Testimonials From Educators

About Educational Performances for Students

The gold standard

“Scott is a master of anything with strings: his playing is effortless and soulful. He knows the history and the context of the music, and his own songs are sly and full of melody. He’s a generous performer and his connection with the audience was profound . . . Scott is the gold standard.” – […]

Kept Performance Moving

Scott Ainslie was friendly (I spoke with him after the performance) and he invited students to look for his performances and more information on Youtube and his website. Ainslie was very prompt and communicated well. He realized the time constraints of the class period, so he kept the performance moving. He’s aware of his audience […]
Teacher Evaluations
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Didn’t Quit ‘Til The Bell Rang

Scott is an outstanding musician and historian. Students and teachers were actively involved in this assembly. Ainslie was a complete package. Got right into it and didn’t quit ‘til the bell rang.
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Best Event

I have been teaching at my school for 13 years and this was the best cultural event I have attended. Mr. Ainslie was a calming, loving presence for the students.  
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Command of Audience

Scott’s command of the audience and his professional information was wonderful.
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Excellent Presenter

Scott Ainslie was an excellent presenter who understood the age group he was presenting to and provided a program appropriate for that level.
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Entertaining Singer, Musician, and Speaker

Our students learned about the history and context of African-American influence on the development of blues as well as the birth of the cigar-box guitar and the banjo. Ainslie presented information about different styles of music, particularly regional origins of blues. Ainslie got the students involved…This was a wonderful, engaging educational and musical experience, very […]
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Well-Educated and Passionate

My students saw a man who was passionate about his music and were exposed to variety of musical instruments. They heard about the history of the Blues. Ainslie combined the idea that musicians can be well-educated and be passionate about music at same time.
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Great Connections

My students are 7th graders so this was a great connection between cultural heritage of western Africa that was brought to the U.S. They very much enjoyed the music. They were also interested in the origins of blues and the different instruments that Scott brought with him.
Teacher Evaluations
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Great Historical Information

Students experienced what was most likely a music genre that they have never heard before. In addition, they learned about the African influences in American music. Ainslie presented great historical information regarding the origins of various genres of music and how music and instruments evolved over the years.
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Studied with Elder Musicians

A Phi Beta Kappa and honors graduate of Washington & Lee University, Ainslie also studied with elder musicians on both sides of the color line – in the Old-Time southern Appalachian fiddle and banjo traditions, as well as with black Gospel and Blues musicians. Ainslie has received numerous awards and grants for his work documenting […]
Music-Arts Reporter
The Mountaineer, Waynesville NC

An Important Teacher and Protagonist

Ainslie is a beautiful stylist who respects the country blues and acoustic blues music, feels it deep down to his soul, and understands its essence. He is not just an important bridge to the original blues, he is an important teacher and protagonist of the genre.
Outreach Coordinator
Mississippi Valley Blues Society, LeClaire IA

Old Blues and Southern Musical Traditions

Ainslie is one of the most important cultural protagonists of the old blues and Southern musical traditions.
Outreach Coordinator
Mississippi Valley Blues Society, LeClaire IA

Mississippi Valley Blues Society

Ainslie is a true master of the old traditions, not just as performer but also as a serious blues historian and musicologist. Here is a guy who gets the African-American blues deep into his soul, having connected with it on every level from its origins. He sings in a clear tenor and has perfected his […]
Outreach Coordinator
Mississippi Valley Blues Society, LeClaire IA

A Debt To The Blues

It’s common knowledge that the vast majority of popular music owes a debt to American blues, but few have set about repaying it with Scott Ainslie’s sense of purpose…Spend a little time talking with him, and you’re going to learn something. Ainslie shows not only how the music feels now, but how it felt then, […]
Michael Witthaus
Claremont Eagle Times, Claremont NH

Mississippi Valley Blues Society

Thanks so much for your recent presentation on Blues Guitar Music & History at the LeClaire Community Library last Monday evening.  We received so many wonderful comments on your playing and presentation.  Our patrons were so impressed with your talent and depth of knowledge of the Blues. It was an entertaining and inspirational evening! From […]
Sue Mannix, MLS, Director
LeClaire Community Library LeClaire, IA

Fantastic Program at NC Museum Of History

Thank you for the fantastic program this past Sunday at the NC Museum of History. The seamless mix of music and some of the stories behind it made for a truly entertaining, educational, engaging performance!… Audience members, young and old alike, sat in rapt attention throughout the program, a tribute to how enthralled everyone in […]
Jamie Katz, Program Associate
PineCone - Piedmont Council of Traditional Music Raleigh, NC

Students Had A Wonderful Experience

Thank you so much for performing yesterday. My students really had a wonderful experience. I had the group you did the workshop with today for class and we talked about you for at least a half hour. They were so mesmerized by your guitar playing and singing. I had them write a reflection on their […]
Ann M. Derrick, Director of Choirs
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake HS Burnt Hills, NY

A Consummate Musician

I wanted to thank you again for the time you spent with our students here at West Cary in North Carolina.  Our kids really appreciated the history you shared, the oral traditions that were passed on to you, your humor, and the pacing of your lesson/performance.  Hell, I just enjoyed your playing. You are a […]
Tom Jenner, Director of Bands
West Cary Middle School, Cary, NC 

Thanks For Coming To The School

Once again, I want to thank you for coming to the high school.  It was a wonderful experience for our students, and I appreciate your willingness to perform in the loosely structured environment of the day. One faculty member told me that Robert Johnson was her favorite musician, and that she really enjoyed how you […]
Joe Jossey, Managing Director
Elberton Theater Elberton, GA

Sophisticated, But Also Intimate

What worked about your show was that it was sophisticated but also intimate.  These students identified with you, with your stories and your struggles, and I think this identification kept them engaged, open and so respectful of your work… And so, I write to give you the praise that we, as people, so rarely take […]
Staci Sanders, Family Programming
The ArtsCenter, Carrboro NC

It Doesn’t Get Much Better Than That!

With Scott’s performance, you don’t just get a guy singing songs. He’s a great storyteller, historian, and educator. From the minute he starts, you know you’re with someone who cares deeply about both music and people. He brings music at the highest level, and happens to be fun to be around. It doesn’t get much […]
Shane W. Cadman, Artistic Director
Ruth B. Shannon Theatre for the Performing Arts, Whittier College, Whittier, CA

It Meant A Lot to Our Audience

For our in-house outreaches, Scott Ainslie gave two 50-minute performances for K-8 students (with 300-400 students in each), and kept them engaged and interested the whole time. One parent who has come to many outreach events said that his was the best outreach she had ever been to at the Shannon Center. At the public […]
Shane W. Cadman, Artistic Director
Ruth B. Shannon Theatre for the Performing Arts, Whittier, CA

Outstanding Musician; Top Notch Educator

I already knew you were an outstanding musician, but watching you interacting with the kids proved that you are a top notch educator as well. I don’t want to go overboard here, but I have to tell you that I was being approached by teachers for a week after your visit, all raving about every aspect of […]
Preston Peek, Arts-In-Education Coordinator
North Ridge Elementary School, Raleigh NC

Standing Ovation from Students

I have worked here for two years and have only seen a standing ovation by a middle school/high school audience one other time.  This is simply an age group that rarely shows that type of emotional response in our setting. –The Arts Center, Carrboro, NC
Arts-In-Education Coordinator
The ArtsCenter, Carrboro NC

Even A Week Later

Thank you for the opportunity to host musician and historian Scott Ainslie at Park Elementary. Students sang, clapped along and responded thoughtfully and enthusiastically. Even a week later, they recall the types of instruments that he showed them and information about the origins of Blues and Jazz.  
Elementary Teacher Evaluation
Park Elementary School, Pittsburgh, PA

Ainslie’s Performance Was Extraordinary

Scott Ainslie’s performance was extraordinary. Students positively glowed throughout the concert and were impressed with his scholarly knowledge of Blues history and his musical technique. Students assigned Ainslie’s show the highest possible rating on the survey scale. If Ainslie comes back to town, I’d plan to take students to his shows again in a heartbeat. It […]
Teacher Comments
Calliope Concerts Executive Summary, Pittsburgh, PA

We Are Still Reeling

We are still reeling from the after-effects of your visit. I’ve heard nothing but positive comments from teachers and students who were lucky enough to witness first hand your demonstration and knowledge of the Blues. As for me, I learned way too much from you on the suject of the history of Blues and plan […]
Thom Wood
Lamar High School, Darlington SC

Blues Like an Electric Shock

Last, but definitely not least, was Scott Ainslie, a virtuoso of Delta blues slide guitar. When he walked on stage, his 1931 National steel guitar shone like a polished silver chalice and he played it as if it were sacred. Scott has spent a great deal of time learning from the traditional blues players of […]
Ellen Arthur
The Spectator, Durham NC

He Lives In The Groove

Durham resident Scott Ainslie led the way, accompanied by his trusty National Steel guitar and a heart full of the best of Robert Johnson, Blind Boy Fuller, and Blind Blake. His set was a combination of extremely well-played blues and brief sorties into the history of the music, the musicians, and even his guitar. The […]
Philip Van Vleck
The Spectator, Durham NC

A Consummate Storyteller

Scott Ainslie is renowned not only for his Robert Johnson-esque guitar picking, but as a consummate story teller who peppers his shows with heartfelt and often harrowing true stories about the prejudice, violence and poverty that underpin the Blues and affected many of its most influential musicians. –Executive Summary, Pittsburgh, PA
Executive Summary
Calliope Concerts

Exactly What We Hope For

Your concert was a wonderful success for Calliope. When we set about crafting a unique and diverse series every season, evenings like that and performances like yours are exactly what we hope for. From a diverse audience of over 500 in the hall that evening, I am still receiving congratulatory e-mails from enthusiastic board members […]
Steve Miklas
Calliope, Pittsburgh PA

No Ordinary Blues Musician

Ainslie is no ordinary Blues musician. Not hardly. He has delved into the music and its history and doesn’t mind sharing it. – “Year’s 10 Best Jazz & Beyond,” Pittsburgh, PA 2003
Nate Guidry
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Best Assembly We’ve Ever Had

It is rare to have a performance that is so completely engaging and so universally praised afterwards. Faculty were impressed that they learned some things about the history of music that they did not know. Many students and faculty commented to me that it was the best assembly we had ever had. – Upper School […]
Jennifer Newitt
Friends Academy

Talent, Passion, Skill

I really enjoyed and appreciated your presentation here at Columbia Falls High School…Your talent and obvious passion for your work impressed me, and your skill at gaining the attention of a large group of teenagers left me a bit envious! – High School teacher, Columbia Falls, MT 4/25/09
Gene Marcille
Columbia Falls High School

They All Saw the Same Show

The kids really, really enjoyed it, and all I talked with got a lot out of the performance and talk, too. My first period…was jumping all over themselves to say what they enjoyed. My third period branched off into another discussion of both Emmett Till; how time moves more slowly in some spaces; and even […]
David Snively
Cary Academy

A Fantastic Performance

I had the privilege to be in the audience during you show Friday morning. You delivered a fantastic performance. I teach American history and when my students returned to class they had nothing but positive comments, and an new enthusiasm to learn more about the 1930’s. They immediately made the connection between the literature that is […]
Jonathan Miller
Watauga High School

Magical in Both Song and Storytelling

We truly enjoyed your time here and the schools cherished your outreach.  Your blues workshop scored a major impression on the guitarists from all over the West Georgia region.  The evening concert was magical both in song and storytelling, as your spell-bound audience applauded with as much energy as you performed.  What a gift you […]
Robert B. Jennings
University of West Georgia

Tied to the Life and Work of Robert Johnson

During his career, Ainslie has become particularly tied to the life and work of late bluesman Robert Johnson, whose legend states that he sold his soul to the devil at a Mississippi crossroads. Ainslie was recently part of the official centennial celebration of Johnson’s birth, serving on a discussion panel and playing at the event. Ainslie […]
Stephanie Mangino
The Winchester Star

Teaching the Historical Roots of Blues

Scott Ainslie stepped onto the stage and swept back his long, graying hair. He slung his 1931 National, a guitar he bought 20 years ago in a pawn shop in Georgia, over his arm. And then he began to play the blues. Teaching the historical roots of blues music, especially to the younger generation, is […]
Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
Westminster Patch

Scott Ainslie Has a High Calling

Scott Ainslie has a high calling. He’s a blues and traditional roots musician, a blues historian, storyteller, teacher, record producer, and ethnomusicologist. He’s developed a strong voice and conscience to match. Ainslie has made a point of studying the culture and history of the blues musicians whose songs he sings. He says, “Knowing the background […]
Robin Tolleson
Blue Ridge Now

About Educational Workshops for Students

Kept Performance Moving

Scott Ainslie was friendly (I spoke with him after the performance) and he invited students to look for his performances and more information on Youtube and his website. Ainslie was very prompt and communicated well. He realized the time constraints of the class period, so he kept the performance moving. He’s aware of his audience […]
Teacher Evaluations
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Didn’t Quit ‘Til The Bell Rang

Scott is an outstanding musician and historian. Students and teachers were actively involved in this assembly. Ainslie was a complete package. Got right into it and didn’t quit ‘til the bell rang.
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Best Event

I have been teaching at my school for 13 years and this was the best cultural event I have attended. Mr. Ainslie was a calming, loving presence for the students.  
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Command of Audience

Scott’s command of the audience and his professional information was wonderful.
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Excellent Presenter

Scott Ainslie was an excellent presenter who understood the age group he was presenting to and provided a program appropriate for that level.
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Entertaining Singer, Musician, and Speaker

Our students learned about the history and context of African-American influence on the development of blues as well as the birth of the cigar-box guitar and the banjo. Ainslie presented information about different styles of music, particularly regional origins of blues. Ainslie got the students involved…This was a wonderful, engaging educational and musical experience, very […]
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Well-Educated and Passionate

My students saw a man who was passionate about his music and were exposed to variety of musical instruments. They heard about the history of the Blues. Ainslie combined the idea that musicians can be well-educated and be passionate about music at same time.
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Great Connections

My students are 7th graders so this was a great connection between cultural heritage of western Africa that was brought to the U.S. They very much enjoyed the music. They were also interested in the origins of blues and the different instruments that Scott brought with him.
Teacher Evaluations
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Great Historical Information

Students experienced what was most likely a music genre that they have never heard before. In addition, they learned about the African influences in American music. Ainslie presented great historical information regarding the origins of various genres of music and how music and instruments evolved over the years.
Teacher Evaluation
United Arts, Raleigh NC 2014

Studied with Elder Musicians

A Phi Beta Kappa and honors graduate of Washington & Lee University, Ainslie also studied with elder musicians on both sides of the color line – in the Old-Time southern Appalachian fiddle and banjo traditions, as well as with black Gospel and Blues musicians. Ainslie has received numerous awards and grants for his work documenting […]
Music-Arts Reporter
The Mountaineer, Waynesville NC

An Important Teacher and Protagonist

Ainslie is a beautiful stylist who respects the country blues and acoustic blues music, feels it deep down to his soul, and understands its essence. He is not just an important bridge to the original blues, he is an important teacher and protagonist of the genre.
Outreach Coordinator
Mississippi Valley Blues Society, LeClaire IA

Old Blues and Southern Musical Traditions

Ainslie is one of the most important cultural protagonists of the old blues and Southern musical traditions.
Outreach Coordinator
Mississippi Valley Blues Society, LeClaire IA

Connecting Science To Music: YouTube.com

I just found two lessons on YouTube.com that you did with high school physics teacher Dr. Tom Altman about resonance and wavelength. I loved the fact that you connected science to music. I am a middle school science teacher in Barrington, NH and I am starting a unit on sound. I have the typical old […]
A Middle School Science Teacher
Barrington, NH

Students Had A Wonderful Experience

Thank you so much for performing yesterday. My students really had a wonderful experience. I had the group you did the workshop with today for class and we talked about you for at least a half hour. They were so mesmerized by your guitar playing and singing. I had them write a reflection on their […]
Ann M. Derrick, Director of Choirs
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake HS Burnt Hills, NY

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