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In this lesson, students learn musical notes by using phone numbers
6, 7, 8
Title: Phone Number Song/ Identifying “C”/Playing the “C” scale
By – Bob Urbani
Primary Subject – Music
Secondary Subjects –
Grade Level – 6 – 8
Materials: Piano/staff paper
Begin by showing a picture of the piano keyboard. Have students notice the “black” keys, and tell them that they’re sharp or that they flat a note. Now have them notice that the “black” keys are in combinations of 2′s and 3′s. For every group of two “black” keys, the white key to the left is the note “C.” Turn the piano around so the kids can see the keyboard and stand in back, using an eraser of a pencil play each “C” on the piano pointing out it is to the left of every group of two “black” keys. Stop in the middle and have them take note. The name of the piano is usually in the middle so the note “C” that is in the middle will be called MIDDLE “C.” Now have students come up one at a time and find the note “C” on the piano. If one student finds middle “C” the next one has to go higher or lower so no note is repeated.
Now explain that a major scale has eight notes. Have them listen and watch you play while you count to eight. Ask them which direction makes the scale go higher? So that shows that I have to go in the opposite direction to make the notes go lower. Play the scale going lower. Now have each student come up and play the “C” scale. They have to find the note “C” again and then count to eight going first to their right then to their left. Now pass out your staff paper. The students will copy what you write on the board. Using whole notes start below the staff with the note “D” then go up to the note “C” on the staff. Tell them we are now going to add one note and add the note middle “C.” Explain the ledger lines to the students and tell them why the staff has only five lines. While they are copying what is on the board be sure to walk around and see if they are doing this correctly. When everyone is finished, tell them we are going to add two more notes to the staff. One the next line above “C” on the staff is the note “D” and we will add a note at the beginning of the staff before middle “C” and we will call it “B.” Now have the students write the name of the note on top of each note. When they finish, have them write numbers below the notes. Starting with low “B” as zero and going up to high “D” as the number 9. Using another line of staff paper below what they have just copied write on the board the school phone number using notes. Our number is 473-3084 so the notes on the staff would be F, Bb(because all numbers in our area start with 4, 7 that will put us in the key of F so that is why the B is flat) E, E, B, C, E. Now play the number for them.
Have them write their phone number using notes of the scale on their second line. If they have an unlisted number or do not have a phone tell them to make up a number. If it is a cell phone make up a different number so that all numbers will start the same. Now turn in all papers and play each number having students try to guess whose phone number. The first few will be just wild guesses but as you play all of them it will start to narrow down to five or four or three students.
Now have the students get out a piece of paper to rate or grade the phone numbers three would mean they liked the sound two would be they thought it was OK and one would mean they didn’t like it. Now mix up the papers and play the numbers again have one student come to the board to keep tally and start playing the phone numbers while the kids rate them 3, 2 or 1. After each number is played let them raise their hands if they voted 3, 2 or 1 and have that recorded on the board.
When you finish pick the two numbers that had the highest score and use them to make a melody. First play one then the next then reverse to find out which way they liked the melody. Write it on the board and have them copy the notation. Now have students (on the paper they rated the numbers) write their first and last name. Below their name have them write the rhythm that goes with the name. Example: John Brown would be two quarter notes, Suzy Smith would be two eights and a quarter note. Have each student play their name by tapping their hands on their knees or a pencil on their desk. Now let’s use their names as rhythms to go with our phone number melody. Play the first three or four notes and find out which name rhythm sounds best with the notes and continue until all notes are used. Play the notes used in reverse with name rhythms. Now add chords to see which chord sounds best with the rhythms and notes. The FINAL step is to add lyrics that can be about school, home, life, anything as long as it is POSITIVE. OR just leave it as a melody with chords and pick what kind of music would it fit in with today. Could it be a Country song? Rock? Pop? Rap? Etc.
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