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"[Fernando] you are one in a million trying to get to the bottom of the barrel of the Blues.

Buddy Guy (Click to see photo of the two)

"Unlike Jazz camps, camps that focus on the Blues are a rarity. [Fernando] Jones’ Blues Camps have become an annual rite of Summer."

Downbeat (Click for article)

"Few Chicago Blues musicians have done more to nurture the next generation of talent than guitarist Fernando Jones."

Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune (Click for article)

Rust College Memorandum of Understanding

Fernando Jones’ Blues Camp Mississippi at Rust College

Sunday, June 19 – Friday, 24, 2022

Monday to Friday 8:00A to 11:30A or 8:30A to Noon

Blues Camp will also have extracurricular activities including but not limited to a campus tour and public community concert performances.

• • •


Ms. Gray & Team Rust College,


Here is a recap from the meeting. First, let me say how excited my foundation and I are to be invited to bring Blues Camp there. I already reached out to my Kappa Alpha Psi brothers made at Rust. Paul Harris is the undergrad advisor. We spoke yesterday. He will get the support of Kappa to help promote it also. He may even reach out and say hello.



I will come to Holly Springs, Mississippi in March 2022 and host an in-person Blues Camp audition for youths ages 12 to 18 at a site TBD. An online audition will also be available for those unable to attend (in the area and across America). I’ll be available for interviews locally and nationally to promote the auditions and Blues Camp program-at-large.


Tentative Equipment + Space Needs

Each lockable ensemble room will need to have 1 drum set (with hardware and cymbals), 2 to 3 guitar amplifiers, 1 bass amplifier, 1 to 2 keyboards (with amplifiers) and a PA System (with 2 to 3 microphones and stands). As an option Blues Kids can bring their own musical instruments and gear support. All instruments are welcome.



Can we continue the discussion of dorm lodging options for out-of-town families participating –

 costs or in-kind? Can you recommend hotels near the Rust College campus for the instructors?


Blues Kids Foundation will provide/sponsor:

  • FJ’s Blues Camp for 25 - 40 local and national student musicians ages 12 - 18.

  • Our own transportation to and from Rust College + lodging.

  • Online audition, registration and emergency/waiver forms.

  • The curriculum and instructors including Fernando Jones.

  • T-Shirts, swag bags and certificates for the Blues Kids.

  • Physical and digital Blues Camp flyers mailings, social media posts, email blasts, etc.

  • A 45-minute concert by Jones’ band for the Rust College community.

  • A full-page Blues Camp combo ad in Downbeat Magazine's Annual Summer Jazz Camp Edition. It’ll be released in March/April.


For Blues Camp we’re asking Rust College to:

• Organize press coverage from the pre-audition to the audition(s) to the Blues Camp itself.

• Donate 4 performance ensemble rooms in the same building inclusive of the auditorium.

  • Host a Meet & Greet for the parents/guardians, Blues Kids and Blues Camp instructors.

  • Provide breakfast and lunch or the Blues Kids.

  • Coordinate a campus tour for the participants.

  • Host a culminating Blues Camp concert as a Blues Kids Foundation fundraiser.

Placement is for beginner, intermediate and advanced level vocalists and instrumentalist. We do not discriminate. All a student musician has to do is pass the audition to participate. That's it!

We are not looking for the best "Blues Kid" players in the world. We are looking for the Blues Kid who wants to be in this program. However, they must audition with one of the songs below, first, not one of their choosing. Then we will do our best to place them by their skillset according to our Blues Camp ensemble instrumentation need(s) and position availability. Here are the Kennedy Center ArtsEdge Standards we useThanks for making us your charity of choice.


For more information on how you and your Blues Kid can be part of this experience visit or email us at or call us (312) 369-3229.

The Blues Kids Foundation is an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. We were established to preserve, perform and promote the Blues among America's youth, parents and educators under the tutelage of highly qualified instructors. Our focus is on education, literacy, social emotional learning and music as a second language. 

Media Contact:

James McMurray (773) 519-4843 •

• • •

About the Founder

Internationally known Bluesman Fernando Jones founded Blues Camp, an international program, and established it Monday, July 5, 2010 on the campus of Columbia College Chicago where he is on faculty as founding Blues Ensemble director in the Music Department. on July 4th, the day before, there was a kick-off celebration on the site of the old Chess Records at 2120 S. Michigan Avenue. Jones said, "It has been a dream since childhood to have a centrally located place where children could come and play the Blues in a user friendly, nurturing environment on a college or performing arts campus." 

Mr. Jones is also a songwriter and scholar. Born to loving Mississippi parents on the South Side of Chicago, Jones was inspired by his older brothers, Foree, Marvin and Gregory to play music; that inspiration led him to teaching himself how to play guitar when he was just four years old.

He is a highly sought-after lecturer focusing on music pedagogy and literacy improvement whose clientele has included the Smithsonian Institute and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Buddy Guy said that Fernando Jones is “one in a million trying to get to the bottom of the barrel of the Blues.” The incomparable Fernando Jones is a 21st Century Renaissance man and the 2008 Keeping the Blues Alive Award recipient and a Chicago Blues Hall of Fame Inductee to name but two of his professional acknowledgements.

​Assessment Measures

Click here for the Kennedy Center's ArtsEdge Standards that we use.

​Assessment Measures

  • Pre-Course Evaluation

  • Oral and Written Quizzes

  • Homework Assignments

  • Class Participation

  • Rehearsal Performance Prep

  • Concert Performances Evaluation

  • Final Presentation Project

  • Exit Course Evaluation


• 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 play proficiently and effectively in a music 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 culminating activities on stage.

• Promote digital learning and embrace technology.

• Contributions to the future of the Blues musically, socially and culturally

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

• Introduce students to the art of live professional performance.


• 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.

Photo by Glenn Kaupert | Click link to download flyer.

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