The 12 bar blues has long been a favourite amongst music educators for teaching form, triads, the blues scale, cyclical chord progressions and music history. Here are some of my favourite online music resources:
25. Having trouble working out the meaning of those blues lyrics? This blues glossary might help. Includes the meaning of some slang terms and describes locations named in songs.
26. Play a little Desktop blues. Click on the Click Here button to start and then make sure to turn on the radio by clicking the appropriate button so that the backing track plays. You can then click on the coloured squares to “improvise” guitar licks and vocals. The vocals seem to work best: it’s difficult to get the guitar parts in time with the backing, but the vocals sound OK if the timing is “free”.
30.Smartboard interactive whiteboard Notebook file The Blues by Mrs Alison Friedman. Visit this page , scroll down the the 4th grade section and download The Blues file from the end of the list. If you don’t have Notebook software, you can open the file using SMART Notebook Express.
34. Using a software program like GarageBand, Acid Music Studio, Mixcraft, Sonar Home Studio or the GarageBand app on the iPad, have students create their own 12 bar blues backing. They can then play or sing a melody based on the blues scale over the top.
36. Visit the Quaver Music website and use the QStrum tool to create a 12 bar blues backing using chords and preset rhythmic patterns. Students will need to sign up with an email address in order to use the resource, but it’s well worth it (there are many excellent music tools available in addition to QStrum). Click on Kids Enter Here and sign up (or log in) to get started. Next, enter the Studio and choose QStrum (hover your mouse over the screen until you find it!). Using the QStrum tool, students can easily build their 12 bar blues backing using rhythmic patterns and chords and you can play it back using the controls at the top of the screen (extension activity: create a bass part and write some lyrics).
Add some visual interest to your own prepared materials by using these images in your Powerpoint or Keynote files and worksheets.
I’ve been a fan of Philip Martin for quite some time now. He is an artist who creates beautiful clipart for teachers and he has a number of images that would be useful for a unit of work on the blues, including these ones:
Well, I hope you find this collection useful! Any that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below.
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I love to simplify technology for music teachers. I help teachers from all around the world through the Midnight Music Community – an online professional development community where teachers can take online courses, ask questions and receive personalised help for the music tech goals.