Tuesday, December 31, 2019

12 Bar Blues Revisited, pt. III - Basic Harmonization

Back in October I revisited the 12 bar blues by adding open major and dominant 7th chords as a way to expand our student’s chord vocabulary. This month we'll continue to expand chord vocabulary by dipping into basic harmonization of the major scale.
At this point in a student’s development it is important for them to learn and understand how chords work in a key; in particularly the I, IV and V. Moreover, by playing in these different keys students will learn to “hear” the I, IV and V chord progression, expand their chord vocabulary and develop a working knowledge of various keys.
Generally, I do not outline all diatonic harmony (major, minor, diminished) but only the I, IV and V chords as they specifically pertain to our topic of the 12 bar blues; no need to muddy the waters (pun intended) with more information than students need at this time. I have attached an outline of chords from scales, however it would be best to have the students outline these themselves.

Next month we’ll get into incorporating the newly learned I, IV, V’s into a 12 bar blues.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

12 Bar Blues Revisited, pt. II

In last month’s post 12 Bar Blues Revisited I discussed adding Cowboy Chords as another way to have students practice a 12 bar blues. In particular I chose the I IV and V chords from the key of A (A, D, E). This month students will now add dominant 7th chords to their vocabulary by applying A7, D7 and E7 chords - attached is 12 bar blues using dominant 7th chords. With the inclusion of dominant 7th chords, students will now have four ways to practice their 12 bar blues: 

1. Power Chords (open string) 

4. Open Chords (dominant 7ths)

Saturday, October 19, 2019

12 Bar Blues Revisited, pt. I

This month I’d like to revisit and build upon an older series of posts which pertained to the 12 bar blues (I, II, III, IV) and Cowboy Chords (I, II, III, IV). In those series of posts each topic was dealt with separately (as they should be), but it had recently occurred to me that I had not combined the two.

I have a general order in which I like to introduce skills and topics to my students. Moreover, I like to combine the topics so that they have relevance to the student and they fully understand how they relate to one another. My point is that while students are learning a skill such as playing a 12 bar blues (using open power chords), they are also simultaneously learning to finger open position chords. So it is then pedagogically correct to then combine the 12 bar blues and open chord study together. Additionally, this is also a good time to review the concept of rhythm charts with your students. Attached is a sample 12 Bar Blues in A to use with your students.

Next month I’ll dig a little deeper and review how we apply what the student has been learning so far.