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Hi everyone, I'm Ms. Friar and welcome to your music lesson for today.

This is lesson 4 in unit 3 where we are exploring blues music.

Let's recap some bluesy shuffle rhythms. Clap back after me.

You're go, one, two, three and four.

And My go, one, two, three and four and.

My go.


That was a tricky one.


Great start.

Do you remember what those rhythms are called? Hopefully you remember that they are swung, okay? So our first one had swung quavers.

And that third rhythm, the one that was slightly trickier, had a triplet in the end.

a one, two, three, a one, two, three.

Let's try and recreate the drum double shuffle.

Using a bit of body percussion.

So we're looking for, we need a base sound.

I suggest you hit the table or hit your thigh or-- So we want a slightly lower sound, I'm going to use the table.

And I'm going to use-- I want a higher sound.

Okay, quite like that.

So here's my bass and here would be my stir on my hi-hat, which is the shuffle.

The bass is just on every beat of the bar, four beats.

And a one, two, three and four.

The shuffle goes over the top.

Okay, time for you to have a go.

You want a lower sound in one hand and a slightly higher pitch sound for your snare and hi-hat shuffle in your other hand.

Here we go.

I'll do a bar then you do a bar.

I'll do a bar then you do a bar.

I'll do a bar, you do a bar.

Full response, here we go.

A one, a two, a one, two, my go.

Your go.

Me now.

My go.

Great shuffling, guys.


Let's get started with the rest of our lesson and have a look at everything you're going to need today.

Well done.

So, everyone, in this lesson you are going to need either a piece of paper or a booklet to make notes in.

If you're working from a worksheet, that's great.

You're going to need a pencil and a different colour pen for marking or correcting and making notes.

And for our music making today, you will either need to be ready to use your vocals, because you could use that for the part we're looking at.

Or, there will be an option for you to play Ukulele, guitar or keyboard.

And remember, you could do keyboard on an app if you haven't access to a instrument right now.

So, pause your video.

So, pause the video, go and get anything you need on that list, so you can have a really good start today, and then come back, press play and we'll get into the next task.


Let's have a look at our agenda for today.

The first thing we're going to do is we're going to have a look at blues instrumentation.

Do you know what instrumentation means? Yes, it is the instruments that you will hear or see within that style of music.

So we're going to look at the instruments in a bit more detail in blues music.

Then we're going to have a look at what a head is in blues music.

It's a particular part.

And then you are going to have a go at learning the head, so the particular part in blues music of a piece called "Bags' Groove".

Right, let's get started.


So, as blues music developed throughout history, so did the instruments that you would hear and that you would see playing in the band.

During the period of the slave trade itself, really only basic instruments were used.

Like simple tambourines and other sort of percussion instruments with vocals.

After the abolition of slavery, African musicians began to use instruments like guitars and banjos.

And that is what we heard in some of our previous lessons with people like Robert Johnson and examples like Muddy Waters who would play guitar while singing at the same time.

As those communities moved away from the south of North America, so the south, the southern border and places like Mississippi, they moved inland away from plantations into more urban areas.

Places like Chicago and New Orleans.

Here, more and more instruments joined the blues band, until you had double basses, brass instruments like trumpets, trombones, clarinets and the development into the electric guitar.

So there's a bit of history in about how blues music was shaped depending on the instrument and where the people were and that's how you hear the blues music develop from the early 1900s into the sorts of '50s and 40's and 50's.

Okay, let's do a listening task now.

We're going to listen to a piece of music and watch a video of a performance called "Bags' Groove".

The lead performer, or the most solo artist, is a performer called Milt Jackson.

Read through the four questions on the left hand side of your screen.

And you're going to actively watch and listen to the music so that you can answer these four questions.

Okay, let's watch the video.

Okay, take a few moments now and think of what you can answer from those questions so far.

And then I'll play just the start of the video again for you.

Okay, here's the very start, just that first melody and the band that we're listening for.

Okay, pause the video now and take three minutes to finish your answers to those four questions.


Get your different colour pen ready, let's go through these answers now together.

Number one; Name two instruments you can hear or see.

So from the band that you can hear and see in the video, your choices were; vibraphone, which was the large looking xylophone instrument that the lead performer was playing at the front.

Then we had the drums, the drum kit.

We had piano.

And we had double bass.

So if you got two of those, well done, give yourself a big tick.

Number two; does the drum kit play at the start? The answer for that one is no.

It actually comes in after the vibraphone has played the melody for the first time and then the piano joins him and then the drum comes in.

Well done if you spotted that.

Three; which musical family does the solo instrument belong to and why? So here we were thinking between percussion, brass, woodwind and strings.

And the vibraphone is from the percussion family.

So although it's tuned, so all those different metal bars have different pitches, you still hit the bars of the vibraphone for it to make sound.

And that's how we know that an instrument is a percussion instrument, if we either rattle it or we hit it or we tap it or we shake it.

And the final question; can you hear swung quavers or triplets in the melody? Now we know what swung quavers are for exploring rhythm work with the shuffle pattern.

In this melody, yes, all the quavers the vibraphone plays in the head, or in that solo melody we heard, are swung.

Long, short.

So yes, those quavers were swung.

I'm going to look into that a bit more in a few moments.

Well done, make sure you've got all the correct answers written down on your piece of paper and let's look at what we're doing next in our lesson.


We've had a look at blues instrumentation and how it changed over a period of time.

And how blues music changed with it.

Now we're going to have a look at specifically what a head is.

That's the name of something in blues music.

So two pieces of information here with a question attached.

Let's see what you know.

All blues music has a head arrangement of a 12 bar structure.

What does this mean? Take 30 seconds now to think what that means.

The head arrangement, or the main arrangement of a blues, is a 12 bar structure.

What does this mean? We've learned about 12 bar structure.

Let's see if you remember.


So a 12 bar structure is where you use the chords or the bassline notes I, IV and V from a key or a scale and then you pout them into a structure of 12 bars.

And we did that all together when we explored chord work and bassline work in our early lessons in the blues unit.


Next question.

Within that 12 bar structure you will often hear a head melody.

Okay? A head melody.

What do you think this is? If you're not sure what a head melody is, then just write down what a melody is, because that will get you halfway there.

So what is a melody in a piece of music? Or what is a head melody in a piece of blues music? Write down what you think that might be.

Okay, let's have a look at the answer.

So a head melody is the main melody or theme that will repeat throughout a blues song.

So, it is a short melodic idea, well normally it's short, sometimes it can be quite long, but it is a tune, a melody, that you will hear that comes back again, again and again.

And different things happen between this repeated melody.

Definitely write that definition down if you didn't get it.

Really important we finish today's lesson and you know exactly what a blues head is.

So it's a main melody or theme that will repeat throughout a blues song.

Either pause and make sure you've got that information written down or if you're ready to go, let's carry on.

Great, we are flying through today's lesson.

So we've looked at blues instrumentation, tick.

We know what a head melody is.

And now you're going to have a go at learning and playing the head, the main melody, for "Bags' Groove" which was the song we listened to earlier with the vibraphone player Milt Jackson.

Okay, here's your task, here's your scenario.

A teacher in your school is planning an assembly to celebrate blues musicians, and has asked you to form a band and perform "Bags' Groove" by Milt Jackson.

Okay, so we're aiming towards a live performance and you're going to need to get a blues band together.

So we're going to need to look at all the parts that each member of the band is going to play.

And we're going to start with the head.

Right, so here is that main head melody of the blues song "Bags' Groove".

So, we're going to have a go and sing through it first, because then the melody and the rhythm and the pitches are going to be really clear in our mind for when we move to instruments.

And then I'm going to show you on several different ways and you're going to go off and practise it.

Just have it first, me and then you.

One, two, three, me first.

Two, three, four, your go and a-- Good.

So that tune is , Let's put a blues swing into it.


So, my turn first then your turn.

A one, two, three and Your go, in one, two, three and My go again.

Two, three and-- Your go in a one, two, three and Good.


So, you always have the option in your blues band to sing it if you fancy singing the Groove.

But I'm going to show you a few other options on some instruments you probably got access to either at school or at home.

So, now we've had a go through singing it and the pitches are really clear in our mind, let's transfer that into some instruments that you might want to play or some other members of your band might want to play to perform "Bags' Groove".

So one way that you can do it is using an app if you haven't got a keyboard or piano at hand.

Remember it's just a single note melody so it's very easy to do on the app.

So you find D in the same way as you would do on any normal keyboard or piano and we play it through.

Keep the rhythm in your head.

A one, two, three and Two, three, four.

Does anybody remember what a head does in a blues piece that we're going to need to practise for our performance? Hopefully you've remembered that it repeats.

It keeps coming back which is why it's the main theme of a piece of blues music.

So you'll need to be able to be confident enough with this head melody.

To be able to repeat it throughout your performance.

So let's have a go again and I'll play it a couple of times for you so you can see how the repeat fits.

A one-- Remember to count yourself in four beats in a bar.

A one, a two, a one, two, three and Two, three, four, here it comes again, and-- So you want to be able to practise it you want to be able to play it confidently several times on whichever instrument you're choosing.

So, keyboard, vocals or app.

Another option that we have is on the ukulele.

Okay, so And what you've got here to be able to see is the notes laid out for you on the strings and the frets and also the tab written out here.

The way that reading tab works, if you haven't done it before is, these are the strings of your instrument.

The numbers tell you which fret.

So the fret is the gap in between the vertical bars on your ukulele.

And then it's written out in the same way with the rhythm.

So, I'm going to do it slowly.

Five, three, one, three.

That's still all on that string.

One, change string, three.

One, three.

Okay? And you're going to spend loads of time practising that until you're really confident to be able to play it if you're going to do it on the ukulele for your band's performance.

Which could sound great.

Remember all blues music had lots of guitar and banjo.

So a ukulele would sound great in your blues band.

The other option is guitar.

We've put some guitar tab there for you.

Again, the same rules apply, the lines are your strings, the numbers are your frets.

So if you've got a guitar at home, please have a go at playing this "Bags' Groove" head on your guitar.

Time for you to go away and put all of those different options to practise.

So you're going to learn the "Bags' Groove" head on your chosen instrument; piano, keyboard or the app, singing, ukulele or guitar.

And there's the rhythm laid out for you again.

Spend a good 10 minutes at least, really getting your fingers or your vocals around this melody.

At least be confident because remember you're going to repeat it throughout your performance.


Okay, welcome back.

Hopefully you are nailing that groove and you can play it plenty of times really confidently.

What I'm going to have a look at now is how do we take that blues head, how do we take that melody and we put it with the rest of the band? And it's really simple.

The notes that have been used to create it will fit within any point in that 12 bar blues structure because it includes the notes from the blues scale.

So we can play the same G-C-D structure in the 12 bar blues.

And then you can just play the melody over the top.

Let me show you.

So what I'm going to show you now is the 12 bar blues structure.

And I have already recorded it on my piano.

You could do that on your phone by using a voice recorder or perhaps if you've got somebody else with you, that they can play the chord top of our blues structure part while you play the head either on a ukulele, your voice, another keyboard, an app, whichever you've chosen to practise your song.

So this is the 12 bar blues structure in G.

Okay, that's it.

And some of the chords have got a bluesy swung feel so they sound a bit more interesting.

So we're going to take our same head that we've learned.


One, two, three and-- Okay, and try and do it over the top.

Let's have a go.

One, two, three and Remember we need to repeat it.

And we're ready to go again.

Of course you could just play the keyboard over the top.

One, two, here comes again.

Well not so high.

And we're ready to go again.

Okay, off you go.

Well done, everyone.

Great lesson today.

We have really looked into why a head of a blues piece is so important.

The fact it keeps coming back.

And you've had a go at playing your own on your chosen instrument for the piece "Bags' Groove".

I hope you've enjoyed today.

I've really enjoyed taking you through it and having a go at playing it myself.

Don't forget, please share your brilliant music work with either somebody at home or a teacher, okay? They're great performances I'm sure, and meant to be heard by somebody else.

Please do go and show me everything you've learned today by clicking onto the quiz.

And hopefully I'll see you for the next lesson.

Take care, bye.