Essential Question:

As African Americans have struggled to overcome injustice and achieve equality, their story has been told many  ways. How has music reflected that story and changed the course of American history?

The African American journey in the United States over the past several hundred years is documented by and reflected in the evolution of African American Music.  From field hollers and camp meetings to old spirituals to the Blues to the popular genres of today, music is the means by which African Americans have told their story.  It is impossible to separate the music from the story, or the story from the music.  Understanding this musical history is necessary to appreciate how far we have come as a country, and how far we still have yet to go.

A Powerful Interdisciplinary Tool

“A tree has branches and wouldn’t have branches without roots. The Blues and Beyond is the brain child of Eric Finland and teaches not just about music, but music history.”

Joe Louis Walker (Multiple Grammy and WC Handy Award Winner)

“The Blues and Beyond teaches us where we are, and where the music is going.  But most importantly, it teaches us about where the music comes from.”

Frenchie Davis (American Idol, The Voice)

For more information on bringing The Blues and Beyond to your school, please contact Program Director Eric Finland at

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