Primarily through live music and storytelling, singers and musicians relate elements of the blues to American and African-American culture and history, while delivering concepts of audience involvement, rhythm and teamwork, music appreciation, and even the therapeutic effects of music.
The presentations entertain and demonstrate how the blues is fundamental to popular American music. Underlying messages of: the importance of personal expression; racial tolerance and understanding; truth telling; freedom from oppression; and, creatively transforming life’s challenges into personal growth are conveyed to the student audiences through this rich material.
BLUSD draws on a pool of San Diego and visiting blues musicians for its live BITS shows. To foster continuity and academic quality, BITS developed a Presentation Guide for its leaders. Orientation and reference materials, and a Lesson Plan are provided to educators in advance of each BITS performance, and a special Activity Sheet is given to each elementary student following the program for fun and review.
Teachers are encouraged to be creative and connect blues appreciation to specific topics within American History (post-Civil War events, the African-American experience, 20th Century Industrialization and Urbanization, blues cross-over from “race identified” to “All-American” music in the 50’s and 60’s,) as well as to other academic areas such as Communications, Fine Arts, Music Appreciation, Social Studies, and Geography. Credentialed and certificated professionals are developing grade-level specific classroom material that supports California state educational standards and thematic units of academic subject/content areas with particular relevance for the school populations and cultures of San Diego.