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The Blues - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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The PBS series on "The Blues" combines history and musicology in a reverential treatment of this uniquely American musical form. The site includes biographies, some good analysis of...more
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The PBS series on "The Blues" combines history and musicology in a reverential treatment of this uniquely American musical form. The site includes biographies, some good analysis of the musical theory and compositional form behind the blues, and samples of blues songs that are in the public domain. While you probably cannot make an entire unit out of this one, it would be a neat addition to a unit on African American culture, American music, or the history of the twentieth century.Though the video clips and music require Flash, there is a lot of information to learn from this site, and it has links to other sites about the blues.

tag(s): africa (138), african american (111), blues (22), harlem (8), jazz (17)

In the Classroom

A true American art form, "the Blues," makes a great interdisciplinary study, and this site's lesson plans provide a well-researched foundation for that study. Our only regret is that sites on this subject so rarely include sound files for the music they're describing. You and your students could explore the Blues music offered at Perfect Blues: 1920s, 30s and 40s Vintage Blues; Duke Ellington; Leadbelly, reviewed here. There are still the biographies and resources list available on this PBS site. Enhance student learning by having students select a blues musician to complete a brief biography on, using the list provided on this site as a starting point. There is plenty of information, and students with little inspiration are sure to find someone of interest here. Enhance learning by having students share what they learn using Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here, an easy to use free tool for creating infographics using pre-designed templates or by starting from scratch.

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