Improvising with the Eb Blues

Improvising with the Eb Blues

Timothy Connery
[email protected]
Crockett Middle School

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments


Middle School


General Music


Keyboard and use of a computer with notation/sequencing software for playback.


40 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

The student does not need any particular skills in order to understand this lesson.

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 2: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
MENC 3: Improvising melodies, harmonies, and accompaniments.


A written example of the chord changes for the Eb Blues will help students see how the blues is constructed. An audio system to play the Eb Blues accompaniment as the students play on the keyboard will be needed.


The student will have the experience of improvising using only the black keys on the keyboard.


Introduce or review the Blues as a form of music. Handout a work sheet that shows the chord changes for the blues in Eb and discuss how the blues is constructed. Discuss what improvisation is and how it is often used when performers play the blues. In playing the blues in Eb, the notes that can sound “right” when improvising on the keyboard are any of the black keys. (Length of discussion can be determined by the instructor depending on the length of the class and level of the students) 15-20 minutes. Play the Eb blues accompaniment created with notation or sequencing software through a computer so the tempo can be adjusted. Students can improvise using only the black keys along with the blues accompaniment that you have created. (Length of time will be determined by how many keyboards are available) 15-20 minutes


The instructor will hear each student improvise a solo.

Follow Up:

This lesson can be an introduction for a unit on the blues and improvising.

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