Blues Degree?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Johann, Nov 8, 2023.

  1. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Rachel. Occasionally, what others don't know about jazz history has filled volumes. And some have sold many copies of those volumes for goodly sums, on occasion. :) Early jazz? Yes - too indirect, as you say. Blues was here first. Jazz was the baby. Related but not the same. And Elvis? I'm well aware of what he did. And where he got it from. I like the original performers of his stolen songs better - e.g. Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup (That's All Right, Mama) and Big Mama Thornton (Hound Dog). And nobody needs another Elvis impersonator. especially an octogenarian. :)

    And what I want? From my earlier posts:
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2023
  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Dustin. Occasionally we've discussed "designer degrees" (self-designed) in this forum. Possibly the only route for me. We did discuss one elderly man - even older than I am - who earned a Doctorate from Oxford. His field of study was the early history of the British Railway system.

    Perhaps they might be lenient, and take me, on double-secret probation, at Oxford. I don't really want to return to UK, but at least I could take my basic Canadian pensions anywhere in the world. ... :) And they have the NHS - universal health care, including dentistry, And as we all know, "Britiff Dentiftry if famouf froughout the world." :)
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2023
    Dustin likes this.
  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Back in the day, around 1960, John Lee Hooker recorded a song, "Teaching the Blues.". I remember some of the lyrics:

    "It's all just a b-i-g b-e-a-t. You don't need no fancy chords -- just work your thumb, here..."

    I'm less than sure about that degree, now. :)
  4. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    A few years ago I saw a 500-page book on John Lee's guitar technique. Overkill. He had a hell of a technique, but it was pure
    Mississippi / African bedrock. Clean, spare and elemental. You get it or you don't. 500 pages are not gonna help.

    A "Blues Summit" with John Lee and Malian, Ali Farka Touré , performing together, was once scheduled for a Mississippi Blues Festival. Unfortunately, conflicting schedules of the two stars made it impossible. John Lee had said earlier "Yeah - he's playin' what I'm playin." As many other fans would, I'd have loved that. It would make a good part of a "blues education."

    Maybe a "traveling degree." Something like the Goliards, wandering scholars and poets of the Middle Ages. I like them, too.
  5. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

    Aside from the gen eds, TESU wants four specific courses for its degree: Music History I, Music History II, Music Theory or Music Harmony I & II. Literally everything else (again, except the gen eds) can be Blues-specific. As long as you can find at least 15 credits that are upper-level, you're good.

    The AOS (major) is 45 credits. Minus the 12 credits mentioned above (and the capstone course), this leaves you with 30 Blues-able credits. Plus another 30 credits of electives, if one has no prior degree. 60 potential credits in total. You can study Blues until your fingers fall off from playing guitar too much, if that's what makes you happy.
    Johann likes this.
  6. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Thanks! Yes - it might very well make me happy. But is the degree a B.A. , a B.A. (Music) , a B. Mus. or what? (I'd like simply a Bachelor of Blues, but I don't think they'd go for it.) And the major - does that get spelled out, e.g B.A., Music (Major: Blues)? Do you happen to know?

    Oh yes. You said B.A. Music, a while back. Sorry. But the major - I'm still asking. The degree I want has to say "Blues" somewhere. Or I have to be able to specify it in writing, and that's not quite as good, from my point of view.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2023
  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I could tell someone I had a degree in Blues, and they could reply "but it doesn't SAY "Blues." And I was hoping my bar-fighting days were over... :)
  8. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Well now, Johann, let's not be HASTY are certainly able to sew a few sequins on a tight white suit!
  9. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    Johann, remind us whether you already have a bachelor's degree? (There are some individualized options specifically at the master's level.)
  10. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    No. I don't. Bucket of certs diplomas and misc credits, no bachelor's. But tell me anyway. Those opportunities might give me something to do in my 90s. :)
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2023
  11. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Okay. As long as you're gonna wear it. :)
  12. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Remind you? Gee. Jonathan, I never told anyone in the first place. :) In nearly 17 years here, you're the first person who asked.
  13. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I think maybe I should explain a bit of what's in the "bucket of credits," Jonathan. So you can see that they'd likely be of no use to me whatsoever today. At least no use in advancing my educational standing.

    (1) I have a Canadian 2-yr Community College Diploma that's 76 credits. General Arts and Sciences. I'm guessing the amount of learning is about that of a 2-yr CoCo Associate degree in US - though I'm not sure a US school would agree - part of the reason being the credits are now at least 34 years old. Much of what I took was concentrated in psych, sociology, human relations and a couple of counselling courses.

    (2) I have a Community College cert. in Liberal Studies. 6 courses - so that's roughly 18 CoCo credits, including two semesters of Mandarin Chinese and a surprisingly enjoyable compulsory English Lit course. Grad. in 1996 - so, OLD!

    (3) I have another CoCo cert in Computer Networking and Hardware. That was a 1-year full-time program, 17 courses, earned in 1996. Most were 3 units, a couple were 4 and 2-3 others were 2-credits. Great. Around 50 credits of computer courses 27 years old. Definitely not worth anything today.

    (4) Yet another CoCo cert. Residential Construction and Design. 6 courses - house-building. Very practical and we had great facilities to do hands-on framing, plumbing, electrical work etc. In drafting, we each completed a set of plans for a house. Again, 18 credits of old courses. Completed around 2004, so....

    (5) University cert. in Business. 6 courses. That was finished in 1998.

    (6) University Cert in Creative Writing. 15 credits is what it says. This was more fun than the rest put together. Most courses were short - 10 weeks, maybe. About 10 of them. I liked the program and the profs. It worked out pretty well for me. I had some stuff published in the Writing program's mag. - poetry and prose. Took about 3 years one course at a time Finished in 1999.

    I have plenty of the usual no-credit baggage people accumulate. Among the baggage I have a 3-year diploma in Credit Management - my oldest bit of academic-looking paper. 1974. New diploma issued around 1993 when the Credit Institue changed its name slightly. 6 courses some the standard business fare - econ, marketing accounting etc. Plus Credit Management. The program was under the aegis of University of Toronto back then. They marked the assignments and (I believe) set the exams. Distance ed 1970s style, we mailed in the assignments, got our marks etc. by mail. I wrote the yearly exams with other students in the area, proctored by a teacher, in a local high school.

    And just because University of Toronto supervised the program, it does NOT mean I was a University of Toronto student, nor was I an alumnus when I graduated in 1974. They were very clear about that.

    Among the other no-credit or almost no-credit stuff in my duffle-bag are language courses. I have one year of Italian and one year of Ukrainian, taken at local high schools - adult classes at night. Those got me High School credit - Grade 9, issued by the Ministry. Also, two semesters of Spanish and two of Mandarin Chinese in Community College. 5 years of French, 3 of German and 5 of Latin - all taken in high school. (1955-60) . I have half a dozen Career School diplomas including my all-time fave: Fashion Merchandising and Design, C++ programming, Internet Specialist, Spanish refresher (it had been 30 years), Photography, Gardening and Landscaping. Zero credit for those - quite a bit of pleasure, especially Fashion. Lately - Udemy, Cudoo, Alison etc. Islamic Banking and Finance, Human Sexuality, Psychology of Language, Psychology of Women, Nigerian Pidgin... no end of interesting stuff.

    That's about it.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2023
    Mac Juli, Jonathan Whatley and Dustin like this.
  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Elvis as an appropriator? Or as a communicator? I like the latter.

    If you want an appropriating thief, look no further than Pat Boone. He routinely recorded hits from Black artists because his record company could sell him singing them. Look at him doing "Tutti Frutti" and then watch Little Richard do it. You'll see.
    Johann likes this.
  15. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    You know, that's something I don't really understand. The whole notion of "cultural appropriation" as some sort of evil theft I mean. No one "owns" a culture. People borrow music and language and even religion from each other and always have. So what if Elvis performed Black musicians' stuff? If he gave credit where it's due (and paid royalties if owed) his doing so took nothing from the Black artists.

    Now I need to be clear about this. I'm quite serious when I say I don't understand. If someone wants to explain I'll gladly listen.
  16. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Heck, when will Christianity acknowledge stealing two thirds of their Bible from the Jews?
  17. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, Black artists DID take a beating. Not from Elvis personally, but from record companies etc. For example, Arthur "Big Boy Crudup" who had written and recorded "That's All Right Mama" years before Elvis covered it - magnificently.

    Back then, the greatest cheaters of Black artists had long been White-run record companies and White managers. In the following story, there's a Good record Co, (Sun), a Bad Record Company, a Bad White Manager (Lester Melrose) and a Good White Manager (Dick Waterman.) Sadly, Arthur Crudup did not get his royalties in his lifetime, and died a very poor man. However, a great deal of money was later paid to his estate.

    I said I knew what Elvis did. Here it is: He was the first young white man to sing authentic Blues and R&B music in the Black idiom. This was the segregated South. White parents didn't want their children, especially girls, to have anything to do with Blacks, lest they fall in love with a Black person. Elvis removed that danger. Here was the kids' preferred Black Music from a White performer. Elvis made that possible. To the music business, Elvis was the long-awaited Golden Idol.

    What Elvis did NOT do: He did not cheat anyone - out of anything. That's agents', managers' and record promoters' job. Here's the story: It's pretty well-corroborated by others' accounts I've read.

    And @nosborne48 as to cultural appropriation - you're preaching to the choir, here. But good job - plenty of people need to hear what you said. Kudos and props!

    Cultural appropriation? Can't say anything bad about that, because I do it myself. I do it in the things I like best. I've played blues harmonica for nearly 60 years and been encouraged in my learning by at least a couple of very kind Black artists. Guitar? Same thing except you can add R&B, folk songs of a few countries, some flamenco, a bit of rock. Hell, I steal from everyone and nobody minds. Musicians of other cultures have helped me "load the truck." I'm not taking anything that has to be paid for.

    I like Native art - that of Native Americans and Canadians. I occasionally paint in Woodland Indian style. Got 30-40 of that genre on my walls. Two of them are my work. The others - bought and paid for. If I do a little beadwork, First Nations Natives I know, think that's nice. A while ago, I made a simple computer program t draw Navajo-like rug designs. I say Navajo-like, because it's VERY bad to call your work simply "Navajo" if you are not of Navajo ancestry. There are legal prohibitions in place so work made by Navajo artists and craftspeople is protected, Outsiders cannot sell their work as "Navajo."

    One of the rules I have to observe as an Atheist is not to hurt people. If I create something that is like, or in homage to another culture's work - a song, a painting, a poem - whatever - I don't think I'm hurting anyone. If I were to cause any artist a loss,whether by stolen recognition or financial deprivation by selling my misrepresented work - that hurts. I don't do that.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2023
  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Mostly prints. Only two originals, bought 30+ years ago for less than $100 apiece - way less. No big money. Cost more to frame than to buy. :)
  19. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Depends how much compensation Jews are willing to settle for. The less the sum, the sooner it's over. :)
  20. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Oh, yes - Blues Piano is definitely a "thing" Google is your friend then. Here might be a good place to start.
    Clint Eastwood talks to musicians (he's one himself) about Blues Piano. BTW Clint's son, Kyle Eastwood is very well-known in Jazz circles. He's established a fine career as a jazz bassist. Also in the show was archive footage of Albert Ammons. He was one of the "Holy Trinity" of Boogie Pianists. The others were Meade Lux Lewis and Pinetop Smith. Albert Ammons' son, Gene, was a well-known jazz tenor saxophonist. I used to listen to him back in the 60s, Gene passed on in 1974.

    In Googling, I found Classical sites discussing Blues Piano and its techniques. There are numerous videos on Youtube teaching blues piano. In a brief look, most seemed to be at a beginner level. Someone out there has the good stuff, I'm sure.


    Sunnyland Slim (Albert Luandrew) and St Louis Jimmy (Oden) - Old-timers, gone now. Unfailingly good.
    Leroy Carr (Usually accompanied by Scrapper Blackwell, guitar) A gentler blues approach, from the 1930s.
    Otis Spann Played in Muddy Waters' band. Chicago style, roots in Mississippi.
    Pete Johnson. Long time piano man for Big Joe Turner.
    Eurreal Wilford "Little Brother" Montgomery - a long life in Blues and Jazz

    Some others:

    Dr. John (Mack Rebennack) - amazing contributions to New Orleans music. Sadly - recently deceased.
    Professor Longhair (Roeland Bird) another fine New Orleans player. D. 1980
    Ray Charles. Ray played much more than Blues - but he did them beautifully. Check out "Losing Hand" -it's on YT from 1953-4.

    It's a start. Pretty well everyone is on Youtube. At least records are, in the case of those deceased.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2023

Share This Page