As a music teacher, I (like many music teachers) take pride in training my students in a variety of musical styles to thoroughly develop their musical expertise. Yet we often fail to celebrate one of the most recognizable forms of American music still performed to this day: the blues. Our students know the blues when they hear it and some have even grown up with it. Within the plethora of musical styles that must be mastered and taught in the public school system, this essential genre often falls to the bottom of the priorities list.
Ken Harris and the Boise Blues Society were there to help. Through their Blues in the Schools program, they arranged for a custom-selected blues band to perform for my students, including specialized instrumentation so that each student would have a professional to collaborate with. Their presentations and activities for each class were individualized based upon students’ level of mastery and included a variety of content matter from historical context to musical theory. My students were encouraged to stand up and join in with the performers and it was a great moment when some of my shyest students came out of their shell to play or sing their solo. Whether you have a thriving program with hundreds of students or a K-12 music class at a rural school, the Blues in the Schools program will captivate your students and have them humming the blues for weeks to come.
Director of Music – Canyon Springs HS (Caldwell)