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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.  By showing people how to tell their stories in a three-line blues verse, we teach self-awareness, self-control, teamwork and empowerment .  Knowing yourself and your history, and ways to get along with others, are vital today.  This is a tool in preventing violence and encouraging  students to overcome economic challenges.  

WestctBBKidsWriteCanjo.jpg 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.  Head teaching artist "Barrelhouse Bonni"  McKeown,  a piano player, has developed this program in  her work with  students of various ages and backgrounds  since 2002.

 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 or 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.  

Now with the crisis in funding public schools in Chicago, and a terrible rate of violence in Black and low income communities, several after-school programs have requested Chicago School of Blues workshops. The schools and programs are scraping just to stay alive.  Your donations are needed to give them hope and bring people together through the blues! 

Contribute tax deductible HERE through Bonni's Chicago blues project with Fractured Atlas, a nonprofit arts group that provides 501c3 fiscal sponsorships for individual artists.  We need approximately $1000 to give 4 days of workshops and another $750 for a school band concert.   WE PAY MUSICIANS A LIVING WAGE of at least $100 per workshop.