The Art of Playing + Singing the Blues by Ear by Fernando Jones

Filmed in 4K by Emerging Light Media

Directed by Steve Sepulveda & Alex Villasenor

Updated Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 3:50A

Click to download: My song performance notes.

Click to download: Sheet music sample for the workbook.

Brief Description

Blues icon Fernando Jones presents, in The Art of Playing + Singing the Blues by Ear, real life performance situations in this Master Class. You will be a more impactful musician and entertainer after this experience. This project is filmed in 4k by Emerging Light Media.


The mysteries of playing the Blues intuitively and properly will be unlocked as you successfully navigate the worlds of singing in key (always), playing in a band, performing live, recording at home, playing “for the song” and more. while being engaged, entertained and educated from start to finish.

This conversational and performance piece is shot in4K and presented by Emerging Light Media. It's designed so you can listen and learn at your own pace. It doesn’t matter if you are a neophyte, weekend warrior or pro, you will have fun connecting the dots. Techniques and strategies are transferable to all instrument family groups as well as the music business-at-large.

Jones and his team will offer feedback on your video assignment submissions. Video feedback conference sessions will be hosted, too. This package also includes never before released footage and stories from Jones’ journey as a four year old musician imitating his older brothers to an internationally respected and treasured Bluesman and educator.

Instrumentation Focus

Electric and acoustic bass and electric, acoustic, resonator and 12-string guitar. As a bonus you’ll get instruction on playing drum grooves, diatonic harmonica soloing, MIDI recording and how to always sing in key.

Styles Surveyed

Blues, Funk, Soul and More.

About the Instructor

Fernando Jones is an internationally travelled musicians, father of Blues Camp and Blues Kids of America, author of “I Was There When The Blues Was Red Hot” and founding Blues Ensemble director at Columbia College Chicago. All proceeds benefit Blues Kids Foundation and Blues Camp for youths and their parents and guardians.

Tag Line

 Learn today. Gig Tonight.

Fernando Jones

He is at the vanguard of Blues pedagogy and andragogy, globally. Fernando Jones has influenced the next generation of Blues players through his self-titled internationally branded Blues Camp.Through this course he is inviting you into his learning lab, while explaining and demonstrating tips, exercises, song structure and techniques using understandable language and terminology.

• • • • •

Chapter 1: Introduction

• • • • •

Chapter 2: Fundamentals

1. Your Gear

2. Practicing

3. Reading basic charts

4. 12-Bar Blues / I-IV-V

5. The Art of Playing by Ear

6. Learning and playing a song in the studio v. playing it live

7. Improvisation

9. 3 Voice Over Tips

8. Close out with Q&A / Essay

Song/Performance demonstrations to be video taped:

• • • • •

Chapter 3: Public Performance

1. Sitting-in with others

2. Jam Session

3. Stage Presence and Stage Name

3. Band Leading (Band or Soloist)

4. Live Show Prep (Rehearsal v. “Practicing”)

5. 3 Voice Over Tips

6. Close out with Q&A / Essay

Song/Performance demonstrations to be video taped:

• • • • •

Chapter 4: Songwriting

1. Songwriting

2. For Film

3. For Theatrical Plays

4. 3 Voice Over Tips

5. Close out with Q&A / Essay

Song/Performance demonstrations to be video taped:

How Frances L. in Purple rain said, “I’ve got a million songs and none of ‘em sound the same” Writing for the voice think about these songs in segment. Discuss and play part of the track (Include tracks on the film for people to play along with).

“Walk around the yellow car and get the blue ball.”

- Okoro Harold Johnson

Song/Performance demonstrations to be video taped:

Working with Vocalist/play a verse Add as bonus audio

Barkin’ Bill – “I Want a Pretty Woman” Full track

Nellie Travis – “Oil and Water” Full track

Leanne Faine – “Leave Your Love at the Door” Full and Instrumental

Nellie Travis – “Don’t Mess with My Man” Full track

Tjuan Linton – “Boy Crazy” Full and Instrumental

Foree – “On Top” Full Track

Kappa League – “Guide Right” (I have to remix)

Writing for film and theatrical plays

Sample of Devil’s Crossroads. Use the clip of him watching fingers play then he plays

Sample: The Unkool Ferdee Project

“What’s happening now”  quote by Foree and use in Unkool Ferdee song.

 

I did the same this for my father’s voice

 

Jona’s Blues Band tribute. Show CD.

• • • • •

Chapter 5: Recording (w/song samples to deconstruct)

  1. With a band

  2. By yourself

  3. Others

  4. Embracing Technology

  5. For Film and Plays

  6. 3 Voice Over Tips

  7. Close out with Q&A / Essay

Song/Performance demonstrations to be video taped.

• • • • •

Chapter 6: The Band

  1. Playing with and in a band

  2. By yourself

  3. Embracing Technology.

  4. Voice Over Tips

  5. Close out with Q&A / Essay

Song/Performance demonstrations to be video taped.

• • • • •

Chapter 7: Career

Business & Branding: What Does Being Professional Mean

  1. Building Professional Relationships

  2. Booking Yourself

  3. Marketing

  4. Protection

  5. Traveling Safely

  6. Reinvesting in Your Career

  7. Blues Camp

  8. 3 Voice Over Tips

  9. Close out with Q&A / Essay

 

Song/Performance demonstrations to be video taped:

• • • • •

Chapter 8: Home Movies

Song/Performance demonstrations to be video taped:

Ideas: Maybe we can go to 47th and Ashland. The spot that used to be Goldblatt’s. This is where I got my first guitar on February 6, 1970. Not to be confused to when I started playing at 6 in 1968.

• • • • •

Chapter 9: The Vault

1. Other songs not placed in other chapters

Song/Performance demonstrations to be video taped:

2. Voice Over Tips

3. Close out with Q&A / Essay

• • • • •

Chapter 10: Youth Engagement

1.Blues Camp / Brief Overview

2. 3 Voice Over Tips

3. Close out with Q&A / Essay

Song/Performance demonstrations to be video taped:

Songwriting: Try to write a song that doesn’t include your primary instrument. Make a song that people can’t believe is you. Listen to “Walking Piece of Candy”. Talk about how I made this track

 

Talk about how I heard that Bruce Springsteen walked around with an album of songs in his back pocket

 

And how Frances L. in Purple Rain said, “I’ve got a million songs and none of ‘em sound the same”

 

Writing for the voice think about these songs in segment.

Discuss and play part of the track (Include tracks on the film for people to play along with)

• • • • •

Chapter 11:

Bonus - Jam with Jones

1. Into on Jam Session

2. Voice Over Tips

3. Do a separate bass, guitar, harmonica, and vocal video track.

4. Close out with Q&A / Essay

Mali to Michigan Avenue

Fernando Jones’ Master Class on Zoom

Brought to You by the Music Center at Columbia College Chicago

Reading Assignment (Click to download)

Order I Was There When The Blues Was Red  Hot. (Click Here)

From Bill Boris, Associate Chair

Columbia College Chicago, Music Department

Guitar and Bass Players: Fernando Jones will be presenting a Blues master class, "Mali to Michigan Avenue", which will focus on the history of Blues and Blues guitar on Friday, Oct. 16, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm via Zoom. There will be a waiting room and I will admit everyone. Attendance is required for all guitarists enrolled in private lessons, but all are welcome! Fernando created "Blues Camp" and for the past 11 years has hosted these camps all over the world. He has written and published on the history of Blues and is one of the country's foremost advocates for Blues and its central role in American culture. 

For guitar players in private lessons: Attending these workshops is required and part of your grade. Last week, only about a third of guitar players in private lessons attended the vocal/guitar workshop; I take attendance at the workshops and forward the attendance sheet to your instructors, and your attendance (or lack of attendance) affects your grade. The required master classes and workshops are clearly listed in your syllabus. I hope to see you all there on Friday.

Lecture Overview and Prerequisites 

Section 1: Historic Overview (30 Minutes)

Mindset for the Zoom lecture: A mature audience of musicians willing to learn truth of America and it’s roots music, Blues, in pursuit of a better understanding what the Blues is; and most importantly – why it exists and should be preserved and performed with respect and a accountability of our ancestors who made it possible to Rock and Roll.

I. What is the Blues? Why does it exist?

Presentation: A combination of videos, sound recordings and commentary

a. Race / Class / Supremacy

• The Europe / Africa Slave Trade (1600s) to Juneteenth Celebration (1865)               

b. Understanding of the Blues as a music and culture?

• The Blues: Ancient Timbuktu, Mali Roots to The Chicago Blues

c. Mr. Jones’ Students (Projects Demonstrating excellence)

• Mississippi Delta Trip

• Chicago Record Companies and Night Clubs

Q&A (5 minutes)      

I. Question and Answer session between Jones and audience with Prof. Boris

a. Questions chosen by moderator from “Chat"       

Section 2: Chicago Blues Guitar & Bass (45 minutes)

a. Bass and Guitar Tips

• Commentary on Comping, Soloing and Grooving

Q&A (5 minutes)      

I. Question and Answer session between Jones and audience with Prof. Boris

a. Questions chosen by moderator from “Chat"       

Section 3: Over-all Q&A (10 minutes)

Pre-Requisite Assignments

Order Book: I Was There When The Blues Was Red  Hot.

(Click Here)

Listen to “Crazy Blues” by Mamie Smith

https://youtu.be/8AN3pxrRzMM

https://youtu.be/m5YwFm1gvR0

Listen to "Say it Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud)" by James Brown

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb_1NNdf_30

Watch "Us vs. Them" (Gov. George Wallace)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ezt2l8iDsk

Watch "War" by Bob Marley

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPZydAotVOY

Listen to Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eksV02us5DQ

Be familiar with these terms below:

Supremacy

Freedom

Humanity

Roots Music

Roots of the Blues

African Slavery Trading  (King James of England)

The Middle Passage

Sharecropping

Timbuktu, Mali

Mississippi Delta

History

Great Migration (American)

Juneteenth Celebration

Emancipation Proclamation

United State Constitution

The Civil War

People and Places

Gov. George Wallace

Jefferson Davis

Abraham Lincoln

Muddy Waters

Howlin’ Wolf

KoKo Taylor

Chess Records

Vee-Jay Records

Songs

All can be found and listened to or viewed for educational purposes on YouTube

"Rolling Stone" by Muddy Waters

"Respect Yourself" by the Staples Singers

"Southern Man" by Neil Young

"Buffalo Soldier" by Bob Marley

"Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd

"Born Too Brown "by Fernando Jones

• • • • •

Courses on the books that Mr. Jones has taught.

Jones has also guest lectured in other classes in the Music Department and in others across campus.

Columbia College Chicago

32-1628 The Chicago Blues Scene: From the Past to Preservation

Fernando Jones, Instructor
Course surveys the past, present, and future of the Blues and the impact Chicago, as the Blues Capital, has had on the world culturally, sociologically, and economically. This course will give students the opportunity to study the living tradition of the Blues through readings, videos, live performances, and the music itself. The class will feature workshop sessions where students perform some of the compositions they’ve encountered. 

 

3 Credit Hours

 

Columbia College Chicago

32-1881 Blues Ensemble: Styles

Fernando Jones, Instructor
This course teaches entry-level music students to play the Blues as an ensemble in a professional setting. Course will examine sociological and historical aspects of the Blues and its current and future role in society. Chicago’s unique position as a world Blues capital will be featured through visits to local Blues clubs and jam sessions. Enrollment in this ensemble requires concurrent registration in private lessons.

 

1 Credit Hour
Repeatable
Requirements: Audition Required and Permission by ensemble director

 

Columbia College Chicago 

32-2885 Blues Ensemble: Performance

Fernando Jones, Instructor
Intermediate level course is an ensemble for the smaller to medium sized Blues band. The repertoire for the course is drawn from the straight-forward to more challenging arrangements of traditional and contemporary Blues material. Course addresses the application of musicianship skills as they apply to ensemble awareness and effective rehearsal and performance techniques. Course engages the Blues as both an historical and a living entity through the application of historical background of and interaction with artists engaged in the contemporary Chicago Blues community. Enrollment in this ensemble requires concurrent registration in private lessons.

 

1 Credit Hour
Repeatable
Requirements: Audition Required and Permission by ensemble director

 

Columbia College Chicago

32-1629J The Blues: Chicago to the Mississippi Delta

Fernando Jones, Instructor
Course requires that students travel to Memphis, Tennessee, and Clarksdale, Mississippi for 5 days to examine the sociological, musicological, and historical relationship between the Chicago (urban) and Mississippi (rural) Blues experience. Through lectures, performances, site visits, and keeping an ethnographic journal, students will gather knowledge about rural Blues and gain a comprehension of its creation and performance from an ethnographic perspective. Some students may perform on the trip, if the composition of enrolled students allows. Students will write a paper based upon their journals and experiences of the trip.

 

1 Credit Hour
Repeatable
Requirements: Audition Required and Permission by ensemble director

 

Columbia College Chicago

Private Blues Guitar and Bass Lessons

Fernando Jones, Instructor

 

Goals

• Keep Blues youthful and exciting, while preserving and building on the past.

• Provide Blues Kids with the basic skills (musically, socially, emotionally and linguistically) necessary to survive and play proficiently and effectively in a global Blues community.

• Learn the importance of the Blues from a sociological and historical perspective with a focus on the future, representing student musicians as scholars.

• Introduce this indigenous American art form to new audiences.

• Use critical thinking skills, while collaborating with others.

• Apply practical skills learned in class in a culminating activity on stage.

• Promote digital learning and embrace technology.

• Make paramount contributions to the future of the Blues musically, socially and culturally

• Represent the next generation of musicians as scholars and proficient players.

• Give each student the basic skills (musically, socially, and linguistically) needed to survive in a global Blues community / industry.

• Introduce students to the art of live professional performances through the lens of the Blues.

 

Objectives

• Introduce the history of American music through the lens of the Blues.

• Keep the Blues youthful and exciting, while preserving the past.

• Represent the next generation of Blues artist as scholars and proficient players + vocalists.

• Learn the importance of the Blues from a sociological and historical perspective with a focus on the future.

• Use critical thinking skills and collaborate with others.

• Apply practical skills learned in class in a culminating activity on stage.

Learning Outcomes

For Student Musicians To:

• Improve music literacy by playing by ear and reading tabs + chord charts.

• Communicate using cross-generational/regional “Blues” language.

• Use proper dynamics to ensure appropriate volume levels for songs.

• Accompany vocalist with proper volume control, fills and chords.

• Critique and self-evaluate performances and provide feedback to others.

• Perform as “one” in an ensemble setting.

• Demonstrate basic Blues patterns such as 8-bar and 12-bar Blues.

• Demonstrate the call-and-response.

• Play songs effectively without guitar or piano solos.

• Perform a 15 to 20 minute set of music at a professional level with confidence.

• Demonstrate the art of the groove.