Ch. 3: The British Invasion: Two Prongs – Pop & Blues

Ch. 4: Motown and the Development of a Black Pop-Rock Sound

Ch. 5: Soul Music: Gospel and R&B in the Deep South

Ch. 6: The Sounds of Bubble Gum Pop-Rock

Ch. 7: The Arrival of Folk-Rock

Ch. 8: Psychedelic Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ch. 9: Early Guitar Gods of Rock

Ch. 10: Rock Festivals: The Rise and Fall of Music, Peace, and Love

Ch. 11: Anti-Woodstock and Shock Rock Movements

Ch. 1: Technological Breakthroughs

Ch. 2: Electronic Dance Music

Ch. 3: Hip-Hop & Rap – An Introduction

Ch. 4: The Beginnings of Rap

Ch. 5: Old School Rap – Up From the Streets

Ch. 6: Rap’s Golden Age

Ch. 7: East Coast – Political Rap

Ch. 8: West Coast – Gangsta Rap

Ch. 9: The Fragmentation of Rap – Pop, Party & More

Ch. 10: Further Fragmentation – Different Directions

Ch. 11: The Importance of Rap

Ch. 1: Musical Stage Productions in America before the 1800s

Ch. 2: Minstrel Shows and Melodramas

Ch. 3: Stage Presentations in the Late 19th Century

Ch. 4: Early 20th Century: Revues and Operettas

Ch. 5: The Arrival of the Modern American Musical

Ch. 6: Great Partnerships in Book-Musicals

Ch. 7: Musical Theatre Composers in the mid-Century

Ch. 8: Fresh Voices on the Stage in the 1960s

Ch. 9: Two Dominant Forces at the End of the Century

Ch. 10: New Voices at the End of the Century

Ch. 11: New Voices, New Sounds in the New Century

Ch. 12: Musical Theatre Glossary

Ch. 13: Is it “Theatre” or “Theater”?

Study Units also have “Playdecks” – containing hundreds of chronologically organized audio examples of music in the study units, and “Study Qs” for unit chapters.

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