Creating Chord Progressions – A Music Lesson for Years 9/10

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Summary of Lesson Plan:

This plan provides students with the opportunity to learn and rehearse basic chords and apply various elements of music in order to perform guitar accompaniment for a vocalist. The suggestions outlined can provide for several lessons of activity for your students depending on the skill level and other factors. Some of the elements covered may include:

Rhythm
Regular and irregular time signature and beat subdivisions; triplets and duplets; further time signature
Rhythmic devices including syncopation, rhythmic motif, rhythmic augmentation and diminution

Pitch
Melodies and chords based on major, minor and modal scales; tonal centres; modulation; consonance and dissonance; chromaticism; pitch devices including riff, ostinato and pedal note

Dynamics and expression
Dynamic gradations; expressive devices and articulations relevant to style such as rubato, ornamentation, terraced dynamics, pitch bending, vibrato, oscillation, filters and pedals

Form and structure
Structures appropriate to styles and repertoire studied including theme, hook, motivic development, head, sonata form, interlude and improvisation

Timbre
Identifying instruments and voice types by name and method of sound production; use of mutes, pedals, harmonics, digitally manipulated sound, distortion, and techniques appropriate to style

Skills (including aural skills)
Performing with expression and technical control and an awareness of ensemble.
Students will be creating chord progressions with a very basic strum pattern.

Australian Curriculum Links:

Year 9 & 10 Music:

 

Lesson Plan Sequence:

Introduction and Preparation:

  • Each group of students will need a chord chart.
  • Use the PDF attached: Major Chords In All Keys
  • Practice a selection of chords according to the ability level of your students.

Body:

  • Print several copies of the PDF Major Chords In All Keys
  • Cut out the chord diagrams into squares. Only cut out the chord shapes the students can perform.
  • Make several copies of the cards so you can have more than one bar of each chord.
  • There is also a PDF entitled Blank Chord Blocks provided so students can draw their own chord shapes. This is a good way to improve their understanding of chord formations.
  • When each group has a selection of chord cards cut out, they can randomly select the chords and play them in the order selected.
  • Experiment with mixing the order of chords chosen.
  • Write out the chord progressions of your choice and practice.
  • Use a basic common-time strum for beginners or a strum of your choice
  • You could also create a set of rhythm cards for strumming variations that can be chosen at random.

 

Example 1:

So the student chooses these cards:

Write a simple chord chart as follows:

 

Example 2:

  • Analyze these random chord progressions in terms of the elements of music.
  • You will notice that Example 1 sounds okay.
  • Example 2 however is not really that pleasing to the ear.
  • Discuss the reasons why some chord progressions “work” and some don’t.

Conclusion:

Looks like we need to learn more chords and get to know which ones work well together and which ones don’t.  The next session will look at minor chords and chord progressions that we know work  according to music theory.

 

Assessment Ideas:

 

Resources:

Download all of the lesson-related resources below:

 

 

 

If you like this lesson plan, or have an idea to improve it, please consider sharing it on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook or leave a comment below.

 

 

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