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Singing Scales

Singing scales – Introduction to Major and Minor


Most pieces of simple music use one scale throughout the whole piece. A scale is a pattern of notes organized in order of pitch (low to high or high to low). In Western music, scales usually contain 8 notes.

Sing a major scale together (or sing along with this video).

Tips:

  1. If your students are unfamiliar with scales or singing scales, have them first listen to you or watch the scale video to the left.
  2. After they’ve listened to a scale a few times, go pitch by pitch and have them match your pitch. Start with one pitch at a time and add additional pitches. You could also play this video for them instead.

Discuss with your students: There are many different types of scales that you can get by changing the pattern of the notes – by making some notes higher or lower. The first scale you sang was called a major scale. Let’s change the pattern of notes to now sing a minor scale. Follow the same singing exercises as above to get your students used to the sound of a minor scale.


After listening to and singing the two different types of chords, major and minor, discuss:

  • How do they sound different?
  • How does each of them feel or what moods do they create?
  • When might you choose to use one scale over another?
  • Can you think of songs that use major scales or minor scales? Or can you change notes to turn a major song into a minor song? Listen to this minor key version of Row Row Row Your Boat to hear what that might sound like.
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