Teaching Roster

Elam McKnight

Contact Name: Jason Turner

Email: Click to email

Phone: 731-487-8623

Travel Regions:
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Populations/Areas of Interest:
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Virtual Programming:

Website:
http://bigblackhand.com

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Elam McKnight is a singer/songwriter from West Tennessee. He is an artist firmly based in the roots of his region. McKnight was surrounded by country, blues, rockabilly, and southern gospel. “I come from what many would term America’s Musical Crossroads. The Blues guys from my area predate many of the ones people call the originators. Music is just everywhere” explains McKnight.
McKnight’s solo debut, 2003’s Braid My Hair, was hailed by critics as a breath of fresh air. His second album, 2005’s The Last Country Store, found a spot on many blues charts worldwide. McKnight’s 2007’s Supa Good earned notoriety when the opening track, “Devil Minded Woman,” was voted by fans as the Best Blues Song in the Musician’s Atlas sponsored 7th Annual Independent Music Awards. In 2011 McKnight released Zombie Nation with Universal Music Group. The album featured the exceptional musicianship of Grammy award winning Tom Hambridge, and charted worldwide.
His latest effort, “Radio”, has also received airplay on radio worldwide and been critically acclaimed by DJs and critics. The album features his full band, the Elam McKnight Band. McKnight has toured America, Europe and shared the stage with many legendary performers from the Roots/ Blues Genre, including Jonny Lang, Little Milton, BB King, and many others.
McKnight is also a licensed educator with 14 years of educational experience. He has also worked directly with children in many settings before arriving at teaching, including children in custody, at risk through early intervention, and as an administrator in a mental health facility for children with dual diagnosis. This drives his desire to reach out to not only schools but under-served populations who truly need exposure to art. Currently he is a Middle School Social Studies teacher and continually makes music an integral part of his classroom milleu and learning environment.

Sample Programs Offered

Program Title: Tennessee Music Experience: Musical Jerusalem

Program Type: Arts Curriculum, Arts Appreciation

Program Description:

This program is a live performance which addresses and presents the following information in concepts throughout the performance:
1) The significant importance of the quad state region of Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama in the “creation” of American Music is without question.
(BBC Folk America)
2) a multimedia presentation including visual aids (video & images), sound recordings, and live performance of many of the songs that are culturally significant to the state of Tennessee and the world at large.
3) Utilizing a time line the lesson will take the class on a chronological journey through Tennessee deep musical heritage.
4) The students will gain an overall appreciation of the beginnings of Tennessee music and how it went through many metamorphoses to eventually become a force to the culture of the United States and the world at large.
5) The presentation will examine current artists and show how they are all linked to a deep musical heritage. And how the students themselves are linked to a deep musical heritage.

Lesson Plan Example: Download File

Program Title: Tennessee Musical Experience: Hound Dog

Program Type: Arts Curriculum, Arts Appreciation

Program Description:

This is a Live Performance which integrates the information below. The aim is to show the interconnections of American Music and how important Tennessee Music is and was in helping to formulate what is known as American Music. This is also an exploration into the roots of Elvis Presley.

Upon completion of this lesson, students will:

Know (knowledge):
Artists and producers who contributed to the success of “Hound Dog,” including Big Mama Thornton and Elvis Presley
How the mixing of black and white styles in “Hound Dog” demonstrated the ability of musicians to unsettle established ideas about race relations in segregated 1950s America
Be able to (skills):
Make connections between popular music culture and the social and political environments in which that music is created
Common Core: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences

Lesson Plan Example: Download File

Program Title: Tennessee Musical Experience: The Blues

Program Type: Arts Curriculum, Arts Appreciation

Program Description:

This lesson introduces students to the blues, one of the most distinctive and influential elements of African-American musical tradition. Students take a virtual field trip to Memphis, Tennessee, one of the prominent centers of blues activities, and explore the history of the blues in the work of W. C. Handy and a variety of country blues singers whose music preserves the folk origins of this unique American art form. This Lesson’s dominant feature is Live Musical Performance by either a smaller acoustic act or a full band.

Lesson Plan Example: Download File

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