• Grade 5: Pitch

  • We’ve Got the Blues

    Aim: How do we recognize and notate the blues scale?
    Summary: By listening to and looking at the qualities of various scales, students learn to identify the differences between the major, minor, and blues scales.
    Standards: US 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9; NYC 1, 2, 3
    Modality: performing, responding, creating
    Materials: recording of a blues song(s), Teacher Worksheet, pitched instrument
    Time Required: 25 minutes
    This activity is part of: Music Educators Toolbox

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  • Instructions   |   Going Deeper   |   Related Content   |   Assessment
  • MET K Instructions Pitch
    1. Listen to an excerpt from a blues song and ask students to discuss what they hear in the music.

      Listening suggestions:
      “I’m a Man” by Bo Diddley
      “The Sky is Crying” by Stevie Ray Vaughan
      “Everyday I Have the Blues” by B.B. King
      “Chirpin’ the Blues” by Alberta Hunter
    2. Explain that this type of music is called the “blues” and it has its own special scales, which are created by the addition of sharps and flats.
    3. Review C-major and C-minor scales, and then play an example of a blues scale. Have students compare the differences between the three.
      MET G5 TW Three Scales
      Download Teacher Worksheet:
      Three Scales
      • How many notes are in each scale?
      • Are the scales different? How?
      • Why do you think these types of scales are called the blues?
    4. As a class, turn a C-Major scale into a 7-note blues scale by adding sharps and flats.
    5. Sing a blues scale as a class and have students add their own blues lyrics. (Example: “I’ve got the blu-oo-oos.”)
  • MET K Going Deeper Pitch
    1. Research blues composers and the root of the blues.
    2. Ask students to transpose the blues scale to other key signatures.
  • MET K Related Content