University of Rochester
The Blues: Understanding and Performing an American Art Form
University of Rochester

The Blues: Understanding and Performing an American Art Form

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

33,550 already enrolled


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Dariusz Terefenko

Instructor: Dariusz Terefenko


(583 reviews)

Beginner level
No prior experience required
11 hours to complete
3 weeks at 3 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

  • Students will be able to describe the blues as an important musical form.

  • Students will be able to explain differences in jazz and other variations of the blues.

Details to know

Shareable certificate

Add to your LinkedIn profile


7 quizzes

See how employees at top companies are mastering in-demand skills


Earn a career certificate

Add this credential to your LinkedIn profile, resume, or CV

Share it on social media and in your performance review


There are 7 modules in this course

Lesson 1 focuses on foundational aspects of the blues, examining its history, innovation, and evolving harmonic structure. At the end of this lecture, students should have a firm understanding of the harmonic structure of the basic, generic, and minor blues forms, as well as a familiarity with the A A’ B phrase-structure of the blues.

What's included

7 videos1 quiz

Lesson 2 dives into what makes the blues tick, beginning with an examination of the blues scale and the basics of jazz rhythms and blues riffs. Students will then explore call and response techniques and application of the blues scale in improvisation through demonstration with a live musician.

What's included

6 videos1 quiz

Lesson 3 introduces the concept of guide tones and its association with invertible counterpoint. Four-part and five-part chords are discussed in detail by exploring their construction and function, as well as techniques to facilitate good voice-leading between chords using chordal inversions.

What's included

7 videos1 quiz

In lesson 4 students analyze harmonic progressions from 3 jazz standards: “Now’s The Time,” “Billie’s Bounce,” and “Blues For Alice.” Practice techniques are discussed, including ear-training strategies, rhythmic displacement, and voice-leading exercises.

What's included

7 videos1 quiz

Lesson 5 introduces 3 more jazz standards for analysis: “Mr. PC,” “Mr. Day,” and “Isotope.” Tritone substitutions are examined, and pentatonic scale as tools in improvisation are introduced through exploration of their construction, typical voicings, and voice-leading principles.

What's included

8 videos1 quiz

Lesson 6 centers around the demonstration of improvisational techniques discussed thus far, including motivic development, guide-tone lines, and chordal arpeggiation. Observation of live Eastman musicians, as well as play-along tracks provided by the rhythm section, allow the student to imitate, assimilate, and apply the techniques discussed in the course.

What's included

14 videos1 quiz

Lesson 7 explores modal categories and scalar patterns in improvisation, in addition to continued discussion on pentatonics. As in the previous lesson, live musicians demonstrate key concepts and principles presented in the lecture, with additional play-along tracks provided for the student to explore concepts on their own.

What's included

12 videos1 quiz


Instructor ratings
4.9 (102 ratings)
Dariusz Terefenko
University of Rochester
1 Course33,550 learners

Offered by

Recommended if you're interested in Music and Art

Why people choose Coursera for their career

Felipe M.
Learner since 2018
"To be able to take courses at my own pace and rhythm has been an amazing experience. I can learn whenever it fits my schedule and mood."
Jennifer J.
Learner since 2020
"I directly applied the concepts and skills I learned from my courses to an exciting new project at work."
Larry W.
Learner since 2021
"When I need courses on topics that my university doesn't offer, Coursera is one of the best places to go."
Chaitanya A.
"Learning isn't just about being better at your job: it's so much more than that. Coursera allows me to learn without limits."

Learner reviews

Showing 3 of 583


583 reviews

  • 5 stars


  • 4 stars


  • 3 stars


  • 2 stars


  • 1 star



Reviewed on Dec 27, 2020


Reviewed on Mar 3, 2017


Reviewed on Mar 21, 2021


Open new doors with Coursera Plus

Unlimited access to 7,000+ world-class courses, hands-on projects, and job-ready certificate programs - all included in your subscription

Advance your career with an online degree

Earn a degree from world-class universities - 100% online

Join over 3,400 global companies that choose Coursera for Business

Upskill your employees to excel in the digital economy

Frequently asked questions