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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

585 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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176 - 200 of 240 Reviews for The Blues: Understanding and Performing an American Art Form

By Marcos C V

Apr 3, 2023

Excelente desde todo el contenido

By Gabriel P

Sep 20, 2020

I really enjoyed all the lessons!

By Xiangxin L

Jun 18, 2017

So many ideas for blues and jazz.

By jason

Nov 8, 2016

Great course- thank you, Dariusz!


Mar 10, 2021

excellent course! I learnt a lot

By Isabelle K

Oct 14, 2017

Great course. Thank you so much!

By Lo L K P

Apr 15, 2017

Practical and useful information

By Illona M

May 31, 2016

Best course I had here so far.

By Sushil M

Jan 30, 2019

Wonderful Overview of Blues.

By billy s

May 29, 2016

good lecture... nice lesson

By Bart S

Jul 2, 2016

great course, do it again

By Antonio N

Dec 8, 2017

Thank you Mr. Terefenko!

By Julio A R

May 2, 2021

Muy Interesante y útil

By Leslie

Mar 13, 2017

truly excellent course

By Art S

Jan 30, 2017

Altamente recomendable

By Dorin D

Nov 15, 2016

Excellent! Thank you -

By Ismael J G Á

Jun 19, 2020

Dariusz is the beast!

By Numa M A V

Jan 6, 2019


By Ara D

Jan 20, 2017

Excellent class !

By frédéric d

Oct 11, 2016

really excellent.

By Daniel A B D

May 19, 2021


By Hernán A B

Jun 22, 2020

Great course!!!

By Víctor M P O

Jul 7, 2019

Excelente curso

By Alberto E M R

Jun 8, 2016

it´s excellent

By Roberto J

Aug 15, 2017

Great course