I Dare You You Won't


One of the Most Active Blues Education Programs of Any Blues Society in the Country

Mississippi Valley Blues Society (MVBS) has one of the most active Blues Education programs of any Blues society in the United States. Each year, MVBS plans and coordinates four to nine weeks of Blues in the Schools (BITS).

A typical week-long residency includes 10-12 performances and workshops in schools, libraries, and/or community centers in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas. Each artist also provides an open-to-the-public presentation for all ages. All performances are free and expose a wide array of our community to the rich history, heritage, and sounds of Blues music.

Are you a teacher or educator looking for our teacher resources? Please contact us to get free access to our professionally produced blues education material!

Rev Robert Jones
Photo by Peggy Brisbane
John Jackson
Photo by The Free Lance-Star
Willie King
Photo by Joel Beeson
David "Honeyboy" Edwards
Photo by Bengt Nyman
Henry Butler
Photo by Robbie Mendelson
Fruteland Jackson
Photo by Gary Collver
Hawkeye Herman
Photo by Alain Hiot
Tas Cru

Some of the artist residencies who have participated in 10-12 performances and workshops in schools include:

David "Honeyboy" Edwards, John Jackson, Billy Branch, Henry Butler, Willie King and the Alabama Blues Project, Hawkeye Herman, Rev. Robert Jones, Rich DelGrosso, Fruteland Jackson, Dave Berntson, Tas Cru, Kevin Burt, and Bruce Katz.

Vault Videos

Kevin Burt & Hal Reed

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Heartbeat of Africa — Kevin & Hal

Wheels on the Bus — Kevin & Hal

Blues The Universal Language — Kevin & Hal

12-Bar Blues — Kevin & Hal

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Robert Jones

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When I First Came to This Land — Robert Jones

Work, Play, & Freedom — Robert Jones

Five Notes, Many Voices — Robert Jones

Blues Roots — Robert Jones

The Blues — Robert Jones

Blues Branches — Robert Jones

Vault Videos

Blues in the Schools

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Vanessa Collier — BITS 2023

Hal Reed — BITS 2023

John Jackson — BITS Workshop 2000

Anna Rabson — BITS Workshop 2004

Honeyboy Edwards & Etta Baker — BITS Workshop 1992

Carmello Garcia — BITS Workshop 1992

David Berntson — BITS Workshop 2006

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Lewis McCord Bohren — BlueSkool 2004

David Bernston — BlueSkool 2005

Hawkeye Herman & David Bernston — BlueSkool 2004

James “Super Chikan” Johnson — BlueSkool 2006

Fernando Jones — BlueSkool 2003


Learn what the most important critics of our efforts have to say

Quotes from students and teachers who have attended one of our blues education programs.

"He demonstrated his love of music. I appreciated how he interacted with the students, really listening to their questions and trying to make a connection with them. One of my favorite parts was his closing remark to the students, That anyone can make music, so it might as well be them."

Dr. Giovanaa Davila — Music Teacher at Thomas Jefferson

"I really liked this experience because I learned about music history. I also learned a little bit about Memphis where my dad’s family lives. I got to talk with my family about this, it also inspired my friend and I to learn guitar and harmonica. Thank you. Especially Rev Robert Jones Sr."

Ryan — Pleasant Valley Jr. High

"Thank you for all you do and for bringing blues musicians into our schools! The students and teachers are always inspired by the musicians you bring!"

Kristin Lopez — Music Teacher at Pleasant Valley Jr. High

"I like the way he moved from one thing to the next and I really like that he knew a lot and the fact that he could play various instruments. Thank you for coming!"

Gram — Pleasant Valley Jr. High

"Thank you for bringing Robert Jones to our school. I enjoyed when he played music on the fiddle. I thought he made really good music with all the instruments he played. Thank you."

Sona — Thomas Jefferson 3rd Grade

"My favorite part was when he was playing the violin and the guitar. I really enjoyed that he played the instruments. I valued that he is important. I noticed he played really good."

Roudyn — Thomas Jefferson 3rd Grade

"My favorite thing about the show was when you rapped and you sing very nice and you’re a very good rapper, Mr. Rev Robert Jones. I noticed how you would acted like Elvis. But my most favorite part was when you said the bulldog song."

Zakyia — Thomas Jefferson 5th Grade

"My favorite part was when Mr. Jones was rapping. I really enjoyed when he was talking about different music. I valued when he made a song for his daughter."

Peyton — Thomas Jefferson 5th Grade

"I really enjoyed the show that he put on. I learned someone stuff about music. One of my favorite parts was when he was doing the song “Wade in the Water.” I also likes the part when he played the banjo and how he said it was homemade."

Mason — Thomas Jefferson 6th Grade

"I really like how Rev. Robert Jones could play many instruments at once. Sometimes dance! I did learn how music isn’t just something you listen to but there is a lot of culture behind it. Thank you so much for letting him come to our school!"

Katelyn — Pleasant Valley Jr. High

"Robert Jones was very funny and made the performance very entertaining; I liked Mr. Robert’s passion for music; I loved the harmonica part and was shocked when he said he played it for 43 years!"

Cassi — Pleasant Valley Jr. High



Some highlights from our decades of fostering greater public appreciation through education.

You like numbers? We got all the numbers.

Years of Blues Workshops
Years of BlueSkool
Hours of Educational Videos
Students Attending Our Programs
Years in the Game

Learning Resources

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You Ain't Getting
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without Singing
The Blues