Founded in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in the heart of the Delta, the Delta Blues in Education Program serves several functions within the community. The program offers the communityís youth an outlet for their creative energy and curiosity. As an outgrowth of the Delta Blues Museum, which receives heavy tourist traffic, the Delta Blues in Education Program operates under the auspices of skilled and experienced musicians. Tuition is modest and scholarships are often provided. One of the subtler effects of the program is that it provides a space for black and white youth to share their love for music and to interact in a positive environment which promotes mutual respect. The program unites black and white youth in their appreciation of black culture.
The Delta Blues in Education Program stands as
another model of the type of cultural preservationist
education we have witnessed in Charleston and the
Delta. Students in the program learn exceptionally
fast to trust their own musical instincts and to develop
their own style, all the while staying within the tradition
of the blues. The instructors rarely use sheet music in
their lessons. Instead, the instructors encourage their students to use their own ears to pick out chords and movements. Largely due to appropriation and commodification, blues has become a fluid category of music in the Delta. Students often improvise their own loosely-interpreted pieces and will sometimes warm up with pieces by
performers like Prince. The programís teaching style seems to fit well into the oral traditions of African and African-American teaching. In this way, the connections between cultural preservation and the introduction of oral traditions into traditional teaching methods become clear.