Secondary Lesson Plan

Project 4

Steven Schopp


Making the Changes


National Standards: 


1.   Singing along and with others a varied repertoire of


2.   Performing on instruments, alone and with others a

varied repertoire of music

3.   Improvising melodies, variations and accompaniments

4.   Composing and arranging music within specific guidelines

6.   Listening to, analyzing, and describing music


Objective:          Students will be able to improvise on a two chord, G/F riff in 4/4 meter, staying within the boundaries of the chord


                           Students will understand the relationship between the notes in, and around specific chord structures, and those available for improvisation


Purpose:            This lesson will help demystify the process of improvisation by helping students to establish a relationship between chord structure and improvised melody.  It will provide specific instruction in National Standard #3,


Materials Needed:


      Classroom computer

      Powered speakers for the computer

      Computer LCD projector

      PowerPoint software

      Band in a Box software

      Set of 25 tubular chimes or hand bells (Malmark or =)

      A student model recorder (optional)

                      (the instrument, not a tape recorder)

Anticipatory Set:  As students enter the room, the two chord (G/G) riff will be playing. 




         1.  Teacher will prepare the chimes using all octaves

              for G B D and F A C chords.

2.   Class will divide into two groups.  The group on the left will be given tubular chimes G B D (using multiple octaves) and will play the G Major chord.  The group on the right will have chimes F A C and play the F chord.

3.   Teacher will demonstrate use of the tubular chimes.

4.   The teacher will project a rhythm matrix through PowerPoint (see sample below). 

5.   Students will practice the matrix rhythms as projected on the screen by clapping rhythms

6.   Using 4/4 meter, students will alternate between the G and F chord, playing both steady beats and the matrix patterns as directed by the teacher.  The group on the left will play the G chord and the right will play the F chord.

7.   Once the chord patterns are fairly solid, the teacher will add a G, F chord patterns using Band in a Box.  This pattern will simply consist of two measures of F followed by 2 measures of G chords, set to repeat indefinitely.  This pattern is played with a 4/4 swing jazz rhythm.

8.   In order to help students feel the chords, the Band in the Box pattern should remain on indefinitely in the background, almost like a mantra.

9.   Next have class play rhythms from the matrix with the   Band in a Box pattern.

       10. This may be followed with individual rhythm solos with a

              single chime for each chord (e.g. G and F).

        11. The students will now stop using the chimes while the

              Band in the Box continues (improv with the chime

              pattern takes too much coordination).

        12. Using a call/response pattern, the teacher will scat sing

              to the class in patterns using:

-       a single note

-       minor 3rd

-       scale variations

-       open improv on the chords

         13. The class will respond to the teachers improvisation

         14. As the class gets comfortable with this, individual

               students can solo on the response to the teacher

               or even the group.

         15. A recorder can also be used, playing from d to   d

               (Note:  With these chords, every note is in the chord or

               a close enough neighbor that it all ≥makes the



Check For Student Understanding:  


The teacher will observe students as the class progresses to see that all are participating and try to involve any who are not.  As the class improves (with many repeating renditions) individuals or small groups will sing/play recorder, allowing the teacher the opportunity to assess individual progress.




         Once the class is comfortable with the two-chord pattern, a       third chord can be added easily in Band in a Box. 


The two-chord pattern may be varied by changing meter from 4 to 3.


Students who play instruments (or sing) can do solos with the various Band in a Box patterns


Students may create their own rhythm matrix.








Note:  In the absence of tubular chimes or hand bells, this lesson could begin at procedure #4 omitting any references to tubular chimes.




Rhythm Matrix (can use with Word if PowerPoint is not available)