American Music and History Course (NYC)

Daniel Glass, Course I:

Understanding History Through Music:
American Popular Music from the Civil War to the Present


Daniel’s home school students pay a visit to his regular Monday night gig
at New York’s legendary Birdland Jazz Club


New York City home school students!

Have a blast learning about American History and Pop Music with a master musician, author and educator.


Course Description

This course spans a full academic year and is broken into two halves (Fall and Spring semesters). Each semester is comprised of 8 2-hr sessions, totaling 16 hours of instruction (32 hrs for the entire year). Students may enroll in either semester individually or can complete both parts as a series.

Led by noted jazz musician, author and educator Daniel Glass, this course offers a fun and engaging way to discover American history through an understanding of the country’s popular music. Glass takes his students on a thrilling journey that spans more than 100 years, starting at the time of the Civil War (1865), and moving through the eras of ragtime, jazz, big band swing, bebop, rhythm and blues, rock’n’roll and into more modern styles like funk, metal and hip hop.

The course shows how American Popular Music evolved alongside important historical, economic and sociological events such as Slavery, Segregation, Prohibition, Immigration, the Great Depression, World War II, the rise of the teenager and more. One class period is dedicated entirely to American civics, and another to the Great American Songbook.

Each lecture incorporates video footage, photographs and graphics, as well as lively group discussions. The entire course is designed to fully engage students, and help them understand their world in a much broader context.

Optional writing assignments complement each class session.


Semester 1 (Fall)

Week 1: America in the time of the Civil War (1865-1880). Slavery, The Civil War, Reconstruction, military music, folk and other popular post-war styles, African-American musical origins.

Week 2: Reconstruction, Brass Bands, and Minstrelsy (1880-1900) Reconstruction, Homestead Act, post-war musical landscape, brass bands and John Philip Sousa, minstrelsy, birth of the blues.

Week 3: Vaudeville, Ragtime, Blues and Early Jazz (1900-1919). Vaudeville, Silent Films, Ragtime, jazz music and dance, Vernon and Irene Castle, WWI, James Reese Europe, Blues evolution.

Week 4: The Roaring Twenties (1919-1929). Flue Pandemic, Suffragettes, New Orleans and Early Jazz, Prohibition, spread of jazz to Chicago/NYC, Louis Armstrong, blues singers, Duke Ellington, Harlem Renaissance.

Week 5: Great American Songbook (1920s-1960s). Tin pan alley, songwriters and publishers, song forms, famous crooners and songbirds, the role of Hollywood.

Week 6: The Great Depression (1929-1939). Stock Market crash, economic impact, the “dust bowl,” rise of fascism internationally, FDR and the New Deal, Woody Guthrie, rise of radio, Hollywood responds to the Depression.

Week 7: World War II (1939-1945). Rise of the big bands, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, World War II (European/Pacific Theaters), Japanese Internment, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Savoy Ballroom dancers.

Week 8: Bebop Jazz (1942-1955). Roots of bebop: Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Segregation, jazz as a “conversation,” evolution of bebop jazz in Harlem, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, scat singing.

Praise for Daniel from parents and students …

Daniel … you have our heartfelt gratitude
for getting Isabelle excited about history again!
Angie P. (parent)


Daniel Glass is a walking encyclopedia of musical and historical knowledge. He makes history class interesting and easily relatable through his analysis of the music of each period. This guy is the best and I can’t wait for his next class!
Bryce Edwards (student)


Course Details: Fall, 2018

Cost: $330 for 8 2-hr. sessions (includes $30 contribution toward room rental).

Location: Epic Security Building, 2067 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (West side of Broadway between 71st and 72nd St.). Class happens in the “Carmen” Room (on the 5th Floor).

Ages: 13 and up (with some exceptions made for mature 12 year olds)

Class Size: Minimum of 7. Maximum of 12

Time: Wednesdays, 1:00 – 3:00pm

2018 Fall Semester Dates
– September: 12, 26
– October: 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
– November: 7, 21 (extra date in case of reschedule)

Semester 2 (Spring)

Week 1: American Civics: Three branches of government, the constitution, the bill of right, elections, separation of powers, checks and balances.

Week 2: Rhythm and Blues: The blues as an “oral tradition,” W.C. Handy, Gospel music, boogie woogie, shuffles, Louis Jordan, widespread success of rhythm and blues in post-war America.

Week 3: Country Music and Rockabilly: Roots of Country: Irish music, Bluegrass, Western, Nashville, instrumentation, Grand Ole’ Opry, Hank Williams, Sun Records, Sam Phillips, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash.

Week 4: The 1950s (Pt. 1): Post-war suburbia, car culture, the Cold War, Korean War, McCarthyism/blacklists, the Baby Boom generation, the rise of the teenager, R&B morphs into Rock’n’Roll, Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry.

Week 5: The 1950s, (Pt. 2): The rise of rock’n’roll and subsequenct backlash, Civil Rights, Martin Luther King, non-violent resistance, freedom rides, counterculture, the beatniks, evolution of jazz, folk music

Week 6: The 1960s (Pt. 1): JFK, Peace corps, the space program, Cuban Missile Crisis, The British Invasion, Civil Rights Act,  influence of the Beatles, Vietnam escalation, civil unrest.

Week 7: The 1960s (Pt. 2): Campus unrest, folk music, Bob Dylan, J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO, assassinations, soul music, James Brown, 1968 election, hippie movement, Woodstock Festival.

Week 8: The 1970s: Feminism, birth control, abortion, ERA, United Farm Workers, gay rights, environmental movement, moon landing, Nixon presidency, Watergate, energy crisis, glam rock, heavy metal, disco, punk rock.



Wanna know more about Daniel’s “unique and inclusive” teaching style? Check out the following videos …


Trailer from Daniel’s latest educational DVD:
From Ragtime to Rock:
An Introduction to 100 Years of American Popular Music

Here’s Daniel playing a cool

About Daniel Glass

Daniel Glass is an award-winning drummer, author, historian and educator. He is widely recognized as an authority on traditional American music styles. As a professional musician, Daniel has been a member of internationally acclaimed “retro-swing” band Royal Crown Revue for more than 20 years. He has also recorded and performed with many top artists, including Brian Setzer, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli and KISS front man Gene Simmons. Since 2010, Daniel has been the Monday night house drummer at New York’s legendary Birdland Jazz Club.

Daniel has published six books, 3 DVDs and dozens of articles dedicated to sharing the amazing story of our American musical heritage. His DVD “From Ragtime to Rock: An Introduction to 100 Years of American Popular Music” is a part of the music curriculum in dozens of Middle and High schools across the country.

Since 2003, Daniel has presented more than 300 clinics, master classes and seminars at various institutions, festivals and conferences worldwide. His goal? To show musicians and music lovers here in the 21st Century just how much they have in common with the past.

– You can learn more about Daniel at


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