Be Cool and Play the Blues


Dig into a standard American form and ignite improvisation skills with the 12-Bar Blues. Fourteen detailed lesson plans with video instructions featuring specific app assignments, activities for private and group instruction that boost creative confidence at the keys.


Students in learn mode

Why teach the Blues?

The Blues is a standard, American form that is the basis for SO many genres. The framework is ideal for gently leading first-time improvisers into the world of chords, melody and creativity.

What is this resource?

It’s multi-media bundle that offers step-by-step instructions on how to teach beginning to intermediate level students to improvise within the 12-Bar Blues.  

What’s included?

“Be Cool” breaks down the form into manageable parts so that success happens early and often. It offers learning experiences that relate students’ daily experiences and gives them “handles” to grasp things for good.  All of this is included in the resources three main components:

A Comprehensive Lesson Grid

The grid features carefully sequenced plans for 15 private lessons and 15 off bench sessions that include optional tech-savvy assignments. In addition, it includes specific ideas for group instruction.

Notated Samples

To clarify the improvisation process, notated examples are provided. Play through them to familiarize yourself with each step.

An Interactive E-book

Instructional videos

The colorful, 42-page interactive e-book includes instructional videos on how to teach each lesson, colorful graphics and photos showing how this can be done in your studio. In addition, it includes innovative and clever ways to extend students’ experience with the Blues.

PLEASE NOTE: With your purchase, comes the e-book in PDF format ONLY. To gain access to interactive e-book and the video of the book, see links on page 3 of the Lesson Grid.

Special Features for Students

  • There’s only three reference sheets for students. No need to make copies of anything else for them.
  • Get Inspired! Episode 17 with clever and cool videos carefully chosen to inspire.
  • A checklist of assignments.
  • Punch cards to keep track of student accomplishments.
  • Quizlet Flashcards to review terms used in the 12-Bar Blues
  • A Kahoot Game for group lesson fun.

What does “Off the Bench” mean?

For those of you who offer a Lab or Music Tech Time, the Lesson Grid offers assignments to reinforce concepts. Students complete these assignments as I work with another student “On the Bench.”

Apps featured or mentioned (but not required)

Detailed lesson plans

  • Auralia Chord Recognition
  • Auralia Scales
  • Book Creator
  • Flashnote Derby
  • Full Scoop on Chords
  • Decide Now
  • Functional Ear Trainer
  • iBooks (you’ll need this app to read the e-book on your mobile device.)
  • Incredibox
  • iReal Pro
  • Kahoot
  • Loopimal
  • Meludia
  • MusiClock
  • Note Rush
  • Note Quest
  • Piano Maestro
  • Quizlet
  • Rhythm Swing
  • Rhythm Lab
  • Simply Piano
  • SproutBeat Leap Games (Beta, Free Version)
  • Supermetronome GrooveBox
  • Tenuto
  • The Royal Conservatory of Music Apps Theory Prep, Theory 1, Theory 2, Theory 3
  • Tonal Recall

Who is it for?

Notated examples

It’s designed for teachers who

  • Are interested in teaching the 12-bar Blues to their students
  • Appreciate a step-by-step approach to developing creativity at any level and at any age.
  • Are intrigued by Off Bench time in their studios and want concrete plans and suggestions for what apps to use.
  • Want dynamic, engaging On and Off bench activities for private and group lessons.

How can this be used?

Unique theme and recital ideas!

The resource provides ideas for

  • Annual studio-wide units
  • Engaging activities for group lessons
  • Correlating assignments for Off Bench time.


This is a digital download which can be accessed

  • Immediately after your purchase while you are still in your account at
  • Through a receipt that you receive from (check your SPAM box) immediately after your purchase.

If you have any issues, please email me at


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