The Lockdown Blues

The aim of this lesson is for students to write lyrics for their own Lockdown Blues in which they will sing about what life is like in lockdown or isolation due to COVID-19! .

The lyrics will follow a traditional 12 bar blues lyric pattern of A A B.

The lyrics have a total of 3 lines. The first and second lines will be the same and the third line will be different. The final word of lines A and B should rhyme.

Here’s an example: 

A I woke up this morning and I found myself alone

A I woke up this morning and I found myself alone

B I got nothin’ to do so I’ll go play my trombone

In addition, the lyrics often follow a “problem-solution” pattern.

Problem: I woke up this morning and I found myself alone

Solution: I got nothin’ to do so I’ll go play my trombone

Here’s another example. This example is a departure from the problem-solution pattern and some liberties have been taken with the rhyming of “cough” and “stopped”, but it still works!

A My face is hot and I think I have a dry cough

A My face is hot and I think I have a dry cough

B Mum thinks it’s Corona and her heart nearly stopped

Writing prompts

Here are a few writing prompts that students might like to use to spark some ideas:

  • There’s no toilet paper
  • I’m stuck in the house with my brother/sister
  • I can’t get a haircut
  • We’ve run out of pasta
  • Social distancing
  • I can’t see my friends
  • Stay 6 feet away
  • School is closed
  • 4 weeks in isolation… 

Lead-up activities

Before doing this lyric-writing activity with students, you can discuss the history of the blues, listen to well-known blues musicians and learn the 12 bar blues chord progression. If you’d like some useful blues music links and other resources, you can take a look at my earlier post – 41 Free Resources For Teaching The 12-Bar Blues.

Extension activities

After they’ve written their lyrics, students can practice singing their blues song over a backing track. This is a great way to have a go at improvising a melody. Even a two-note melody, based on the tonic and the flattened third of the scale will sound effective. In C major, the

Here’s a backing track they could use: Blues in E (90bpm): Backing track

Once they are confident, they could record themselves singing over the backing. Either an audio or video recording would work well. 

This would also make an excellent Flipgrid activity – set up a Flipgrid topic for the assignment and ask students to submit their video to you. Wondering what Flipgrid is? It’s a fantastic FREE video response platform that makes it easy for students to submit videos to you. If you’d like to learn more about Flipgrid, take a look at my free live webinar titled Flipgrid for Music Teachers Step By Step.

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The Lockdown Blues lesson instructions
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Download your copy of the student worksheet here:

Lockdown Blues student worksheet
Click the button to download your Lockdown Blues student worksheet

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Looking for More Resources for Music Teachers?

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