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Amanda Shaw

Amanda Shaw (born 1990) grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana, and began classical violin training at the age of four, adding Cajun fiddling to her repertoire at eight. She released her first album, Little Black Dog, in 2001 at the age of 11. Five albums later, she regularly performs in and around New Orleans and the Northshore with her band, The Cute Guys, and appears annually at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In addition to her musical work, Shaw sometimes acts and works as a voice-over artist, most notably in the 2006 documentary Hurricane on the Bayou, which looked at the South Louisiana wetlands before and after Hurricane Katrina.

VIDEO
Amanda Shaw: Starting from Scratch
58 seconds
This short video, Amanda Shaw: Starting from Scratch, can be used as a point of entry for students in a variety of K-12 classroom settings. Use the below activities to kick off your study of Northshore native Amanda Shaw.

Activity 1
Before watching the short video, Amanda Shaw: Starting from Scratch, lead students in a brief discussion about professional artists.

Discussion Questions
What kinds of jobs do artists do? Have you ever thought about being an artist?
What does it mean to be a professional artist? Do you know any professional artists?
Can you think of any well-known or famous artists? What about artists who are not yet adults or artists who started out as kids?

Activity 2
Introduce Amanda Shaw using the brief biography included above. Watch the short video Amanda Shaw: Starting from Scratch and lead students in a discussion about the decisions artists’ face when shaping their work.

Discussion Questions
What do you think Shaw means when she says, “I just started from scratch”?
As a musician who began performing very young—she released her first album at age 11—what kinds of pressures do you think Shaw faced as she grew older?
Do you think it’s important that musicians and other artists control their own work? Why or why not?

Video Discussions Curricular Alignment | Louisiana Arts Content Standards: D-HP-H4; M-HP-E4; M-HP-M4; M-HP-H4; TH-HP-E5; TH-HP-M5; TH-HP-H5; VA-HP-E5; VA-HP-M5; VA-HP-H5

LESSON PLAN
Amanda Shaw

Want to dive deeper into Amanda Shaw’s life and music? Download the Amanda Shaw Louisiana Musical Legends lesson plan.

Target Grade Level: 3rd Grade
Content Areas: Music / English Language Arts
Curricular Alignment: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.1
Louisiana Arts Content Standards: M-HP-E1; M-CE-E5

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About the Louisiana Musical Legends Project
The Louisiana Musical Legends project is the first in a series of “Aunt Dorothy’s Teacher Toolkits” developed by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities to showcase new and engaging tools for teaching core curriculum concepts through the lens of Louisiana’s culture. Made possible through the generous support of retired music teacher Dorothy Hanna in partnership with First Lady of Louisiana Donna Edwards and the nine regional Louisiana arts councils, each Louisiana Musical Legends unit includes a brief musician biography, an educator-created lesson plan, and an original musician-focused video—all designed for classroom use. Featured musicians hail from across the state and include Luther Gray and Bamboula 2000 (Greater New Orleans), Nellie Lutcher (Southwest Louisiana), Tony Joe White (Northeast Louisiana), Amanda Shaw (Northshore), Susan Aysen (Bayou Parishes), Kenny Neal (Greater Baton Rouge), Little Walter (Central Louisiana), Leadbelly (Northwest Louisiana), and Nathan Williams Jr. (Acadiana).

Louisiana Musical Legends