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Chicago School of Blues: Home

Chicago School of Blues is a music program that travels to schools, afterschool sessions, and community centers giving workshops and concerts for all ages. We teach self-awareness, self-control, teamwork and empowerment by showing people how to tell their stories in a three-line blues verse. Musicians from Chicago’s West and South Sides help students sing their tunes, introduce them to their instruments,  talk about the history and heritage of the blues, and show how musicians cooperate to play in a band.  CSB is committed to supporting these skilled musicians by paying a living wage for them as teaching artists.

“Barrelhouse Bonni” McKeown, a blues piano player, writer and teaching artist, has been coordinating the program since 2004. Contributions and grants for CSB’s programs are tax deductible through Bonni’s fiscal sponsor, Fractured Atlas, a 501c3 charitable organization.  

Programs are custom-designed to serve each partnering agency that hires CSB. While an obvious goal may be “keep the kids off the street,” the objectives are designed to fit  with a school of agency’s mission and address the real needs of the people served.  Examples: learning basic music theory; learn the cultural history of the blues;  critical thinking in group revision of songs;  expressing one’s feelings while controlling oneself; cooperating to play in a band.