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Jazz, Little Burgundy: Life in music in a popular district

This summer, Radio-Canada launched an online documentary on the history of jazz in the Petite-Bourgogne neighborhood of Montreal. Many educational avenues on the subject are to be explored, at the crossroads of digital and media literacy.

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This summer, Radio-Canada launched an online documentary on the history of jazz in the Petite-Bourgogne neighborhood of Montreal. Many educational avenues on the subject are to be explored, at the crossroads of digital and media literacy.

If the Montreal Jazz Festival is considered one of the most important in the world, the notoriety of this city as a beacon of jazz dates back to before 1980. More particularly, it is in the Little Burgundy district that famous musicians such as Oscar Peterson, Oliver Jones, the Sealy Brothers, Nelson Symonds, Charlie Biddle, or Louis Metcalf lived or came to play.

It is to highlight this heritage that the digital documentary Jazz, Little Burgundy has been created. The interdisciplinary teaching guide which accompanies it offers activities that lead students to the crossroads of digital and media literacy, enables them to decode media critically as well as to be creators of media content.

The full documentary includes:

  • a free iPhone application that presents four walking tours in Little Burgundy, for a three-dimensional sound experience;
  • a digital book available for download from the iBook Store (9.99 $), in which photos of a period object tell fascinating stories;
  • a Educational guide of 5 units which is aimed particularly at secondary school teachers and is available free of charge;
  • a web documentary.

Not all are Montrealers and most will not be able to participate in the land tours offered to discover this neighborhood and its history firsthand. However, the educational set Jazz, Little Burgundy can enrich the content of several lessons. The context is mainly interdisciplinary, centered on project pedagogy and the active, intelligent and creative use of digital technologies available in most schools. It is difficult to choose which subject of study is privileged by the use of this educational package. Music is obviously at the center of the project. However, the study of the social environment which led to this explosion of musical creation, the evolution of this district, the promotion of marginal communities offers a rich potential for learning that goes far beyond musical culture.


Content of the educational guide

This guide offers five learning units and three reference sheets:

  • Unit I - A song in my head - Hymn to Freedom by Oscar Peterson presents black history in Canada and teaches students how to use digital historical data.
  • Unit II - Second look - Little Burgundy. Documentary photography will be used in a learning process by investigation.
  • Unit III - Reimagined Little Burgundy describes the urban fabric of this vibrant district between 1920 and 1955, the urban evolution in Little Burgundy and offers students the opportunity to be amateur city planners by reimagining this district. They could also transpose this project to their own neighborhood or village and perhaps even submit their proposals to the assembly of local elected officials.
  • Unit IV - Jazz Lab - Jazz at the service of the cinema encourages students to think about the importance of music as the soundtrack of a visual document and introduces the composers of Jazz Little Burgundy. It's time to explore apps like iMovie and Garage Band and edit with various soundtracks.
  • Unit V - Griots, Jazz and Hip-Hop

The reference sheet 1 guides the teacher who wishes to take an outing with his students in Little Burgundy for the optimal use of the iPhone / iPad application Jazz Little Burgundy.

The reference sheet 2 is an introduction to various practical digital tools, for music and sound recording, digital video and animation production, digital photos, digital mapping, website building and content creation tools .

The reference sheet 3 presents an interesting lexicon of several terms related either to the historical context, the musical context, the urban context or the digital context.

In the overview of each unit is an overview of the lessons, objectives, knowledge and skills to be mastered beforehand, a suggested timeline and a brief explanation of the possibilities of technological integration.


How to use it in the classroom

It is by looking at the fourteen capsules lasting about four minutes each which I recommend teachers tackle with this educational package. All in music, testimonies and images, the documentary will make you personally sufficiently aware of the context of life of this time and this environment to allow you to exploit with intelligence. the interdisciplinary teaching guide whose pedagogical approach promotes project-based learning.

To explore :

  • The historical importance of the song The hymn to freedom by Oscar Peterson, which became the anthem of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. In addition to raising students' awareness of this important social movement of the last century, this movement can also be compared to the Quiet Revolution in Quebec.
  • Media literacy is an essential skill to be developed in students. The educational guide proposes to create and publish the research results.
  • Interpret historic places and their history through photography. Such a skill will be easily transferred and used for the study of the history of various circles.
  • The dynamic town planning of our cities. What positive and / or negative roles do urban revitalization projects play? Most Quebec cities have been and are affected by urban decline and revitalization. Using map-making software, students could study their neighborhood and map their life story with the app. Zeemaps, for example.

Finally, several activities can be carried out as part of Black History Month, which is celebrated in February each year.

These are just a few of the many educational possibilities in this set. It's up to you to discover all its richness!

About the Author

Ninon Louise Lepage
Ninon Louise Lepage
Ninon Louise LePage is a pedagogue and museologist who recently came out of premature retirement to be reborn as an educational designation. She has taught at the Université du Québec à Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke in science education, in addition to working at the Canadian Heritage Information Network as a museology consultant. She also writes for our French friends at Ludomag. She also invites all interested to contact her so that she can talk about you, your students, your school and your particular experiences in digital and computer education.

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