Whole and Half Step Intervals Music Theory Lesson Plan

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The objective attached to this lesson plan is to ensure that our music theory students develop a working understanding of whole and half step intervals.Follow this link to view a full sized version of one of the music theory worksheets shown above


The material is intended to be presented after the session (or sessions) designed to ensure that they are aware of the “correct” name for notes. The lesson plan and worksheets  presented here can be understood as part of the “Ten Steps To Understanding Scales And Chords” material discussed elsewhere on this site.

Entry Behaviour: In order to derive the maximum benefit from this material students should, at its outset be able to independantly assign the correct name note (or notes) with relation to a visual representation of a standard piano keyboard (click the link to be taken to the relevant lesson plan ).

Musical Intervals Lesson Plan

Out line the objectives of the session (or sessions depending upon your own circumstances)

These outcomes are

1: Be able to demonstrate an abilty to identify the name (or choice of names) for any note on a representation of the piano keyboard

2: To go on from this point to identify and correctly name notes either a whole step or a half step away from the original note

3: To work towards (and hopefully arrive at) a situation where students can identify notes a specified distance from an original starting note without recourse to diagrams.

The third objective is the really important one because to arrive at this point students will be carrying the information around in their own heads rather than “leaving the knowledge on the paper”?

After outlining the goals attached to this part of the course distribute the first worksheet which invites students to supply the name of a specified note (in the circle provided) and then to name notes a whole step above and below the original note

Towards the end of this first worksheet the idea that notes (the black ones on the keyboard) can be assigned one of two names discussed in earlier lessons will be re-introduced.

whole and half step intervals

After presenting the two worksheets on whole step intervals you can basically repeat the process with the pair of worksheets  themed around the half step? It is quite likely that more than one session will be required depending on variables including prior learning/existing strengths and weaknesses of your student group or simply the length of lessons in the place where you work? Students with a background in singing or drumming will probably find the material more challenging than those who play a chordal or orchestral instrument but again these are generalisations that you might like to consider rather than hard and fast statements of fact.

When you feel that the students can cope well with the material on the worksheets with visual aids (piano keyboard diagrams etc) on them then it is time to find out what they really know? I sell music theory worksheets but I cannot stress enough that completing a worksheet (or a whole series of them) is not the aim. The objective is that by using the sheets our students develop knowledge of music theory that they can transfer from one situation to the next and which they will be able to use as a “tool” as they move from one set of musical circumstances to another (be that a written examination or a rock band rehearsal)

whole and half steps musical intervals

By challenging your students with the final (text only) worksheet you will be able to find out which of your students truly “understand” the materials under study. This will provide you with opportunities to encourage extra study for those who are “almost there” This study can usually be as simple as giving them extra copies of the worksheets to complete before the next session.

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