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Intervals and Major Scales

Subject: Music

Grade: 9, 10, 11, 12 and beyond

Standards addressed in this lesson:


Common Anchor 4: Analysis of the elements of music
Common Anchor 5: Rehearse, evaluate and refine individual or in collaboration with others
Common Anchor 6: Perform with attention to technical accuracy
I. Objectives:
A. Understand intervals in terms of musical notes including whole and half steps, major,
minor and perfect.
B. Identify whole and half steps, and major, minor, and perfect intervals.
C. Complete intervals given a beginning note and an interval name.
D. Build a major scale on any given whole tone
II. Materials needed:
Staff paper
Pencil with eraser
Instrument (Voice, Piano, String, Woodwind, Brass, or Mallet Percussion)
III. Introduction:
A. Introduction set- Play a major scale as an ensemble, then write it out on the board, asking
for students to name each note. Ask the students why they believe a major scale is set up
the way it is.
B. Quickly review previous material including how sharps and flats affect notes and what key
signatures mean.
C. Explain the topic: Identifying intervals and intervals that make up a major scale
IV. Enabling Activities:
A. Instructional Input What are intervals? What makes up a major and minor interval? What
makes up a perfect interval? How do sharps, flats and key signatures affect the interval?
What intervals make up a major scale? Use this pattern to show how to build a major scale
(w=whole step 1/2=half step). Any major scale is made of w-w-1/2-w-w-w-1/2.
B. Modeling and Demonstrating Use the staff on the board to show the notes so students
can count the lines and spaces between the intervals. Let them try on the board to build
and identify ascending intervals and any major scale.
C. Practice / Group Work (Part 1) Give each group a note to build a major scale on, have the
group prepare to play the scale they just built. Have groups perform their scale for the
ensemble as individuals begin part 2.
D. Practice/ Individual Work (Part 2) While the groups prepare part 1, write 4 complete
intervals and 4 incomplete intervals on the board for individuals to identify and complete
on a piece of staff paper as groups perform their scale.
E. Comprehension Go over the individual work in class. Ask each student to explain a
certain part about what intervals are, what makes up major, minor, and perfect intervals,
and what intervals make up a major scale.
V. Follow-up activities:
A. Regularly apply this lesson to their playing. Identify intervals in repertoire and warm ups.
In a large ensemble, have them build and play major scales, but dont use the same one
every day. A concert in B-flat can get boring.