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  1. #1

    Blues in the Schools Program

    I've continued this year old thread...because we "did it again" and better this time...

    A dozen kids at my middle school just finished a two week after school program titled Blues In The Schools. The artist is residence was Fruteland Jackson, guitarist, singer, educator. A local musician, Steve Pottmeyer, was brought in to teach harp. The kids spent two hours after school each day learning about the blues, playing guitar, harp, singing and writing songs. They even did internet research and wrote a book report on a blues musician.

    The Blues Jazz and Folk Society gets the kudos here for finding grant funding. We ended the BITS Program with an assembly in front of the student body in the afternoon and at the community college theater in the evening for public view. One of our teachers jumped in and played bass. A parent and local attorney played drums. Yup, I jumped in on guitar and we played four songs based in Open D (not Open G as initially thought). One of the songs was an original composition written by the students- "I Cried, Boo Hoo".

    The community, the student body and especially the players benefitted from the BITS Program. If you have an opportunity to support such an effort in your town, please do so. Some real magic occurred in Marietta, Ohio. It can happen with the youngsters in your town with the proper support and guidance!
    Last edited by Mark Doebrich; 03-12-07 at 08:35 PM. Reason: Second Year of Program

  2. #2

    Re: Blues in the Schools Program

    That sounds great, man!

    Some day this country will get it's priorites together and put some money back into the schools, so all students can have an opportunity to get turned on to the arts. Till then, programs like this are a great thing!

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member bluesjuke's Avatar
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    Re: Blues in the Schools Program

    I've read about this program & think it's great!
    This is part of the Blue Shoe Project if IIRC.

    Recently I talked with some others on the subject of reading music.
    I was surprised how many had no music training at all in school.
    When I attended we had what was called Music Class starting in the First Grade.
    They taught us time signatures, how the staff was structered, & different keys.

    Of course this was after we prayed & proudly recited the Pledge of Alligence.
    "Brings me the most special feeling I most ever had"

  4. #4

    Re: Blues in the Schools Program

    Thanks for the comments. Yes, we do need to set our priorities straight but it will take some time. The term "No Child Left Behind" is a boil on everyone's rear end. Fortunately we have music classes that every child takes through the 7th grade which teach the basics AND have pretty good teachers, that relate to kids, teaching the classes.

    BITS was great because it took music from just being appreciated at a distance to actually having students participate & perform! They really "learned" something.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Patrick Ginnaty's Avatar
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    Re: Blues in the Schools Program

    That sounds very cool!

  6. #6

    Re: Blues in the Schools Program - 2007

    The students at Marietta Middle School just completed another two week, artist is residence program with guitarist/singer/songwriter Fruteland Jackson and singer/songwriter/harmonica player Todd Burge.

    The local Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society wrote grants and secured donations of lodging and food for the teachers and received donations from our local music store (Third Street Music - David Martin).

    12 guitarists, 4 harmonica players, 3 singers from the student body. I sat in on harmonica and a staff member added to the vocals. Outstanding performances followed at our local community college and then again in front of 700 peers. We'll play again, without the mentors at the district's Fine Arts Festival and again in WV when they begin their BITS Program in April.

    Check it out folks. 11 - 15 year olds "on tour". See if your kid's school would be interested in such a program...and offer to make it happen in your hometown! Who ever said Jack Black had the corner on the "School of Rock"?

    Mark Doebrich

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Blues in the Schools Program

    Well Done
    Life Isn't a Destination. It's a Trip.
    Keep Your Hands and Feet inside the Ride.

  8. #8

    Re: Blues in the Schools Program

    Meg,

    Thanks for checking out the info. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in ourselves that we forget about those around us. Blues in the Schools made a difference in the audience and a dramatic impact in the performers. Hey, it made a difference to me too!

    Mark

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member phil47uk's Avatar
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    Re: Blues in the Schools Program

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Doebrich View Post
    I've continued this year old thread...because we "did it again" and better this time...

    A dozen kids at my middle school just finished a two week after school program titled Blues In The Schools. The artist is residence was Fruteland Jackson, guitarist, singer, educator. A local musician, Steve Pottmeyer, was brought in to teach harp. The kids spent two hours after school each day learning about the blues, playing guitar, harp, singing and writing songs. They even did internet research and wrote a book report on a blues musician.

    The Blues Jazz and Folk Society gets the kudos here for finding grant funding. We ended the BITS Program with an assembly in front of the student body in the afternoon and at the community college theater in the evening for public view. One of our teachers jumped in and played bass. A parent and local attorney played drums. Yup, I jumped in on guitar and we played four songs based in Open D (not Open G as initially thought). One of the songs was an original composition written by the students- "I Cried, Boo Hoo".

    The community, the student body and especially the players benefitted from the BITS Program. If you have an opportunity to support such an effort in your town, please do so. Some real magic occurred in Marietta, Ohio. It can happen with the youngsters in your town with the proper support and guidance!
    That's what I have endevoured to do over here in the UK for years.. The only problem is fighting a battle with all starch shirt mob who think the only way forward in music is to stand on stage with a music stand with a flute stuck up your arse. Oh boy could I tell you guys some stories about that within English education..
    Most of the kids over here have any natural swing and feel knocked out of them before they leave school, and that's the fault of the teachers, as many of them swing like a lead bricks themselves, and couldn't improvise if it bit them where the sun dont shine..
    I have always been considered a whaco and rebel by the authorities, but I have also had some great successes which they cant argue with, so they tend to steer clear of me and leave me alone.

    Phil.
    'Long tenons......Short tenons. When the drummer comes in, what the fuck does it matter'.

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Blues in the Schools Program

    Mark,

    That is a great program - good to see someone summarize it for the forum. Category 5 is a sponser for the upcoming session in Parkersburg. Steve Wells does a great job promoting the Blues. If you go to the Festival this weekend, you see a couple of our amps on the backline. I was trying to get back fo the festival-but could not make it. I went to school at Marietta College and I'm on the Board of Trustee's there. Great town and a great blues society there - tell John Gifford and Steve i said Hello!!

    DonR

  11. #11

    Re: Blues in the Schools Program

    Don,

    HELLO! Yes, I saw two Category 5's on the back line this afternoon. The Blues Fest has been fantastic. My wife and I went there Friday night, most of the afternoon today and we'll go back this evening!

    Steve Wells and the BJFMS have really lit a fire in the music community here. Marietta & Parkersburg are so close that the boundaries are only apparent when you see the Ohio River.

    A good friend, Vinnie, is running the sound board. Vinnie played bass with us at BITS.

    I'm most interested in hearing about the Category 5 amps. The LPF members have been asking alot of questions and I've heard them at the February Blues Competition & this weekend's festival.

    Needless to say, the students are "pumped" about playing. The earlier post about the starched/stuffed shirts was amusing. Some say I'm one of "them". In a time of budget cutbacks, testing, accountability...music should never become a victim of circumstances. Hey, it keeps me on an even keel!

    Mark

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Blues in the Schools Program

    Hey Mark,

    Glad to here the festival was a success-I was in Montgomery Alabama delivering an amp to Fiona Boyes, one of our Endorsing artists(2003 IBC winner and 2007 entertainer of the year - Australia). I bet Jimi Vincent was smoking again! Our amps will be at the Parkersburg BITS show on the 29th of April, along with Sean Carney, the 2007 IBC band and Albert King Winner (who is on our artist list now as well). Just email me at STLRitter@aol.com for any questions. Congrats for supporting the Blues in Marietta!!!

    DonR

  13. #13

    Re: Blues in the Schools Program

    Quote Originally Posted by hannahkoney View Post
    Hi Mark!
    I am very glad you are talking about this program! I've always wanted my kids to get into blues as early as possible but our school for some reason has never been fond of this idea. I was just about to research Blues in Schools when I stumbled upon this thread. I am glad you gave us some insights on this!
    You’ve written three posts, two of which are necro, none of them have anything to do with guitars. What’s up? Is this Spam of some kind?

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