Singinı the Blues with Rock, Rapın Roll

Sixth-grade General Music Blues Unit

Ann Winze



Students will compose a Chicago blues arrangement with Rock, Rapın Roll software.  The arrangement is to be three choruses in length and will accompany blues lyrics previously written by the students.



Sixth-grade students have completed the following activities in their study of jazz and the blues:

·      Listen to and discuss various jazz and blues recordings.

·      Perform and record ³Orffinı Blues² by Laurie Zentz on Orff mallet instruments.

·      Write and record blues lyrics over a given 12-bar blues progression in GarageBand.


The Rock, Rapın Roll exercise will help students identify the instrumentation of the Chicago blues and reinforce their understanding of 12-bar blues progression.  Students will also be required to compose within a given form.



·      Computer Lab with Rock, Rapın Roll CD ROM installed on each computer

·      Administrative Computer with projection capability

·      Headphones for each computer

·      Microphone

·      Blues Lyrics



·      Students listen to ³Mannish Boy² by Muddy Waters and identify the instrumentation in their musical journals.

·      Students also listen to and identify the instruments used in Robert Johnsonıs ³Cross Road Blues².

·      Compare and contrast the instrumentation of both pieces.



·      Students review the form of the 12-bar blues.

·      Open the blues page from the menu of Rock, Rapın Roll on the administrator computer and demonstrate the various functions.

·      Allow students five minutes to experiment with the different sound loops.

·      Instruct the students to begin by choosing from the bass lines on the left of the screen.

·      Invite students to compliment their arrangement with the other available loops and sound bytes (harmonica, etc.).

·      Explain that the arrangement is to have three choruses of the 12-bar blues.

·      The first chorus is an instrumental introduction and chorus two and three will accompany the lyrics.

·      When the students have completed their arrangement, the teacher will have the students record their blues lyrics into the song.



Listen to each arrangement and discuss choices with the students as they complete the activity. 



·      Play examples of the studentıs compositions for the class and discuss the results.

·      Listen to another recording by Muddy Waters and have students compare their composition.



·      Following this activity, students will be given the opportunity to experiment with composing their own blues arrangement in GarageBand.