Chevron Left
Back to The Blues: Understanding and Performing an American Art Form

Learner Reviews & Feedback for The Blues: Understanding and Performing an American Art Form by University of Rochester

355 ratings
144 reviews

About the Course

The blues is an American art form and the most important musical form in jazz. Although there are other formal paradigms of the blues, such as 8-bar or 16-bar, this course focuses on different incarnations of the 12-bar blues. There are considerable differences between Early Jazz blues, Swing blues, Bebop blues, Modal blues, and Post Bop blues. Each type has its unique harmonic syntax, melodic vocabulary and, associated with them, improvisational techniques. While other aspects of jazz performance practice have been constantly changing from one stylistic convention to another, the blues has never lost its identity and expressive power, and continues to exert a powerful influence on the harmonic and melodic syntax of jazz. This seven-week course explores important aspects of the blues, blues improvisation, basic keyboard textures, jazz harmonic and melodic syntax. Topics include: (1) Blues Progressions; (2) Blues and Other Scales; (3) Improvisational Tools, and others. This course will also cover valuable theoretical concepts enabling the student to master the art of jazz improvisation. Each topic will be introduced from a practical perspective with the clearly stated goal: to improve one’s improvisational skills. Jazz improvisation is rooted in spontaneity, creativity, self-expression and, at the same time, self-control and order. A unique pedagogical approach based on a one-to-one musical interaction conducted with different instrumentalists will help to reinforce many of the concepts introduced in this course and realize its stated objectives....

Top reviews


Mar 04, 2017

This is very practical and useful course. I really learned something from it! I love this courser and I strongly recommend this course to everyone who is fascinated in Blues.


Sep 18, 2017

Thanks so much to all involved - I found the material to be clearly presented and rich in content. It really helped me to understand how to grow in my jazz exploration.

Filter by:

51 - 75 of 141 Reviews for The Blues: Understanding and Performing an American Art Form

By Lee M

Nov 01, 2016

A fantastic introduction to how Jazz was formed and relates to the blues. What an inspiration Professor Dariusz Terefenko is.

By Craig S

Jan 28, 2017

This is an informative course for anyone interested in improvisation, regardless of your current level of achievement. If you have learned by yourself, with the help of instructors or friends over the years, you will find this course of benefit for filling in the holes of your knowledge. if you are a beginning or intermediate student, it is highly recommended as a means of understanding how to improvise. There are plenty for opportunities to practice with a rhythm section which is a great opportunity.

By Joao P

Jul 17, 2016

I've done quite a few online courses and have been studying Jazz intensively and seriously since 2009. This is, hands down, the best course I've found on the subject of improvisation - because it is so carefully organized and well explained. Mr. Terefenko does an amazing job taking you through the various blues types and improvisational devices. My only regret is that I didn't find years ago, as I was starting! Absolutely top material.

By Dorin D

Nov 15, 2016

Excellent! Thank you -

By saisumanth

Apr 06, 2018

professional course which useful for full time musicians

By Raul C

Jul 16, 2016

Excellent course. It goes deep into the core of the blues while showing tools for improvisation

By Sofia K

May 16, 2016

Although I don't have any musical background I really enjoyed this course and have learned and understood a bit more about the blues.

Thanks to the Professor and the musicians for giving their time and effort to make this MOOC a reality.

Much appreciated.

By Ara D

Jan 20, 2017

Excellent class !

By Pavel T

Dec 29, 2017

I expected to see the content different from what was in the course but nevertheless it was great. Quite challenging, more jazz then blues, in my opinion, but a lot of great ideas and techniques for improvisation.

By Martins J d S F

Sep 25, 2017

Excelente Curso. Abre a mente do aluno para os "segredos" da harmonia que envolve o blues. Excelente professor. O ritmo das aulas, a sequência dos conteúdos, o link com os estilos e principais nomes deste estilo musical. Realmente, um dos melhores cursos que já fiz aqui no Coursera. Parabéns!

By Huang ( H

Oct 17, 2016

5 star recommended! all courses offered by Rochester especially music course were in very high quality!

By Nikita K

Feb 25, 2017

This is perfect course that overviews jazz blues evolution over time. It introduces the ideas to investigate both for soloist to improvise melodies, as well as for other musicians to provide harmonic and rhytmic context for soloist. It suggests very useful exercises to everybody, that will help to develop modulation and improvisation skills. Throughout the course I understood harmonies of many songs I tried to play before, and now I am able to better improvise on them.

By Carlos F

Sep 26, 2016


By Anne E

Jun 03, 2017

Excellent teacher; a delight to take the lessons and absorb the concepts involved in improving my improvisation skills. Many thanks; I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to take this very worthy course.

By José D C

Jun 12, 2018

Excelente curso. Muy completo didactico. Felicitaciones al instructor y a los que trabajaron en la producción de este curso.

By Sandro V O d M

Apr 02, 2017

Thanks a lot, Dariusz Terefenko! You are a terrific teaching and outstanding musician! This course changed the way I thought about music, it really made the difference!

By frédéric d

Oct 11, 2016

really excellent.

By jason

Nov 09, 2016

Great course- thank you, Dariusz!

By John R

Oct 12, 2016


By Ivan L

Oct 16, 2016

I think this is a very complete course that teaches in detail the history and development of The Blues, backed up by extent theoretical content. I definetely learned a lot from it and also gave me all i need to continue developing my playng skills. Thanks to Coursera and all the people involved in the creation of this course.

By Michael C

Jul 20, 2017

Excellent. I've learned a lot and got lots of opportunity to see not only the harmonic content on a page, but listening examples and "play-alongs." I'd definitely recommend this course to someone else and already have!! Thanks for the great class!

By Victor M d A G

Jan 25, 2017

Congratulations to teacher and other musicians. This is a very nice course that helped filling several empty blocks on my knowledge.

I´d like to have all piano plays in complete musical score to better follow.

Question: Couldn´t you save it as midi and turn it available to registered students or capture this midi recordings and represent it as staff?

Suggestion for next turn: Do a carefull revision on subtitles. They have several (inaudible) blanks and some words that have nothing to do to the context, or simply do not exist. For a non English mother tongue speaker person, bad written words add an extra difficulty to understand each new information. (I have used subtitles, stopping the film and fixing concepts by reading these subtitles)

Best regards, Victor M A Garcia

By Ralitsa N

Sep 12, 2017

A course I would recommend to anyone who wants to dig into blues origins and forms. I ended up with some very valuable improvisational tools as well! Thanks to all the people involved into making this couse available!

By Tomas P A

Feb 11, 2018

Excellent course!!! Great teacher. A must for blues and jazz students

By Jose W O

Feb 25, 2017

The Course Contents Quality is very good overall. The explanations applied to the instruments are also beautifully done. I like the historical references and the evolution of the course. This course is probably heavy for someone new as the concepts are not basic as the course advances. However for someone who already has good basic this course is excellent, it is well organized and very well presented including the performances. Thanks i really loved this course.