School of Music


Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education (PhD)


Nathan Street


Blues, music education, popular music, regional music, spiral curriculum, music learning theory, Danielson framework for teaching




This instrumental case study aimed to discover blues music education's pedagogy, content, and teaching strategies. This was accomplished by examining authentic blues teaching through the lenses of music learning theory, the Danielson framework for teaching, and the spiral curriculum. The study built on literature relating to the historical, musical, and extra-musical contexts of the blues, popular music, community music, and workshop settings. The Pinetop Perkins Foundation’s Workshop Experience served as the single case for investigating authentic blues music education. Nine instructors, two students, two interns, and two board members participated. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, live observations, and video recordings. Themes were identified through applied thematic analysis, in which codes were deductively created from the research questions and inductively identified by studying the data. This study found eight themes and four other findings that describe the pedagogy, content, and teaching strategies of blues music education in an authentic setting. Immersion and Student-Centered describe the pedagogical approach. Simplicity and Standard Knowledge describe the content. Demonstration and Experimenting describe the teaching strategies. Feel and Improvisation provide an overview of blues music education. The other findings include classroom management and evaluation as formal considerations. Music as language and songwriting present other findings related to informal learning. Implications include practicing music in authentic settings, implementing popular music in the school curriculum, and including blues in the classroom. The conclusion includes recommendations for future research.

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