Blues As Curriculum

Some of the blues topics can be approached in a variety of ways:

  1. General Blues History/Pedagogy (how are the various blues traditions taught, blues history etc)
  2. Aural/Listening Approaches
  3. Blues as Composition (discussions and presentations on the various blues styles, how they were reactions of culture etc.)
  4. Using technology (i.e. using Finales, Garage Band etc)
  5. Arranging blues songs (various arrangement styles used in country, city and urban blues)
  6. Recording Techniques (recording history, different types of recording available, significance of recording on blues style etc.)
  7. Blues Improvisation (improvisation techniques, difference of vocal versus instrumental improvisation)
  8. Rhythmic Studies (discussion of irregular and regular beat/pulse, role of the accompaniment instrument etc.)
  9. Performance Practice(typical instrumentation, stage deportment, stance, acknowledging the audience and performance expectations etc.)
  10. Performance (various approaches of performance styles, and demonstration of various styles)

This chart displays possible music curriculum objectives outlined within the study of the blues tradition.
In addition, it is part of best practice to run your course outlines through a set of guidelines to assist in furthering your course materials and for further content ideas.  The following outline is adapted from Brian Beatty’s 2006 article “Creating a Hybrid – Flexible (HyFlex) Course” which will hopefully stimulate more ideas for your program.

  • Identify learning goals (i.e. What do students need to learn or achieve?)
  • Develop instructional objective (i.e. What should the students be able to know, do, or demonstrate? What are the intended results of instruction?)
  • Create or gather content (i.e. What content aligns with the intended learning goals?)
  • Select instructional activities (i.e. What is done to facilitate learning?)
  • Create and communicate clear instructions (i.e. Convey expectations, provide clearly stated instructions and how and where is this information disseminated?)
  • Prepare learning supports (i.e. Instructional resources, class interactivity and technology)

Bloom taxonomy’s lower-order thinking (i.e. terms, definitions etc.) can be completed by simple skill and drill methods.  However, incorporating these components into active participatory sessions (i.e. through games, group competition, projects etc.) will permit additional higher-order thinking through increased behavourist teaching and learning theories which can result in better understanding of concepts in wider constructs. Interactive web-based tools for active learning include creation of wikis, web projects, flash files and simple movie programs.  Each of these ideas can facilitate a deeper comprehension and knowledge of the blues subject while incorporating additional learning skills that reinforce the subject through tactile, hands-on creation and development.
Further Reading on Bloom’s Taxonomy
Bloom’s taxonomy: Objectives and action verbs. Retrieved August 13, 2009 from’sTaxonomy.htm