Unit 1: Soul Music with Laiken

Melody will take us on a journey to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to meet our first singer, Laiken. Use SG6–8 to meet Laiken and prepare students to learn about soul music.

Genre Overview

Soul music derives from Rhythm and Blues (R&B), a form of African-American popular music that arose during the 1940s. R&B and soul are influenced by earlier genres of blues, gospel and jazz. Soul music became popular in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, and record labels such as Motown, based in Detroit, Michigan, and Stax, based in Memphis, Tennessee, produced records by best-selling artists such as Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, and Georgia native Ray Charles. Soul music was an important part of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, as many songs expressed pride in an African-American identity, and served as inspiration for those fighting for equal rights.

Soul music is performed in venues of all sizes. The audience at a soul concert is usually very interactive. Members of the audience will stand up, sing along, and dance throughout a concert. Prepare your students to dance and sing along with Laiken!


Meet Laiken Video

Teacher Resources



Additional Teaching Resources:

TeachRock.org contains dozens of lessons on the birth of rock and roll in America, including soul and R&B. The website also features video footage of important soul musicians in rock’s history.


PDF Downloads

SG6 ↓ Download File

SG7 ↓ Download File

SG8 ↓ Download File


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