Creating a Basic Blues Progression

Creating A Basic Blues Progression

A lesson plan by Barry Eli, [email protected], Cape Henlopen High School, DE

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments


9-12 Basic Music Theory or Jazz Improvisation


Mac G4 Lab with Korg X5D Keyboards


90 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Knowledge of Major Scales and Chords including Dominant 7ths
Knowledge of I, IV, V and V7 chords and chord symbols i.e. C, F, G, G7
Basic use of Band-In-A-Box
Knowledge of Creating a Basic Blues Scale
Basic skill at playing a keyboard
Some students will have knowledge of a band instrument

NAfME standard of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME standard of 1994: Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
NAfME standard of 1994: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

NAfME 2014: Performing 

NAfME standard of 1994: Improvising melodies, harmonies, and accompaniments.
NAfME standard of 1994: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.
NAfME standard of 1994: Reading and notating music.

NAfME 2014: Creating 

NAfME standard of 1994: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.
NAfME standard of 1994: Evaluating music and music performances.

NAfME 2014: Responding 


Mac G4 with projector
Speaker System
Band-In-A-Box Software
Sibelius or Finale Notation Software


Students will be able to create a basic blues chord progression in Band-In-A-Box

Students will be able to sing and/or play the root of each chord as it appears in the progression

Students will be able to use basic blues scale knowledge to improvise a basic melody over the progression


  1. Listen to a Band-In-A Box created blues progression – ask them to listen for number of measures
  2. Students will count measures or bars and create a Band-In-A-Box lead sheet of the appropriate lenghth (12 measures)
  3. Students will listen and identify where chords change as example plays and place markers on the measures where they think chords change- discuss and listen again
    1. At any time the students should be asked to sing the roots of the chords to help find the changes
  4. Having already discussed where the chords change and basic I,IV, V and V7 chords- play each change and listen and identify which chords occur and where-singing roots helps here
  5. Students will- by using the basic symbols for chords in C- input the correct chords into Band-In-A-Box


Students will play back their file and listen for the correct changes
Students will be able to sing roots of chords as they change
Students will input chord progression in a different key

Follow Up:

Improve Blues melody using “Creating Basic Blues Scale” knowledge over created progressions as Band-In-A-Box plays the progression

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