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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

584 ratings

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


Jul 27, 2020

Very good and enjoyable mix of practice and theory - from basics to more advanced with good explanations throughout. I just wish I was a better piano player to be able to take full advantage of it!


Oct 7, 2016

Such a great course! Even though I am a bass player this course has made me understand patterns and ways in which the Blues can be taken to. Thank you very much for such an amazing experience.

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101 - 125 of 239 Reviews for The Blues: Understanding and Performing an American Art Form

By John P

Dec 4, 2016

Compact and informative lectures that de-mystify the art form. Thank you!

(Will need to practice a lot for it all to sink in though)

By Catherine C

Oct 27, 2017

Everything is clearly explained and demonstrated. It was great being able to downloads course videos and transcripts for reference.

By Acid P S C

Feb 26, 2017

A very comprehensive course with clear explanation on the various type of the progressions and scales used in Jazz and Blues music.

By Izzy R

Oct 5, 2017

Very well planned and presented course. The instructor was clear and paced the material just right (at least for me!). Thank you.

By Richard M

Jan 24, 2017

This is a GREAT course. There is absolutely a wealth of knowledge that you can build on for a lifetime of jazz and blues! 5 stars

By Vito L

May 28, 2020

Muito bom! Tudo muito didático e explicativo. Várias novas idéias para estudar improvisação e o blues especificamente! Obrigado.

By Hirokuni T

Mar 18, 2018

Good course.

It is analyzed from the perspective of Jazz.

If you want to learn traditional Blues, This course is Jazzy too much.

By Lee M

Nov 1, 2016

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

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 Jheison F L V

Jul 13, 2020

It's a very complete course with a lot of information and many examples, very easy to understand. Thank you very much!

By Linda K

Jul 22, 2017

Fantastic introduction to the blues and to music theory. Very clear explanations, great demos, engaging professor.

By Luis C

Jan 21, 2019

Un curso fascinante, me hubiera encantado que tuviese subtitulos en español, asi lo hubiese aprovechado al máximo

By Harry K

Jun 8, 2016

Excellent instructor and course on fundamentals of the blues and jazz. Please continue more similar courses!

By Michał R F

Mar 20, 2020

For folks like me this course could be a bit difficult sometimes, but it's also a lot of fun!!!! Thank you!

By Thomas M

Feb 22, 2017

Great course and great instructor!! I will be delving into this material for a long, long time!! Thank You!

By Paul H

May 24, 2020

Excellent review of blues and associated chords, scales and improvisation tips and approaches to practice!

By Deleted A

Apr 27, 2020

I took this course a couple years ago - great material, very well structured, valuable information. Thanks

By Huang ( H

Oct 17, 2016

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

By Nicovrey

Apr 12, 2020

Excellent introduce course. Great teacher and excellent band for the music examples. Thanks a lot !!

By Carlos F

Sep 26, 2016


By Junior H

May 22, 2023

Excelente curso. Lo recomiendo, y agradezco por el trabajo hecho y por compartirlo con nosotros.

By Krisztina C

May 29, 2020

Great, thank you! Thorough, informative, and ispirational course, it was very beneficial to me.

By Joe G

Jan 6, 2021

Excellent clarity , pace, examples and structure. Darius is a superb teacher. Thank You Darius!

By Alan t

Aug 10, 2016

Excellent class. Interesting, informative and with practical application. Highly recommended.

By Raul C

Jul 16, 2016

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