Modern Band Resources for Distance Teaching

Mike Lawson • Modern Band • March 27, 2020

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As music teachers, we are currently facing a time of incredible challenges that require us to rethink how we continue to work with and care for the students we serve.

We as music educators know that creating music and learning together is one incredible way to maintain a sense of normalcy, purpose, and creativity during the current crisis.

Though many schools are closed, music can still be a salve for students, so Little Kids Rock is rising to this challenge. We are dedicated to providing digital and remote learning resources for teachers, students, and families in the coming weeks, months, and beyond.

Every day at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. EST, our team members will be live streaming video lessons on a variety of topics. If you have an instrument at home, you can check out a session on guitar, keyboard, or ukulele. Don’t have an instrument? That’s ok! We will also have sessions on free digital music production, songwriting, listening activities, and so much more to involve students, teachers, and parents of all skill levels in the joy of music-making.

Little Kids Rock also has a large library of video lessons on a variety of instruments on our Jam Zone online learning platform.

The entire range of modern band instrumentation is covered on the site, so whether you or your students are interested in guitar, keyboard, bass, drums, music technology, songwriting, or something else, you’ll be able to quickly and easily get access to the resources you need. Lessons are in step-by-step order, so learners can start from the very beginning and build their musical skills gradually. Once you feel comfortable on your instrument of choice, check out the various song charts we have available, and learn to play your favorite popular songs.

If your students don’t have instruments at home, perhaps they can start by working on their lyric writing. There are lesson plans such as “Hip Hop Hamburger” that include worksheets and a demonstration video to get students writing and rapping their own lyrics. The search function can yield even more fun and educational resources—a quick search of the term “songwriting” shows materials collected from teachers around the country that they’ve employed in their own classrooms.

If your students have their instruments at home and you want them to work on improvising, perhaps you can start by sending them directly to a lesson on scales, such as the “A minor pentatonic.” You can also download the scale in a lesson plan format or use the “Build Your Own Chart” resource to create your own scale graphics. You can also send students to the chord progression “Jam Along” page to practice their scales and solos. Then try having students explore the song database and perform an advanced search by song key using the scale they’ve just learned, A Minor. This will give them a huge number of song options with which they can practice soloing, as well as these songs’ respective charts so they can play along with their rhythms.

You can also access the slides for the workshops we present across the country under Teacher Resources. These PowerPoint files include the basics of modern band, play-alongs featuring strumming patterns for a number of songs, and presenter notes with details about the content. For more specific skills, you can also check out our archive of previous sessions from the presenters at our annual summer conference, the Modern Band Summit.

For instance, navigating to the Modern Band Summit 2019 page, you can see the Riff a Day IV PowerPoints, which includes tons of play-alongs for guitar, keyboard, bass, and drums. Students can work on their skills by choosing which instrument they want to work on and play along with the looping charts and audio backing tracks.

If you are having trouble playing along with songs because of the speed or key of the song, you can use the free Transpose Extension for Google Chrome. With it you can adjust the speed and pitch of YouTube videos, such as music videos, play-alongs, and other resources you may be using!

Below are resources that were referenced in this article:

• Live-Streamed Video Lesson Schedule:

• Jam Zone Online Learning Platform:

• Guitar Lessons on Jam Zone:

• Keyboard Lessons on Jam Zone:

• Bass Lessons on Jam Zone:

• Drum Lessons on Jam Zone:

• Music Technology Lessons on Jam Zone:

• Songwriting Lessons on Jam Zone:

• Song Charts on Jam Zone:

• Hip Hop Hamburger Lesson Plan:

• Search Functionality on Jam Zone for “Songwriting”:

• “A Minor Pentatonic” Lesson on Scales:

• “A Minor Pentatonic” Lesson Plan Format:

• Build Your Own Chart:

• Jam Along on Jam Zone:

• Song Database on Jam Zone:

• Little Kids Rock Workshop Slides:

• Modern Band Summit Presentations Archive:

• Modern Band Summit 2019 Presentations:

• Riff A Day IV PowerPoint:

• Transpose Extension for Google Chrome:

• Transpose Extension Lesson Plan:

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