A comprehensive approach to teaching the Blues in the music classroom

James Balagurchik

The purpose of this thesis is to provide music educators with suggestions of how to make the blues a part of their instruction and present this unique art form as a vibrant and ‘living’ genre critical to the understanding of our own American musical heritage. This thesis explores the music, history and culture, viewing ‘music as culture,’ and the African-American tradition whose contribution defines so much of our American music. It discusses the ways in which the blues can fit into a comprehensive and discipline -based approach to music education that satisfies the goals as set forth by the National Standards for Music Education and, in so doing, broaden educators’ pedagogical approach to teaching the blues. This discussion stresses the importance of creating a classroo m culture that parallels the way music is learned and practiced in the blues community, fostering an authentic understanding of the blues through singing, listening, movement, improvisation, composition, and, ultimately, performing. It is shown how a study  of the blues can provide our students with new practical possibilities and perspectives for experiencing and generating music.

A comprehensive approach to teaching the Blues in the music classroom

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