Grades/Level: High School (9–12)
Subjects: Visual Arts, History–Social Science, Music
Time Required: 3–5–Part Lesson
Four 50-minute class periods plus independent work
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education Staff

Performing Arts in Art

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Glossary (RTF, 255KB)
Print and Web Resources (RTF, 247KB)
National and California State Standards (PDF, 827KB)

Lesson Overview

Students will learn about the jazz singer Billie Holiday and the sociohistorical context in which she performed. They will learn how discriminatory statutes (called Jim Crow laws) affected daily life. They will also analyze how movement is created in photographs and the effect of a photographer's point of view on composition. Finally, students will photograph a musician, paying attention to what can be communicated through point of view.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• understand how access to music has changed over time.
• research the significance of Billie Holiday and her music in American history.
• describe how Jim Crow laws affected daily life.
• analyze movement and point of view in photographs.
• consider point of view while photographing a musician in the middle of performing.


• Reproduction of Billie Holiday by Lisette Model
• Background Information and Questions for Teaching about the photograph
• Internet access or CD player
• CD or audio samples of Billie Holiday's music (see PBS Jazz Biographies: Billie Holiday)
• Images of contemporary popular musicians from magazines or downloaded from the Internet (from students)
• Digital cameras

Lesson Steps

Download the complete lesson by clicking on the "Download this lesson" icon above.

Glossary Terms:
Words in bold on these pages and in the lesson are defined in the glossary for this curriculum (see "Performing Arts in Art Contents" links above).

Billie Holiday / Model
Billie Holiday, Lisette Model, about 1954, © Estate of Lisette Model, courtesy Baudoin Lebon/Keitelman