Exploring Math and Music by Making a One String Guitar

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Exploring Math and Music by Making a One String Guitar

Curtis Blues
Program Type


In this STEM residency, students build a single-string Blues guitar to make abstract math concepts concrete. Primary students use the guitar for skip counting and intermediate students learn about negative and positive integers. Students utilize the engineering model to imagine, plan, create, and improve the sound properties of their instruments.

Sample curriculum connections:
Maryland State Curriculum Music Standard 2.0
Historical, Cultural, and Social Context: Students will demonstrate an understanding of music as an essential aspect of history and human experience
Grade relevant Common Core Math Standards


Typically, residencies range from $2,000 to $3,000, but we can use your available budget and ‘work backwards’ to create a cost-effective residency for your school. We may be able to assist you in securing grant and funding opportunities.

Residencies are tailored to your needs but usually include:
• A kick-off assembly
• A required orientation meeting and planning session
• A set of workshops for classes of up to 25 students each
• A student culminating or sharing event
• An evaluation meeting

For a rough estimate, residency prices include:
• Artist assembly (see artist’s page for pricing)
• A set of workshops ($100 each)
• A required orientation meeting and planning session ($100 each)
• An evaluation meeting ($100)
• Mileage and supply costs depend on artist location and the residency chosen.


"Curtis Blues was a joy to work with. He brought in his guitar and knowledge of the Blues to help my students count by twos. My students were engaged and I was able to implement new teaching strategies into my daily activities."

Michelle, Kindergarten Teacher, Hall’s Cross Roads Elementary

"Students have carried over what was learned during the number line lesson. It is very evident they were drawing upon the lesson I co-taught with Curtis. The music he played was motivating as well, and my students still ask to hear it played. Curtis now has many new fans!"

Deborah, Third GradeTeacher, William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary