New Improv and Harmonization Worksheets

It’s been a super hot week here in Kansas City, so I’ve been hanging out inside in the air conditioning catching up on lesson planning for the upcoming school year!   I’m attempting to get everything ready for fall before I take a few weeks vacation at the beginning of August.  That way everything is ready and waiting for the new year when I get back (just ONE year, I’d like it to work that way!!).    If everything on my to-do list gets checked off, I should have lots to post over the next couple of weeks!  Here are a couple of new things that are up on the website now:

Blues Scale Improv “Starters”

I introduced a few of my late elementary and junior high students to the blues scale this summer, and found that many of them absolutely LOVED improvising their own melodies.   A couple of those same students were struggling with some rhythms, so it dawned on me one day mid-lesson that we could sneak the hard rhythms from their repertoire into a blues improv and get some extra practice!    I created a  couple of worksheets they could take home with them and use as improv “starters”:

Each week, we’ve been adding a little bit more to their blues patterns, working our way into 2-handed patterns and walking bass.    I ended up making 5 improv sheets in total.  By the time they’ve worked through all 5, students can play some basic 12-bar blues!   The worksheets are available as a single 5-page file on the curriculum page of my studio site.

New Harmonization Worksheets

I also created several more harmonization worksheets.  Students are given a melody, then have to add I, IV and V7 chords to create an accompaniment (this one even uses a ii chord):

I’ve been using these to help students explore different patterns they can use in their left hand when improvising or reading from a lead sheet (i.e. block, broken, oom-pah chords, walking bass, etc.).   Once they’re familiar with different left hand styles, they’re able to pick out a melody by ear and add an accompaniment on their own.

The harmonization worksheets are also available on my website.    If you scroll down, you’ll also find a couple of new harmonizations for beginners using simple tonic and dominant notes in the left hand.

All Through the Night Harmonization
All Through the Night Harmonization
All Through the Night.pdf
86.7 KiB
5154 Downloads
Details...
Happy Birthday Harmonization
Happy Birthday Harmonization
Happy Birthday.pdf
55.9 KiB
5205 Downloads
Details...
Oh When the Saints
Oh When the Saints
When the Saints.pdf
43.2 KiB
2904 Downloads
Details...
If You're Happy Harmonization
If You're Happy Harmonization
If Youre Happy and You Know It.pdf
60.0 KiB
2581 Downloads
Details...
Hickory Dickory Harmonization
Hickory Dickory Harmonization
Hickory Dickory Dock.pdf
28.9 KiB
2095 Downloads
Details...
Blues Scale Improv Worksheets
Blues Scale Improv Worksheets
Blues Scale Improvs.pdf
404.1 KiB
7050 Downloads
Details...

Comments

New Improv and Harmonization Worksheets — 9 Comments

  1. I just discovered your blues scale improve worksheets – which was really well timed because one of my adult students was introduced to the blues 12 bar pattern in last week’s lesson. I was not trained in the blues, so I was doing some research on it as well, so I have a question. From my student’s book and research online, I thought the 12 bar blues pattern was 4 bars of I chord, 2 bars of IV chord, 2 bars of I chord, 2 bars of V chord, 2 bars of I chord. Your worksheet has I, IV, I, I, IV, IV, I,I, V, IV, I, I. Am I missing something or was that a typo?

    Thanks for the clarification 🙂

    • Hi Valerie,

      You’re right… there do seem to be a couple of different “versions” of the 12-bar blues, depending on what source you check. I’ve never had any blues training as a student, either – so I’m no expert!! I picked up the progression I used on the sheets from a workshop I attended several years ago, and have used it with my students since. I always liked this particular progression because it changed chords fairly frequently and had some harmonic “interest.” If you’d like copies the Publisher files of the worksheets to tweak so you can use with your student’s book and not cause confusion, let me know – I’d be happy to email them to you.

  2. Thanks for your response. I’m glad to know that there are different versions and the pattern is not set in stone. I agree that your progression would be more interesting. I’d love to have a copy to tweak to match my student’s book though. Thanks for offering!!

  3. I realize that you posted these two years ago, but I wanted to say that your blues improvisation worksheets are such fun. Nice job! I’ve been using the Pattern Play books with my students, but the younger students get overwhelmed with all the text and examples on each page… so I usually simplify the patterns by writing them out on blank keyboards (which I keep printed out and handy for various uses). The blues patterns are usually their favorites, so I think your worksheets are going to be a big hit; colorful and easy to use. 🙂

    • Thanks, Adrienne! I use Pattern Play, too, and I know what you mean about the printed books being a little overwhelming for younger students. I like the idea of writing the patterns on blank keyboards – thanks for the idea!

  4. We teachers spend so much time re-inventing the wheel. I wanted to do a year of improv for my group lessons, and you have helped me so much with these worksheets…Thanks so much!

    • Hi Pam,

      Glad to hear that these saved you a little bit of work! It’s interesting that you mentioned a year of improv… I’m planning to do something similar with a couple of my middle school groups this year. If you don’t mind me asking, what other resources are you planning to use with your kids?

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