Title: Raggin' Jazzin' Rockin': A History of American Musical Instrument Makers
Author: Susan VanHecke
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
Concepts: innovation, invention, entrepreneurs, producers and consumers
Discussion Guide for Teachers: www.ragginjazzinrockin.com
Review: Just as technological innovations have brought an enormous range of machines, devices, and gadgets into our lives, innovations in the design and production of musical instruments have enriched the types and quality of sounds we enjoy hearing. Inventions and improvements of musical instruments served as seeds for the business success of several American-based entrepreneurs.
These entrepreneurs include Heinrich Steinway and his sons, creators of a tremendously successful piano company; William Ludwig, a maker of drums so renowned for quality that Ringo Starr from the Beatles had the Ludwig name painted in large letters across his drumhead; and Leo Fender, developer of one of the most popular electric guitars in history. These and other inventors of influential musical instruments had a keen understanding of how to produce new sounds and also how to grow their companies in changing economic times.
This historical picture book provides an informative account of the development of eight U.S.-based companies that produce musical instruments, beginning with the early days of the founding fathers. Short vignettes of popular musicians who helped make these instruments a household name help to liven up the narrative. Although all eight company founders are white men, the author does make a consistent attempt to emphasize the role of women and African Americans in running these companies and playing the instruments as they advanced in their own careers.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children