I LOVE February because of Valentine’s Day and Black History Month! There are so many great activities for music learning that can be used with these themes as a backdrop. So, with Valentine’s Day behind us today’s focus is a simple and fun music lesson with a nod to Black History Month.
In this lesson, the student will learn how to play a jazz tune about legendary jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker using the 5-finger scale. It is designed for 3-6 year olds.
You will need a copy of the board book Charlie Parker Played BeBop and a recording of the song by Louise Rogers.
Away from the piano, play the recording of the song while reading the book with the student. Feel free to dance around, snap fingers and tap toes. Encourage your student to sing along with the call and response in the song.
Now, announce to your student that they are ready to play this song on the piano! If the student already knows some or all of the 5-finger scales have him/her play one for you. (The recording uses the Bb scale). Even if the student has not learned any scales, you can still use this activity to teach them the scale.
Your student will play the chant “Charlie Parker played BeBop” which occurs again and again in the song.
Here are the notes: C D E F G E
Once you have done this a couple of times, you are ready to play along with the book. Allow the student to turn the page and play at the appropriate time. You can even do this as a duet since it is in call and response style. Be sure they sing along!
Afterwards you can ask a couple of review questions –
“Who was Charlie Parker?” Ans. Charlie Parker played bebop.
“What instrument did Charlie Parker play?” Ans. Charlie Parker played alto saxophone.