Louis' Education Kit

"Louis Armstrong was jazz's first great soloist and its most important and influential figure in the first half of the 20th century." -David N. Baker, Artistic and Musical Director, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra

Cover of the education kit with a photo of Armstrong playing the trumpetThis engaging and stimulating kit, produced by the National Museum of American History, is a rich resource for teachers and libraries, and lends itself to appreciating Louis Armstrong and his contribution to the development of jazz. The curriculum outlines Armstrong's life from New Orleans Beginning: 1901-1922, On to Chicago: 1923-1924, New York Introduction: 1924-1925, Innovative Trumpeter: 1925-1929, Memorable Singer: 1929-1949, and Ambassador "Satch", Superb Entertainer: 1950-1971.

The 88-page curriculum contains introductory essays for teachers, time lines of Louis Armstrong's life, lesson plans, and accompanying clips for guided listening exercises, a discography, filmography, and selected bibliography. The lesson plans incorporate the National Standards in Arts Education and U.S. History. The accompanying music clips include historic selections that help illuminate the development of early jazz and various phases of Armstrong's life; they include Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag, Oh, Didn't He Ramble, Dipper Mouth Blues, Cake Walking Babies from Home, Struttin' with Some Barbecue, West End Blues, Star Dust, Mack the Knife, I Got Plenty o'Nuttin' and What a Wonderful World.

Download the Curriculum Guide

These documents are in PDF format.

Table of Contents


The Man & His Life

Act 1: New Orleans Beginning: 1901-1902


Act 2: On to Chicago: 1922–1924


Act 3: New York Introduction: 1924–1925


Act 4: Innovative Trumpeter: 1925–1929


Act 5: Memorable Singer: 1929–1949


Act 6: Ambassador Satch, Superb Entertainer: 1950–1971



Appendixes: Jazz Trumpet Legacy Chart, Timelines

Photo Gallery

Bibliography, Discography, Filmography, Additional Resources

Note: Please contact us at jazz@si.edu for a physical copy of this education kit along with its accompanying CD.


Written by Luvenia A. George, Ph.D. and David N. Baker, Artistic and Musical Director, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Produced by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, orchestra in residence at the National Museum of American History, Behring Center.

More Resources:
Visit the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and the Armstrong Music Class to learn more about Armstrong, other jazz masters, and related educational materials. Please also visit www.satchmo.net for more information about Louis Armstrong.