My Goldfish Died

My Goldfish Died-Blues for Strings (Grades 4-6, 6-8, or High School)


This one or two session workshop introduces middle and high school string players to all the basic elements of playing the 12-bar blues.  Every student experiences playing bass lines, melodies, “comping” parts, harmony lines, back beats, and will begin improvising melodies.  More advanced students can take the materials provided to begin writing, rehearsing, and performing their own blues immediately.

Students learn a bit of American history, tracing the origin of the blues tradition, then practice hearing a 12-bar form, recognizing the chord progression, and playing pentatonic and blues scales, all of which build overall musicianship skills and support traditional repertoire learning.

“My Goldfish Died” can be a real motivator for students who are either ahead or behind the pack with their technique.  Playing the blues presents new challenges for advanced students, and the emphasis on expression over technical facility can level the playing field for less advanced players.  This workshop functions as an ensemble builder as well as a fun and informative event.

Download the sample materials, available in both the advanced and simplified form, which can be played either together or separately





Goldfish Blues - Vocabulary Words


300 string players, 4th-12th grades playing the blues

Overland Park, Kansas