Let's explore the history of American music and culture tracing the cultural influences that shaped American music and the pioneers who created it. From early blues that rose up out of the fields of the Mississippi Delta in the form of work songs and spirituals and early jazz that formed from the intermingling of multiple cultures in the melting pot of New Orleans and Congo Square. The journey takes us up the Mississippi River to the electric blues of Chicago and over to New York and the improvisation and brilliance of bebop as an expression of freedom. The influences that led to early rock and roll and the multiple genres that branched out from the roots with reflections on society in the form of soul, rock, country and rap music. We use storytelling, music, art, geography and history to tell the story of America through the perspective of the artists and musicians who reflected society, pushed it forward and created the music.

Early Blues

The blues rises up from the fields of the Mississippi Delta.

Early Jazz

The melting pot of New Orleans provides a rich cultural environment to birth jazz.

Electric Blues

The blues electrifies in northern cities.

Heyday of Jazz

Jazz improvisation and cultural ambassadors define the bebop era.

Early Rock and Roll

Multiple influences and a record studio in Memphis lead to the birth of Rock and Roll.

British Invasion

In post-WWII England, the British fall in love with American blues.

Soul Music

Soul music explodes with the black power movement and finds its sound in a little town in Alabama.

Outlaw Country

The rebels leave Nashville in the dust and birth southern rock.

California Troubadours

The scene moves out west through Bakersfield and into the canyons of Los Angeles.


Ingenuity in the South Bronx creates a new genre.

Punk Rock

The cold war and capitalism send a generation over the edge.


Disillusionment is a theme for Generation X.

Hi, I’m Patti Compton, President and Co-founder of Music Preserves Foundation

I have a love of music and history and am inspired by the history of American music. As president of Music Preserves Foundation, I develop music and cultural history education courses that explore the history of American music and the cultural history of the United states. Through storytelling, music, art and history, students discover the cultural history of America through the stories of the musicians and artists who built the culture and gave birth to the music.

My professional background is in entertainment marketing and public relations working with major clients such as CBS Television, Universal and Paramount. As the Public Relations Director for the Doheny Blues Festival, I have worked closely with artists, artist managers, festival producers and media.

My courses in American music history explore the relationship between music and American history -- you will see history from new perspectives and understand music and its relationship to history in new and exciting ways. Let's explore this rich history together as we strive to understand the world we live in through the history of art and music.

$225 every 3 months

American Music History: Individual Course

A journey through the history of American music and culture.

A 12-week individual course tracing the history of American music through lectures, video, music, geography and history with discussion, quizzes and bonus resources.