1. What does the Billboard’s best selling list suggest about the popularity of Big Bands in American popular culture during the early 1940’s?
2. Regarding Benny Goodman’s band playing “Sing, Sing, Sing,” what do you think might have been some of the challenges of managing a band of this size?
3. Regarding the clip, “Washington in Wartime,” why are the people riding bicycles described as “setting a patriotic example to citizens everywhere”?
4. How might the idea of personal sacrifice help to bring citizens together during wartime?
5. Return to the photo of the Benny Goodman Orchestra from 1937. How might rations on rubber tires, gasoline, and other travel restrictions due to the war have affected the touring schedule of a band of this size?
6. With so many Americans in the service, in what ways do you think civilian life changed at home? Consider family life, jobs for women and minorities, entertainment, spending, etc.
7. How would the culture of rationing have affected the audience’s participation in live music performances, and how would that have affected the bands?
8. How might the military build-up have affected the ability of civilian bandleaders to hire and retain musicians? How do you think this might have affected the size of Big Bands during the war?
9. What kind of statement does it make when the best selling artist of his era (Glenn Miller) decides to change the course of his career to join the military?
10. How might Glenn Miller’s music have served a different purpose for an audience of soldiers stationed thousands of miles from their homes than it served for civilian audiences?
11. What are some ways that the musicians strike both intentionally and unintentionally affected popular music culture in the U.S.?
12. Why did vocalists experience a rise in popularity during the strike?
13. What factors led towards the rise in popularity of African-American and traditional Folk-rooted genres? Why do you think small combos that played these genres had a new advantage over the Big Bands?