About the Blues in the Schools Program:
The Boise Blues Society is a non-profit organization of blues music supporters that has been in existence for over 20 years in the Treasure Valley. Part of our mission to “promote and preserve blues music” includes providing blues musicians to give an introduction to blues music in a program entitled “Blues in the Schools” (B.I.T.S.). This program is part of our outreach efforts and is provided at no cost to the schools that participate. Over the years, the Boise Blues Society has conducted Blues In The Schools programs in Boise, Meridian, Idaho City and Mountain Home. We know in these times of tightened budgets it is often the arts that suffer the most. The Boise Blues Society would like to help bring a little music, and the lessons that go with it, back into the schools.
Blues is at the core of all modern American music. Except for Native American music, the blues is the first pure American music to have developed in this country. As blues musician and songwriter Willie Dixon says so succinctly: “Blues is the roots and everything else is the fruits.” It comes from the oral tradition of folk music and as such reflects the issues and feelings of the people playing and singing it. In this way it is the history of those who produced it. Through the blues, students can feel what happened in those times and through reflection and discussion can see how those lessons pertain today.
The program is flexible and can be tailored to the age of the students and the particular learning objective being addressed. For instance, in a music class we would spend more time talking about and playing the music. On the other hand, if the program were to be part of a social studies or history unit we would spend more time talking about the history of the music as we performed songs. In a literature unit we could discuss the poetry of lyrics and write verses to create a new blues song. The possibilities are numerous. We will work with the faculty to cater to their curriculum needs and the sophistication of the students. All programs are interactive to varying degrees.
If you would like your school to be involved just contact Ken Harris, president of the Boise Blues Society at 208-440-4590 and we will be happy to work with you to bring the blues to your students. We don’t require any special accommodations–blues musicians travel light and are used to working under all kinds of conditions!
“The Boise Blues Society offered a brilliant and soulful presentation at the Idaho Arts Charter School in Nampa, Idaho. Our students were so engaged, enthused, and deeply inspired. The Boise Blues Society’s event had a perfect combination of performance, Blues oriented music theory and historical context. I highly recommend their presentation for students of all ages! It’s an enriching experience!”
– David Gluck, Music teacher, Idaho Arts Charter School, Nampa, Idaho
Read additional testimonials from school staff and students.