Blues In Schools

Keeping the Blues Alive

What is Blues in the Schools?

Blues in the Schools is a program, in partnership with Fernando Jones, to bring musical education to schoolchildren. Our goals are:

  • To keep Blues music alive and vibrant 
  • To teach children musical skills
  • To teach children the historical importance of Blues
  • To stimulate future generations to play Blues

Why Have Blues in the Schools?

Blues is an original American art form that gave rise to jazz, country, R & B and rock ‘n’ roll. It developed after the Civil War and drew on wide ranging influences from church music to folk and popular music. Blues was the authentic voice of African American people, who sang about their pain, sorrows, and every day struggles. Chicago Blues flourished in the 1940’s and 50’s in neighborhoods that were packed with night clubs and home to blues men. 

As the landscape changed and music became commoditized, clubs closed, radio stations stopped playing blues, and our children lost the connection to a great art form. Kids no longer have access to the blues; they no longer have informal teachers they can learn from. We seek to change that by bringing blues into schools and teaching kids, not only the history of the blues, but how to keep the blues alive for the generations to come. 

What Do You Actually do?

We interact with children in an informal participatory setting. After introducing ourselves and our instruments, we talk about the history of Blues, our own experience with Blues, and then we actually play Blues. Our goal is to introduce Blues to kids but also to stimulate musical education, intellectual curiosity, history, sociology, critical thinking, and discipline. We seek to foster self esteem through a sense of accomplishment – and most of all we want to make it fun for your kids or students. 

If you would like us to visit your child’s school please send us your contact information.

What types of programs are available?

There is no nationally prescribed curriculum. Instead we work with schools and teachers, shaping the program in the direction that they want to go, whether its incorporating sociology, history, or creative self-expression. 

Budget cuts to schools have seriously undercut music programs since 1997, so that generations of children are missing out developing their creative potential. Monies are funneled into math, science, sports, and language programs. However, as we undercut our arts programs, we also undercut our childrens’ full development. Music education has been scientifically shown to boost cognitive, linguistic and motor development, while giving rise to unique voices and perspectives.

Who do you partner with?

We partner with Fernando Jones and Blues Kids, and Chicago Blues All-Stars to bring Blues to schools. 

How Can I help?

Please donate. Your donations are critically important to keeping the Blues alive. If we don’t educate our young people and instill in them a love of  Blues, the Blues will end up being simply a tourist attraction played in commercial venues that have no real connection to the community.  Your donation will mean the world to children whose horizons will be opened by being exposed to America’s first, and most original, art form. 

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