<< Blues Classroom
This guide includes two essays, "What Is the Blues?" and "Understanding the 12-Bar Blues."
Distributing these readings prior to embarking on the lesson activities will give students a good
introduction to the blues. In addition, an extensive blues glossary appears at the end of this guide.
Definitions of common blues terms used in the films and in the lessons are provided here.
The lessons in this guide, designed to complement the seven-film series, The Blues,
explore six central thematic strands. The first three strands are definitional in nature, seeking to
address the question, "What are the blues?" The second three strands broadly consider the question "What
are the meanings of the blues?" and are meant to delve deeper into the contexts and cultural meanings of
the blues. While the lessons in each discipline do build upon one another, individual teachers are
encouraged to use those lessons or lesson pieces that best complement their curricular goals. Teachers
seeking an interdisciplinary approach can incorporate social studies, English, and music activities within
the same thematic strand.