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).


  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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