BLUZSKOOL - Teaching the Priniciples of Creative Courage through Music

The brainchild of two Austin, Texas based professional musicians - harmonica player and composer, Jose Ruiz, and vocalist, guitarist and composer, Woody Russell - BluzSkool is the moniker of a their performance program which brings a fun, dynamic and interactive musical "clinic" to elementary and middle school aged children in often under-served communities. Jose and Woody encourage an exploration of music that begins with simple lessons on the harmonica in school auditoriums, classrooms or conference rooms. But, BluzSkool propels beyond that harmonica lesson to include on-stage participation, singing, dancing and a highly charged improvisational performance atmosphere that helps develop self confidence, as well as, the courage to be creative and to "think outside the box". It is the goal of Jose and Woody to help inspire a love of creative expression, be it musical or otherwise.

"We welcome creative individuality and encourage the acceptance of the creative individuality of others. At our BluzSkool clinics we teach, not only basic harmonica lessons, but also the guiding principles of what we call our "creative courage" as musicians. This is where a lot of improvisation comes into play with the participants; we sincerely honor that experience. These musical moments demonstrate how, on the bandstand, it's the combination of individual creators who build the whole, singular sound of a band or any collaborative effort, whether it be in the classroom, workplace or at home. This "creative courage" is at the epicenter of our lives as professional artists, but is truly at the core of everyone's being. Children are born master improvisers, which is a very positive, imaginative and natural response to on-the-spot creativity. Every clinic is different because different kids bring varied skill sets and talents to the table. Jose and I love to improvise in response. We want participants to come away from our BluzSkool programs with a greater understanding of the harmonica and music in general, certainly, but there is at least as much confidence building and creative acceptance being conveyed at the heart of our clinics, too."


Woody Russell is a Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster Artist. The TCA Touring Roster program may help offset performance costs for the BluzSkool programs through the Arts Respond Performance Support grant. Please visit the Texas Touring Roster at the TCA website for detailed information.


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