Skills Building: Trombone Shorty (PK - 5)

Unit 11 Book - Trombone Shorty

Written by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, illustrated by Bryan Collier 

Pre- Reading Questions 

  1. Perspective-taking is imagining yourself in someone else’s position and trying to feel how they might feel or react in a certain situation. Perspective-taking is strongly linked to empathy and is the skill you use when you “put yourself in someone else’s shoes.” 
  2. Imagine you love to play a musical instrument and you practice very hard all the time. You love to play music and want to share your music with the world. Then one day, you are asked up on stage by a very famous performer to play your instrument! 
    1. How would you feel in that situation? (Remember: you are imagining from the person described perspective and their brain not from your own.)
    2. Now imagine it was you as you are now, how would you feel about going up on stage to play? (hint: have staff say how they would feel.)
    3. Would everyone feel the same way? Why do some people feel one way and other people feel another way?

Post- Reading Questions

  1. In the story, we hear about how the artist, Trombone Shorty, got his nickname. Have you ever had a nickname? Put yourself in Trombone Shorty’s place, do you think he likes his nickname? 
  2. When Trombone Shorty goes back to New Orleans, he keeps his eyes out for younger musicians who he can help out. Imagine you are Trombone Shorty, why do you think he pays such close attention to the younger musicians? How would one of the younger musicians feel if Trombone Shorty learned about them? 
  3. Knowing what you’ve learned from the book, how do you think Trombone Shorty feels about his neighborhood? How would you feel if you were him?

Creative Enrichment Activity: Mixed Music Perspectives (PK - 5)

This activity is adapted from the Chicago Public Library.


In the book Trombone Shorty, the main character learns all about the new world of jazz music. He looks at the world from a variety of perspectives and these perspectives inspire his musical career! During this activity, students will be transported into the Jazz World of Trombone Shorty and use this inspiring music to draw out creations from various perspectives.  


  • White Computer Paper (one per person)
  • Markers, Crayons or Colored Pencils
  • Music Player 
  • Music

Duration30 minutes

  • 5 minutes: Explain Activity and Pass Out Supplies 
  • 10 minutes: Draw and Pass
  • 5 minutes: Clean Up
  • 5 minutes: Group Share 
  • 5 minutes: Reflect


  1. Before the activity, gather materials and get music set up and ready to go. You can use a laptop, phone or music player to play the Trombone Shorty Jazz Music. 
  2. Gather students together and discuss the importance of different perspectives. Explain the activity. 
  3. Pass out supplies and give each student a piece of white paper. Spread out markers, crayons, and colored pencils. 
  4. Have students write their name on the back of the paper.
  5. Play the music for 2 minutes. Have students draw what they feel or what the music reminds them of. These are mostly abstract representations. 
  6. Stop the music after 2 minutes and have students pass their paper to the right. 
  7. Continue playing the music for another two minutes and have students continue drawing their feelings on the new paper. 
  8. Stop the music after 2 minutes and pass again.
  9. Continue this process for 10 minutes. 
  10. Return papers back to the original person. 
  11. Clean up.
  12. Have students sit in small groups and share their new piece of art. Have them discuss the different perspectives that they see in each drawing. 
  13. Gather back together as a whole group after 5 minutes and reflect.

Reflection Questions

  • How did the music make you feel? What did it remind you of?
  • What perspectives did you find that were different from your own? 
  • What did you learn from this activity? 
  • Why is it important to think about and see other people’s perspectives?
Activity Sample