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We All Want to Learn to Play an F Scale Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #: AELP-MUS0226
Submitted by: David Demnitz
Email: ddemnitz@workingfamilies.com
School/University/Affiliation: Greenburgh Eleven UFSD
Date: November 10, 2003

Grade Level: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


  • Arts

Duration: One 45 minute session

Description: Students will learn to play and sing an F scale with musical accompaniment

Goals: National Standards for Music Education 1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music. 2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music. 6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music. New York State Standards : Standard 1: Creating, Performing, and Participating in the Arts Standard 2: Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources

Objectives: Students will learn to play and sing a song which to learn what a musical scale is and to be able to play an F scale.

Teacher Materials: F Scale Song , electronic keyboards or piano, any instruments with diatonic notes, and percussion instruments. This activity really works with any pitched instruments with the white notes of the piano, except that the accompaniment uses a couple of black keys.


  • Melody: a series of musical pitches, played one at a time which seem connected
  • Accompaniment: a musical background
  • Steps: the space between two notes which are next to each other on the keyboard
  • Jumps: The space between two pitches which are not next to each other on the keyboard
  • Up: on the keyboard, toward the higher pitches, to the right
  • Down: on the keyboard, toward the lower pitches, to the left
  • Common time: grouping beats into sets, or measures, of four beats
  • Whole note: in Common time, a note which lasts a whole set or measure, or four beats.
  • Quarter note: in Common time, a note which lasts a quarter, or fourth, of a whole note, or one beat.


  • Review keyboard organization and musical scales. Students should know what the names of the white notes are, how to find them by looking at the pattern of black notes, which way is up and which way is down, and what steps and jumps are.
  • Play and sing the song for students please see attached score. They can join in singing almost immediately.
  • Review melody and accompaniment, and tell students that they’ll be playing the melody in this activity while you play the accompaniment. Play the melody and the accompaniment separately to demonstrate which is which, and define the terms: melody is a series of notes, played one at a time and which seem to be connected, and accompaniment is a word used to mean the musical background, supporting, in this case, the melody.
  • Review common time and whole notes. In common time, beats are grouped into sets or measures of four, and a whole note lasts a whole measure, or four beats. Tell students that the notes in this melody are mostly quarter notes, and, since a quarter or fourth of four beats is one beat, each melody note will get one beat. Now have the students count to four, clapping their hands as they say each number, and then sing the melody as they clap quarter notes in time.
  • Tell students that since we’re going to play an F scale, they should locate the F’s on the keyboard by looking at the black notes, either by counting up from C or by finding the white note that looks like C but is next to and below the group of three black notes.
  • Assign students to keyboards. You can get a bunch on each instrument; all they need is an octave each. Have them find an F and then play steps on white notes going down to the next F. You can tell them this is a lydian mode if you feel it’s necessary, but, of course, the melody is really in mixolydian mode beginning on the seventh degree of the scale.
  • Now for that little hook at the end of the melody. This is challenging. Play it like this first, once, then repeatedly and in time when they’re ready. Finally, add it to the end of the scale to complete the melody.
  • Have students play and sing the melody while you play accompaniment.
  • Assign students to play percussion if you want to include percussion instruments, or have students switch instruments so they can play the melody from a different instrument.
  • Show interested students the bass part and chords. Encourage students to learn the accompaniment, and when they can play it, play the song with students playing the accompaniment.
  • Assessment: Teacher observation of students’ participation and involvement in singing and playing.

    Useful Internet Resources:

    National Standards for Music Education – MENC: http://www.menc.org/publication/books/standards.htm

    New York State Standards for the Arts: http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/arts/pub/artlearn.pdf