The Blues–An Interdisciplinary Project

The blues–an American art form that offers links to many aspects of history and culture. MENC member Rochelle Pyne came up with a cross-disciplinary approach to teaching the blues that worked well in two high schools.

Read her complete article and suggestions at “The Blues—An Interdisciplinary Project.”

Pyne states: “I did this project because at the high school where I was a music educator and administrator, the opportunity presented itself to respond to the students’ desire for creative musical activities in an educational setting. My search to find a way to channel the students’ enthusiasm and excitement about music resulted in an immersion of music into other subject areas.”

She decided on the blues project for several reasons:

  • For students, it offered the chance to listen to music directly influenced by the blues.
  • Participating teachers expressed an interest in exploring instructional strategies to integrate the blues into the curriculum.
  • As a classically trained musician, Pyne had had minimal exposure to the blues until meeting the late blues musician Paul Butterfield, who shifted her musical orientation.

According to Pyne, “Butterfield gave me a richer life in music. This project is in honor of his musicianship.”

Rochelle Pyne, Ed.D., is director of graduate education programs and an affiliate assistant professor of education at Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York.

–Ella Wilcox, April 3, 2009, © National Association for Music Education. Rochelle Pyne holds copyright to her article, “The Blues–An Interdisciplinary Project.”