Chord Progression Worksheet – Drawing out Creativity
Missy M., Nebraska
For those who did not attend the KC conference this weekend or those who missed the session on Drawing out Creativity – I have been asked to briefly explain what the worksheet was about.
This attached worksheet is simply a starter page I have provided my students once they have worked their way through several chords in the Accompaniment program. It is intended to help them see that certain chords (following the I IV V) pattern in songs go together like a “Family”. It is one thing to see the chords being used in Amazing Grace or Auld Lang Syne, but to take the chords away from the page and see them just as a family helps us to keep them in a mental archive for later improv or comp exercises.
What I suggested is that teachers could ask students to pick any chord “family” and fill in a 4 or 8 or 12 step set of blanks like this:
____ _____ _____ _____
____ _____ _____ _____
with a random choice of chords from a chord family. So if I chose the family of F major I would use F Bb C and throw them into the blanks. Then they would tell me if they want to play the pattern or progression of chords using rhythm patterns of 2’s 3’s or 4’s. I would ask them if they wanted to play the chords on the high or low range of keys and if they would prefer it to be fast, slow or medium speed. Finally I might say, “Is your song going to be sad or happy or neither?”
After thinking this through, they may pick something like: F C F Bb
F C Bb F in patterns of 3, fast and happy
After they hear what their random choice sounded like, I would ask them if they feel there are any adjustments that need to be made to say what they want to say.
Does that make sense? This is something I do often and I ask the students to process these factors with other chord families in major or minor with a variety of factors. These suggestions are just a start to endless possiblities. After doing this many times they will hopefully lock in that certain chords just go well together and happen often in songs.
Notice on the sheet I have written in the relative minor chords to each I IV V group and also suggested a few minor chord progression that they might recognize from SM songs in Levels 1-4. This is obviously something that you could enhance and change over time according to your studio or student needs.
Chord Progressions by Family
Major Keys I IV V VI II
C C F G (Am & Dm)
D D G A (Bm & Em)
E E A B (C#m & F#m)
F F Bb C (Dm & Gm)
G G C D (Em & Am)
Minor Keys I VI VII III
Dm Dm Bb C (F)
Em Em C D (G)
Am Am F G (C)
Cm Cm Ab Bb (Eb)
Original discussion started April 12, 2012