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Friday, August 31, 2007

Blues In Schools

A nice story from the Missourian, in Columbia Missouri about a blues in schools class taught by T J Wheeler. What is cool about the story is how the students are learning about the blues before he gets there, and even using skills that they have already learned to help them understand the blues. Here is a cool quote from the story:

Wheeler’s residency has not yet begun but his influence is already being felt at the school. Sisson’s classes, for example, have been learning a bit of blues history: that the blues rose out of a practice known as the “field holler” in which slaves on plantations would follow a call-and-response pattern of singing about religion, suffering and, more veiled, escaping.

Sisson said that because she is a traveling teacher without a room of her own, she lacks a piano and relies on a similar technique. “We echo-learn our songs all the time,” she said, “so we learn our songs much like the blues developed.”

“Grant teachers are excited about this opportunity and are talking about blues in their classrooms,” Borduin said.

I can relate to being a traveling teacher, and just think about trying to teach music without a piano! YIKES! I would think that she has the blues just trying to teach kids to sing without a keyboard!

I think these kids are going to have a great time, and it is good for the blues, that the kids hear it at an early age, and know what it is. They are more likely to keep listening to it as they get older. I have had a couple of kids that I taught 14 years ago who are in college who have emailed me to tell me they still like the blues. So it really does work, and it is fun to do!!

To read the article Click HERE.

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