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Movie Mondays: America’s Music Journey

Post Author: Tracy Shirer

We have good news from our friends at MacGillivray Freeman Films. They have made some of their popular, educational films available for streaming so that our members and the community can access them from home. 

Today, we’re inviting you to view America’s Musical Journey, a 40-minute cross-country journey celebrating the unique diversity of America’s musical heritage. This entertaining and beautifully presented film features legendary artists from across the decades and will leave you feeling joyful. Support materials include an educator guide with lesson plans to support learning in the classroom or at home.

America’s Musical Journey

The title is also available on  Apple TV and GoUSA TV via Roku. 

40 minutes long, appropriate for all ages, Not Rated

Educator Guide & Lesson Plans

The Educator Guide developed to accompany the film empowers teachers to expand the integrated STEM learning experience into their classroom. The guide contains 10 humanities STEM lessons for Kindergarten through 8th grade. The lessons are designed to teach key language, social studies, and science standards using the STEM instructional techniques of experiential learning, investigative thinking, and model testing. The activities in the guide contain open-ended MAKE prompts for students to design artifacts, make predictions, and evaluate decisions. Click here to download the educator guide. 

About the Movie

Embark on an expedition that follows the beat of America’s trailblazing spirit into inspired creative territory. In MacGillivray Freeman’s America’s Musical Journey—narrated by legendary Academy Award®-winning actor Morgan Freeman and produced in association with Brand USA and global presenting sponsors Expedia, Inc. and Air Canada — chart-topping artist Aloe Blacc (“I Need a Dollar,” “Wake Me Up”) invites audiences to join him on a joyful, tune-filled, giant-screen tour of the nation’s most iconic music cities, diving into the special places and unique cultural diversity that gave birth to America’s celebrated musical heritage. In these cities, every chord, every riff, every bang of a drum tells a story. Reflecting the nation at every turn, these can be stories of survival or celebration, of love or heartache, of protest or coming together. Academy Award®-nominated director Greg MacGillivray twines all these to create a flash immersion into the soundtrack of the American experience – a soundtrack that showcases the national passion for cultural invention in its purest emotional form.

Blacc’s cross-country trek is a search for the answer to a persistent question: why did America, in a short span of time, become the cradle of such electrifying global art forms as jazz, blues, soul, country and rock and roll? He traces the roots by following the astonishing life of jazz great Louis Armstrong and the path of the Great Migration—the movement of millions of African Americans from the South to the North, East, and West at the beginning of the 20th Century. It’s a trail that takes him from one glittering cityscape to another. He roams from the squares of New Orleans to the streets of Chicago; from Detroit’s Hitsville to Nashville’s country music mecca; from Manhattan’s romance with jazz to Miami’s salsa fever. Along his route, he explores legacies and legends. He also meets one dynamic artist after another – from bandleader Jon Batiste to jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis to hip-hop dancer Pause Eddie to Latin singer

Gloria Estefan to teenage banjo-playing sensation Willow Osborne – all of whom are pushing creative boundaries today.

The result is a giant-screen experience that is driven as much by sound and spirit as the expected breathtaking imagery. At its heart is the idea that music can express what it means to be American – to be part of a constant, wildly inventive cultural exchange; to be bold and outspoken, yet to seek greater harmony. As director Greg MacGillivray puts it: “Our film is a physical journey but it’s equally a journey of the imagination.”


Tracy Shirer is the Director of Marketing & PR at the Connecticut Science Center. She is passionate about building a community of learners, educators, and supporters by providing fantastic experiences, lasting memories, and opportunities for access. She is a media expert and has worked in entertainment, sports, and destination marketing with top brands. A mom to a 9-year-old, she is invigorated and driven by the Science Center’s mission and the impact in our community.

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