Introduction to the Modes

Introduction To The Modes

Jeffrey Darrohn
[email protected]
Abbotsfield School

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:



High School


Music Theory


Piano or Keyboard/Work station or guitar. Possible CD recordings using Modes.


45 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

The students need to know the C major scale.

NAfME standard of 1994 Addressed:

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 2014: Responding 


Use of the piano or instrument with accompaniment-live or recorded. Use of Jamey Aebersold materials or The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine to supplement the learning in the classroom. Use projector or powerpoint.


The students will analyze and play the examples in the first part of the worksheet solo or in pairs. Using a keyboard or other instrument the students will experiment and compose an easy melody consisting of quarter notes based on the Modal Chords located beneath the Melody line. The students will also identify the quality of the Modal Chords and write their name in the assigned lines.


The instructor will play the written Modal Chords and their Scales at the keyboard. The instructor will improvise Melodies based on the Modal Progressions on the worksheet and other non-listed examples using a keyboard or other instrument. The instructor will demonstrate how to proceed on doing the excerises.


The instructor will evaluate the students worksheets for well grounded and thoughout melodies place in the measures corressponding with their Modal Chords. Neatness will also be accounted for.

Follow Up:

The use of longer examples, more complicated rhythms and Modes based on different starting notes and keys.

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