Creating A Basic Blues Scale

A lesson plan by Barry Eli, Cape Henlopen High School, DE

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments
Notation
CAI

Level:

9-12 Music Theory or Jazz Improvisation

Equipment:

MacIntosh G4 Lab
Korg X5D Keyboards
Sibelius or Finale9 software

Duration:

90 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Knowledge of major scales in all keys
Knowledge of major and minor intervals.
Basic keyboard skills
Basic knowledge of Sibelius notation program

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 1: Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
MENC 2: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
MENC 3: Improvising melodies, harmonies, and accompaniments.
MENC 5: Reading and notating music.
MENC 6: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.

Materials:

Mac G4 Laptop with projector
Powered speaker system

Worksheets:

To download any of the following worksheets Mac users control-click and Windows users right-click the following links.

Worksheet 1 – C Scale

Worksheet 2 – F Scale
Worksheet 2 – Answers

Objectives:

  1. Students wil be able to take a major scale in any key and create a basic blues scale from it.
  2. Students will be able to play the scale on the keyboard into Sibelius and play it back.
  3. Students will be able to sing a major scale and a basic blues scale.

Procedures:

Worksheet will be in a template Sibelius file to work in
*Prior to each activity the instructor will play the next step and ask for feedback- what do you hear that is different? Have the students sing what they hear.

  1. Students will create a C major Scale- play it and sing it back
  2. Students will re-write the C scale and lower the 3rd note of the scale 1/2 step- play and sing both scales back
  3. Students will re-write the C scale including the lowered 3rd and then lowering the 7th note of the scale-play and sing back
  4. Students will re-write the C scale with the lowered 3rd and 7th but eliminate the 2nd and 6th notes-play and sing back
  5. Students will write the abbreviated scale and add an extra 4th note- they will be asked to raise the extra 4th 1/2 step creating 1 b3 4 #4 5 b7 8- play and sing back

Evaluation:

  1. Students will demonstrate the ability to change a major scale in the key of F (Worksheet #1 Student Excercise) into a basic blues scale
  2. Students will demonstrate the ability to change any major scale into a basic blues scale
  3. Students will be able to sing and play a basic blues scales in a given key
  4. Students with instrumental ability will be able to play the scale on their instrument

Follow Up:

Creating other jazz scales i.e. Dorian
Apply the blues scale to the creation of a melody over a chord progression

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