Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

“Here will we sit and let the sounds of music creep in our ears…”

How do you connect Shakespeare with culture and history?

Those of us teaching Shakespeare to young people in the classroom are tasked with not only making learning interesting but also relevant. In observance of Black History Month, we want to pay tribute to the work of legendary jazz musician, Duke Ellington.

Ellington was a legendary musician whose career spanned fifty years. He composed many songs for the stage, screen and contemporary songbook. His is one of the most distinctive ensemble sounds in Western music He called his sound “American Music”.

Duke Ellington Such Sweet Thunder

In 1957, Ellington composed Such Sweet Thunder, a twelve part album that explores Shakespeare’s canon through jazz composition.

Try playing Such Sweet Thunder for your students: http://www.shakespeareinamericanlife.org/stage/music/thunder/dukeellington.cfm

What other tools can be used to engage students about Shakespeare?

Sheet music for Hamlet-Madness
Sheet music for Hamlet-Madness


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)