Fiddlewidget for String Teachers

Lesson Plan Objectives

Objective - Develop a working knowledge of the following Subject Matter elements: (Topics marked with (*FW) are best illustrated by some kind of visual tool; I use the violin Fiddlewidget layout for most of these.)

1. Chord Progression -how it relates to the melody

2. What is a major chord; listen to underlying chord changes while singing or playing the melody.

3. (*FW) Look at all the available tones (chromatic scale) and how to select the tones needed for the major scale in our example tune.

4. (*FW)Introduce the "Nashville Numbers" concept, of identifying notes and chords in terms of their scale degrees.

5.(*FW) Relating a major scale to its root chord; the 1-3-5 structure

6. (*FW) Defining the dominant and subdominant (4 and 5) chords in terms of the root major scale.

7.(*FW) Different ways of thinking your way around the fingerboard to find the appropriate chord

8.(*FW) Using chord theory for finding harmony parts, improvising ornamentation, and putting licks together

Additionally, several other concepts can be introduced, or might occur during class discussions. Teachers should be ready for these:
A. Concept of intervals in major chords
B. (*FW)The circle of 5ths, as it relates to the fingerboard
C. Chord voicings or inversions
D. (*FW)Transposing between keys

Other comments: My attendees almost always have their instruments with them, which makes learning basic theory a lot more interesting and fun. But it gets a little confusing with several different types of instruments in the mix. It also gets a little loud and distracting to hear 30 instruments noodling at once. I have to ask students to please put the banjos down while I'm talking, and have thought about getting a three minute timer to use for noise-free periods. I want them to play and have fun, but you need to manage it.

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