Lesson Plan for SoundTree

May 2004


Singing The Blues with Garage Band


National Standard:  1 ­ Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

                           4 - Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.

6 - Listening to, analyzing and describing music.

7 - Evaluating music and music performances.


Objective:    The students will demonstrate their understanding of writing lyrics for a twelve-bar blues pattern by writing two verses of a blues song and then recording themselves singing over a stock blues pattern using Apple¹s new iLife application, Garage Band.


Materials:     A networked keyboard lab with computers and headphones.

                   Writing Blues Lyrics Student Handout.

Garage Band on each computer.

How To Set Up A Vocal Track instruction sheet.

Word Processing software (Microsoft Word or AppleWorks).



1.    Teacher distributes the Writing Blues Lyrics handout.

2.    Teacher introduces the concept of writing lyrics for a twelve-bar blues pattern.  Teacher reviews the handout with the students to answer any questions that they might have.

3.    Students sing the example on the handout while the teacher plays the demo file named ³Shufflin¹ Blues² which comes with Garage Band.  The GEC3 should be set to the Lecture Mode for this part of the lesson.

4.    Using the handout and the word processing software, the students will work in groups of two to write two verses to their own blues song.  The students should follow the guidelines given in the handout to determine the subject and the amount of syllables in their verses.  The GEC3 should be set to the Practice Mode for this part of the lesson. 

5.    Teacher monitors students¹ progress by using the eavesdropping function of the GEC3.

6.    After sufficient time, the students will share their lyrics to the class.  The GEC3 should be set to the Lecture Mode so that each group can share their lyrics with the class.

7.    Students discuss each set of lyrics to determine how successfully it fulfills the guidelines for writing blues lyrics on the student handout.

8.    After the discussion, the teacher will ask the students to open Garage Band on their individual computers.  Once the application is open, the students will open the demo file entitled ³Shufflin¹ Blues². 

9.    Teacher will then review the instructions for creating a new vocal track on Garage Band with the students. The GEC3 should be set to Lecture Mode for this part of the lesson.

10. Students will then set up a new vocal track and use the microphones on their headsets to record themselves singing their blues lyrics over the ³Shufflin¹ Blues².  The GEC3 should be set to the Practice Mode so that the teacher can monitor student progress.

11. Students should be given ample time to make as many takes as necessary to record their ³best² performance.

12. After sufficient time students will perform their recordings for the class for discussion.  The GEC3 should be set to the Lecture Mode for this part of the lesson.

13. Students should save their recordings on their computers or to a file server.



Extensions:            Using the ³Export to iTunes² function of Garage Band (in the file menu), students could export their compositions to iTunes so that they can burn their songs onto a CD-R.


                           Students could create their own blues accompaniment using the sequencing function of Garage Band instead of the demo song.