Piedmont Blues Preservation Society

Blues in the Schools

Except Native American music forms, the blues was created by African Americans and is the first pure American music form to have originated in this country. Coming from the oral traditions of African-American folk music, the blues is the foundation for all other popular music forms students listen to today.

Lacking an educational system, these early country blues men and women created beautiful poetry that responded to the conditions of their world. Sometimes the lyrics expressed the anger they could not speak. Other times, they painted a vivid picture of African-American life in those fields. Through the blues, student listeners can learn the history of those times. Students can be shown the essential role these rural lyrics played in the African-American oral traditions.

The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society has been providing performances, exhibitions, and educational programs exploring the importance and history of the blues music genre in our schools for many years. Studies have shown that music education is beneficial by increasing reading comprehension, writing ability, mathematics problem-solving, and on-task performance in science classrooms.

Over the last several years an update was needed to accommodate new learning styles and to make sure the program was holistically beneficial to school systems and complimented current and even unique curricula. The development of the Blues Equity Institute at PBPS sprung forth from this need and quickly became the guiding light for how our organization could not only develop a 21st-century model for Blues Education but also a template that others could easily adopt and scale. Our program was developed from the lifetime work and achievements of Lorenzo “Logie” Meachum and Ralph Speas by Board President Atibna Berkley for Piedmont Blues Preservation Society and is called the Blues in the Schools 2.0: The Meachum-Spears Model.

Blues in the Schools 2.0 is available for K-12, university-level programs, and community groups. Caswell County Arts Council, Guilford County Schools, and Aggie Academy are a few of the more recent participants to purchase this program for their students. Please email info@piedmontblues.org to book an experience for your community today.

Religious institutions and others may also be interested in Gospel of the Blues which delves more deeply in the links between spirituality and Blues culture. 

Donations are used to provide educational materials and to compensate musicians & facilitators for their time and travel expenses while working with Blues in the Schools 2.0: The Meachum-Spears Model.

Over the years the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society has occasionally been able to secure nationally known blues music performers, such as Lakota John Locklear, Cephas and Wiggins, or Fruteland Jackson to supplement our local Blues in the Schools performers.  Fruteland personally reached teaching 1 million students while in Greensboro as part of PBPS Blues in the Schools program in 2010. These artists have “lived the blues,” and are happy to share stories, experiences, and music to educate and entertain our children. 

You can purchase Fruteland Jackson’s updated content! 

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