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).
- If your students are unfamiliar with scales or singing scales, have them first listen to you or watch the scale video to the left.
- 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.