The Vocal Blues: Created in the Deep South of the U.S.

Bring the sounds of the deep South vocal blues to the classroom with a Smithsonian Folkways lesson. In preparation, scholars listen to and count the 12 bar blues patterns in several works and identify the I, II, IV, and V chords as well as the AAB lyric form. Young musicians then write and perform their own 12-bar blues verses. 

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Instructional Ideas
  • Invite learners to perform their verses during a school-wide Black History Month celebration
  • Plan a lesson to properly examine the history of blues music before starting this lesson
Classroom Considerations
  • Prerequisites include general knowledge of the origin of the blues, the 12 bar form, and the vocal AAB form
  • The lesson focuses on the application of music more so the history of it
Pros
  • The richly detailed plan includes links to audio examples, copies of the lyrics from several songs, and a template for the AAB Blues verse
Cons
  • Information on how the blues originated comes from dated, one-sided material