At its core, the Foundation’s platform is designed to demonstrate the institution’s firm commitment to education – from elementary and secondary learning, to college and university academics and to adult continuing education. The platform also seeks to place the Chicago Blues Experience onto the city’s cultural landscape, as it will provide free access for all of its citizens to top-notch programs that celebrate the Blues and Chicago’s role in it. Finally, the Chicago Blues Experience Education Platform will reveal to teachers, students, musicians, and the general public how and why the Chicago Blues Experience will be seen as a new and exciting resource for expanded enjoyment of the Blues, illustrating the unparalleled influence it has had on all genres of modern popular music (including Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Rock ‘n Roll, Hip Hop, and Rap).
The CBEF Education Platform will include, but not be limited to the following:
I. BLUES IN THE SCHOOLS
Blues in the Schools (BITS) offers the opportunity for students of all ages to engage in multidisciplinary, whole-language learning using the study of music, math, language arts, history, anthropology, and sociology in a hands-on approach celebrating creative self-expression. By bringing the blues genre into the classroom, students are exposed to these traditional subjects, while breaking down racial barriers and opening dialogue about cultural diversity.
Research continues to provide solid evidence that the study of music promotes intellectual development. Science has shown that studying music assists children in developing neurophysiological distinctions that aid in literacy and can translate into improved academic performance. Most important to this development is active engagement in the music and class participation, each of which are central to Blues in the Schools programs. While participating in music activities, children enhance physical, language, social-emotional, and cognitive development.
Each community’s curriculum is individualized to the goals of that school district, educational discipline and intended age group (within grades K-12). CBEF will create local BITS programs and adapt designed curriculum units and lesson plans that are ready to be plugged into any grade or discipline. Our educators are committed to developing high quality BITS programs using the most current educational techniques and have had great success with their curricula.
A variety of CBEF BITS programs will be offered including:
• Assembly (large group) – a one hour school assembly
• Workshop – an all day workshop that either moves from class to class or remains in the same classroom all day.
• Artist in Residency programs – from a week to a full month. These usually culminate in an evening performance or performance at a funding festival.
The CBEF professionals led by Billy Branch (founder of Blues in the Schools) will visit area schools, teach the music, and generate a broad appreciation for the Blues, and in-depth understanding of how the history of the music is entwined with American history from slavery to Industrialization and the importance of Chicago in its development.
a. Since 1990, the Blues in the Schools educational program has been taught in schools throughout the US using the story of the Blues to teach American History from slavery to Industrialization, the Great Migration, and the Civil Rights Movement.
b. By demonstrating the role of the harmonica in Blues history, Branch teachs each student the rudiments of Blues harmonica performance (each child gets a harmonica to keep) and the musical and lyrical qualities of the Blues as an essential American music form.
c. Through partnerships with corporate instrument manufacturers (Gibson, Honer, etc), CBEF will provide instruments for young musicians to form bands that will be coached by Blues professionals. A limited set of Blues standards will be selected and a city-wide “Battle of the Bands” competition will culminate in performances at the CBE.
• PREPARE YOUTH TO PURSUE POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL CAREERS IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
• INCREASE ACCESS TO MUSIC PROGRAMS IN UNDERPRIVILEGED COMMUNITIES
• INCREASE INTERACTION BETWEEN STUDENT MUSICIANS FROM VARIOUS DISCIPLINES OF MUSIC
• CREATE A PROGRAM WITH EMPHASIS ON COMPOSING AND MUSICAL EXPERIMENTATION
• OFFER STUDENTS A CHANCE TO SEE THEIR WORK FROM CREATION TO PERFORMING TO RECORDING
• DEVELOP A PROGRAM THAT TEACHES BOTH LEADERSHIP AND LIFE SKILLS AND PROMOTES CRITICAL THINKING
Students who submit the required application, recommendation letter and performance video will be reviewed by the application board. Once these semi-finalists are chosen, they will be asked back for a one-on-one interview with program directors. Currently enrolled high school students between the ages of 14 and 21 will be able to participate. The CBEF Music Revolution Project will be free for students who are chosen to participate.
II. FUTURE PROGRAMS
1. Blues Lecture Series
a. Prominent Blues authorities will conduct lectures (Chicago Public Library, Chicago Cultural Center, select Chicago Public Schools, etc.)
2. Film Series
a. Directors and actors from films about the Blues, or that feature the Blues will be present for a question and answer period after the showing of the film.
3. Teacher’s Advisory Board
a. This board, made up of select Chicago school teachers, will assist the Chicago Blues Experience Curatorial Team to make sure all exhibits and programs meet local and state educational guidelines and standards and fit with CPS’ core curriculum.
4. Chicago Blues Oral History Project
a. The program is designed to teach high school juniors how to research and create oral history questions, then have them conduct supervised oral histories in Assisted Living Centers and nursing homes.
CBEF Music Academy
Musicians and music educators in training programs will be an integral part of the CBEF Music Academy. A comprehensive curriculum will be developed for both performers in training and instructors in training.
CBEF/CMBR Blues Research Library
CBEF will partner with Columbia College’s Black Music Research Center to focus specifically on a Blues research, library and archival collection. Musicians, Educators and “Blues” Scholars will avail themselves of its rich resources.
CBE Museum Curation Internship Program
Museum curation internship program will recruit teens and young adults of low and moderate income and diverse ethnic backgrounds. In partnership with our affiliated museums, CBE intends to establish a unique online museum curation curriculum leading to internships which will be marketed to the communities that gave rise to the Blues.
CBE/Chicago Park District, “Blues in the Neighborhoods”
The program will endeavor to provide a safe environment for musical expression/creativity coached by professional band members. The concept is similar to the CPS partnered project above, but will seek the partnership with the Chicago Park District to provide opportunities for our youths during the summer and longer school vacations where youth are at risk.