Education Programs

Barbara Martin, Educator

"She is carrying the torch of Ida Cox, Bessie Smith and Sippie Wallace and beautifully evokes their styles into her own compositions” Blues Rag, Baltimore Blues Society

Great Ladies of Blues and Jazz

Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Sippie Wallace, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae: the women of blues and jazz have played an important and often unrecognized role in American music. This entertaining and educational program gives audiences insight into the lives, times and musical influences of American women blues artists from the 1920's through the '50's. Interspersed with anecdotes from the fascinating and colorful lives of these women are performances of the songs most representative of their musical styles at different points in their careers. This program is especially suited for March, Women’s History Month.

Jivin' Jazz and Blues
for 3rd to 8th grade

This program explores the blues from their birth in the Mississippi in the 1890's to the emergence of jazz in the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930's. Children are introduced to the music of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and many others. Barbara won a Parents Choice Silver Honor Award in 2000 for her children's American music history recording.

Workshops and Residencies:

Songwriting Workshop
4th - 12th
Songwriting is a very individual process, but knowing a few helpful techniques can help a writer over the humps. Techniques for finding creative imagery and rhymes, writing interesting, ear-catching titles and hooks and editing and rewriting will be explored. Vocalists, instrumentalists and lyricists can all benefit from this workshop. Teamwork is encouraged through students working in groups combining their individual talents to create a song. Workshop attendees will be offered the opportunity to play a live or recorded version of an original song and receive feedback from Barbara and the group.

Blues and Jazz Workshop
6th - 12th
This hands on workshop is excellent for chorus and band or anyone wishing to learn more about blues, swing, Latin and jazz. The workshop covers the triplet feel including, swing and shuffle rhythms, Latin rhythms, syncopation. Blue notes and improvisational skills are also explored.


4th - 12th
A one day to 2 week residency can be designed using the workshops and programs described above. The residency would include a teacher in-service, working with one or several core groups of students and a public performance with those students.

"By encouraging audience participation, the level of excitement and fun made for these children what was possibly the most enjoyable history lesson of their school year.”
Martha Mehler, Rockbridge Regional Library, Lexington, VA

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