"The Vulture" - a music lesson plan for minor chords

Any music lesson plan on theory is meaningless without MUSIC to illustrate the principle.  Take a look at both a lead sheet and a full piano arrangement of Hilaire Belloc's humorous poem "The Vulture" for an illustration of minor chords in root and inversion positions.

The Vulture nicely shows the mood that minor chords can set, and how tension builds naturally as a chord progression plays out.  Introduce this song, and your students will "GET" minor cadence chords.  

First, a "simple" lead sheet.  (No, the melody is not a simple one like Mary Had a Little Lamb.  Students must be able to read and get around in the treble clef to master this melody!)


Download music lesson plan song "The Vulture" as a lead sheet

This famous old poem is by Hilaire Belloc, who was known for his "cautionary" poems for children. 

I would use repeated simple block chords to help set an ominous tone for this song:

Minor cadence chords

The chords are A minor, D minor over A (Dm/A), and E over G# (E/G#).  The Dm inversion is easy, but the E inversion is very hard for some kids.  That's another good reason for the repeated chords; it will take some practice to make the chords feel natural in the hand.

Because this melody ranges far, there is just a bit of complicated fingering... not really too much.  Though the finger replacement 4 - 1 that happens 3 times LOOKS hard, kids get used to it quickly and actually like it.

Here is a much harder arrangement of the same song:

The Vulture, a poem by Hilaire Belloc, set to music

Download "The Vulture" in Cm for late elementary / early intermediate piano

The first week or two we treat this quirky song like a duet.  It's the chord practice that I am after; the melody and the lyrics are the "carrot" to that stick!




Recent Articles

  1. Christmas Song Lyrics and Free Piano Sheet Music for Holly and Ivy

    Christmas Song Lyrics & sheet music of "The Holly and the Ivy" for your intermediate & now BEGINNING piano players: 3 energetic arrangements with flowing left hand chords and one SIMPLE Middle C arran…

    Read More

  2. Gabriel's Message: The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came

    Gabriel's Message: "The Angel Gabriel from heaven came" is a beautiful Christmas song that is almost unknown. It makes a lovely vocal duet. - now updated and SIMPLIFIED.

    Read More

  3. Teaching Young Singers Who Have No Music Background

    Teaching young singers: what do you do with a non-musician who can't even read their own language, much less music notes? Here is some QUICK ADVICE!

    Read More

  4. Coventry Carol, Also Known as Lully Lullay or Lully Lulla

    Coventry Carol, a beautiful and somber English Christmas Carol. With EASY piano duet parts for elementary and early intermediate students.

    Read More

  5. All You That In This House Christmas Sheet Music from England

    "All You That in This House" Christmas sheet music is a quick-to-learn song I'll bet you've not heard before! Now with a stirring piano arrangement. This is a beautiful minor melody with 10 verses of…

    Read More

  6. Masters in This Hall Christmas Carol Lyrics & Music

    Masters in This Hall is a fast-moving old English carol, with several new arrangements to tempt your piano students! Very few people are familiar with this pretty song, but it sounds like it comes fro…

    Read More

  7. Snakes Go for a Walk Skips versus Steps Exercise

    Snakes Go for a Walk (or with a new name, Crickets Go Hopping), an exercise hiding skips among the steps! You'll spot IN A HURRY if your students are understanding the difference!

    Read More

  8. All the Pretty Little Horses, an Easy Lullaby with Free Guitar Tabs!

    All the Pretty Little Horses is a lullaby with a very lovely melody - SO EASY for your students, because three lines are just the same!. Now with sheets to help play melody and chords simultaneously…

    Read More











Sign up for "Take Note!" to see what's new every month.





Comments

Have your say... Leave me a comment in the box below.