Major, Minor Keys Teacher Resources
Find Major, Minor Keys educational ideas and activities
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People, Music and Culture
Fourth graders begin the instructional activity by listening and singing along to various songs from different cultures. In groups, they research the ways different groups have used music to express themselves and compare and contrast them in an organizer. They work together to create their own piece of music that represents their own culture. To end the instructional activity, they develop a new culture and another original piece of music.
Style and Setting in Music
Eighth graders investigate how historical events tie to musical periods of the past and present (setting), how larger works can contain smaller sections, how to listen for these smaller sections, how to identify major tonalities (keys) and how music vocabulary is used in the process.
Geography: Where on Earth Are the Postage Stamp Countries?
Seventh graders research the six European "postage stamp" (small) countries and research interesting facts about them. In groups, they are assigned to one of the six countries of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, or Vatican City. On poster board, 7th graders create a postage stamp for their country.
Students test people's response to different kinds of music. In this music lesson plan, students associate different cords with different feelings or moods. They then observe a video that describes different feelings related to different music. Students are then led through an experiment in the classroom to different chords and the scientific method that goes along with this process. The then conduct their own experiments.
Music Expresses Emotion
Singing, emotion, and music are explored by the class as they think about the expressive sounds and lyrics of each song they hear. They read, play, and sing several songs taken from musical theater productions and discuss the tones, emotions, and ways each song expresses feeling.
Music Assessment: 8 measure piece
Eighth graders compose an eight measure piece in a major key that utilized some form of wind instrument, body percussion and voice. They notate their composition on staff paper prior to the assessment and perform their composition.
People, Music, and Culture
Fourth graders sing, play, and listen to music from other cultures. In this cultural appreciation lesson plan, 4th graders compare and contrast the music of other cultures. As a culminating activity, students invent their own culture, define their culture's parameters for musical expression and compose a piece of music for their culture.
Music and Emotions
Students demonstrate, through art, an understanding of emotions as heard in music. They listen to various pieces of music and also read a Dr. Seuss book. They discuss the differences found between major and minor keys in terms of emotions.
What Key Am I In Anyway?
Pupils demonstrate the ability to determine the name of any major key signature. After a lecture/demo, students utilize worksheets imbedded in this plan to gain practice identifying key signatures.
Composing a Warm-Up
Seventh graders compose a series of melodic motifs that can be used as vocal warm-ups. Using proper melodic and rhythmic notation allows students to exercise their abilities to navigate a staff and meter. This demonstrates if they are able to modify according to changing musical challenges.
Romantic Period in Music, Art, and Literature
“Romanticism aims at enlarging experience by exploring the real.” This excerpt from Jacques Barzun’s From Dawn to Decadence introduces a PowerPoint that examines the characteristics of and the major figures in music, art, and literature created during the Romantic Age.
Keys and Scales are Sets
Music theory lessons can be very tricky for some people. Children with a basic understanding of musical concepts take on the task of transposing music and identifying scale sets. This would be a good topic to address prior to discussing circle of fifths. The lesson plan includes sheet music and two worksheets.
A Pentatonic Scale Activity
The famous Japanese tune, "Cherry Blooms" was composed using a pentatonic scale. Budding musicians explore the nature and theory behind the pentatonic scale as well as the East Asian music it is commonly used in. Multiple extensions are suggested for learners with musical experience, as well as adaptations for those with very little experience.
Music of My Heart
Students view and discuss the movie, Music of the Heart. They compare/contrast two versions of the song, Music of My Heart, identify characteristics of heroes, and sing the song, Music of My Heart.
A Pentatonic Scale Activity
Learners get a taste of music theory as they explore variations of the C-Major scale. They discuss traditional music styles that often incorporate pentatonic scales in their composition, music theory, and practice. Then they use a keyboard (piano) to practice and play with variations of the scale.
Fourth graders explore the music of Buenos Aires as they hear and then dance the Tango. They practice basic Tango rhythm, learn to sing the song, "Any Turkey can Tango," then practice a few Tango-riffic dance steps with a partner. What a fun instructional activity. Music is not included.
Patriotic Music: Three Cheers for the Red, White & Blue
Students examine the patriotic songs of the 1940's and compare them to those of today. They identify elements that classify a song as patriotic, listen to several examples and complete Venn diagrams contrasting different examples.
Chords and Improvisation
Tenth graders identify and interpret how to recognize traditional harmonic progressions such as I-V-I in writing or performance. They experience improvising simple melodic patterns based on traditional harmonic progressions. By coupling chord identification and improvisation, 10th graders learn that a certain pitch has both melodic and harmonic attributes.
Emotions: Exploring Feelings
Students demonstrate through art an understanding of emotions as heard in music. They also discuss the differences found between major and minor keys in terms of emotions.
Name that Tune!
Sixth graders practice songs with their musical instruments. In this name that tune lesson plan, 6th graders play the songs for their family members while they try to guess the tune. Parents provide feedback on students progress.