3.06.2011

3rd and 4th Grade - Guest Artist - Kevin "BF" Burt

 I felt that our 3rd and 4th grade students were struggling with understanding jazz and blues music - that it goes deeper than their show music.  I was trying to figure out a way to expose the students to the soul of the blues/jazz music - there is something lost in recordings.  Then, I remembered that there was a blues artist I had seen a couple of times - he came with his band to my high school and then when I was doing a long term sub position he came to play and talk with those kids.  On a whim I tracked him down through the internet and asked if he would be willing to come to my school.  He was excited to come!

I'm not exactly sure how, but Kevin "BF" Burt is very captivating.  He started playing as the students came in and from the first notes they heard they were hooked.  There is power in live blues music - which is exactly what I wanted the kids to feel.  He spoke with the kids about how blues was born out of slavery - something they already knew from both their show and what they were studying in the classroom.  He has a perfect balance to talking with the kids and playing.  The students started to bombard him with questions after the first 10 minutes.  We had planned his visit to be about an hour at an hour and a half we had to wrap it up.

I think the kids got a real sense of the blues - the soul of improv.  One student asked him how long it took to write a song.  He responded with, "Let's find out - we'll write one right now together."  So Mr. BF Burt wrote a song on the spot with these suggestions from the students: Soulja Boy, a monkey, ice cream, sugar, and an annoying little sister.  It was a great song about how he was hanging out with his friend Soulja boy, they went to get ice cream with their annoying little sister, then to the zoo after they were hyped up on sugar, where a monkey threw a booger at them.  The kids LOVED it.

Not only did the kids love it - but staff showed up to listen for a few moments - jealous they couldn't stay.

If there is ever a chance to pull in someone live to talk and play for students - do it.  This was a great experience for my students.  Explaining blues music with words or recordings just doesn't work - it has to be live.

Here is a link to another elementary school he went to - this is NOT my elementary school but it gives you a good idea of his sound and some of the songs he sang for the kids.

*Pictures found on the internet*

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