We’re happy anytime the blues gets proper acknowledgment and when younger audiences get shown the rope, so when we heard that the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester was killing two birds with one stone, it’s really difficult not to be thrilled.
Eastman, according to a press release, is introducing a free course entitled “The Blues: Understanding an American Art Form.” It will be featured on the Coursera learning platform and taught by Associate Professor of Jazz Studies and pianist Dariusz Terefenko.
“The blues is the most important musical form in jazz,” Says Terefenko, who began career as a master’s student of jazz piano at Eastman before going on to earn a PhD in music theory. His reason for believing so is simple enough: improvisation. And it is this quality that his course will focus on. Topics will include blues progressions, blues and other scales, improvisational tools, and others while also covering valuable theoretical concepts enabling the student to master the art of jazz improvisation through a unique pedagogical approach–that of one-to-one musical interaction conducted with different instrumentalists.
Graduation is right around the corner, and without harshing anyone’s mellow, all the under- or postgrads with performance aspirations should probably take note. Eastman has produced several notable performers and musicians, including Renée Fleming, Joyce Castle, Ron Carter, Chuck Mangione and others.