How do musicians come together to create? BANDED is an experimental music documentary that chronicles the creative processes of five Boston bands as they take the spark of an idea and turn it into a reality. To capture the process, cameras followed the musicians as they wrote, reworked, recorded, and performed an original song. Along the way, each band was partnered with a Berklee College of Music faculty member to help hone their skills. The eclectic bands represent a spectrum of genres ranging from world-soul and indie-baroque to americana, psychedelic, and indie rock. BANDED connects music theory to real world musical collaborations, along the way capturing the struggles and successes of what it means to be a musician in todays creative landscape.

Compose a Song Based on an Image

In the film Banded, Boston-based band Ghost Box Orchestra discusses an idea for a new work based on an image using a simple E minor pentatonic riff. Watch the clip from the film then explore the accompanying exercise in your classroom. Through this lesson, students will gain an understanding of the relationship between musical and visual expression by creating a minor pentatonic composition for a chosen piece of media.

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Exploring Form Using Minor and Major Pentatonic Scales

The activities in BANDED Lesson 2 will build on the composition concepts introduced in BANDED Lesson 1, and will lead students on a deeper exploration of pentatonic scales, this time examining the relationship between minor and major pentatonic scales using a variety of song forms to guide the composition process.

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From Minor Pentatonic Scale to the Blues Scale

This culminating lesson will build on BANDED Lessons 1 & 2, and will enable students to gain an awareness of the relationship between the minor pentatonic and the blues scale. In addition, students will be introduced to the harmonic structure of the standard blues progression. Students will begin by composing and playing simple melodies based on the blues scale, then move on to improvising over a 12-bar blues using different approaches.

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Leveraging a Current Hit Song to Teach the 12-Bar Blues

This two part lesson, with an exclusive video tutorial series, features Harold Stephan's presentation at the 2016 City Music Summit as he demonstrates how to leverage the power of a current hit song to teach the 12-bar blues. Demonstrations within PULSE include how to use assets from Take Me To The River and the Study Room to create a rhythmic scaffold of a tune synched to a YouTube video using Noteflight (for student compositions) in order to create an interdisciplinary blues lesson.

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Cultural and Technological Factors of the Blues

Students will explore the socio-political factors that gave rise to the blues and discuss technology's influence on shaping musical genres. Demonstrations within PULSE include how to use assets from Take Me To The River and the Study Room to create an interdisciplinary blues lesson. 

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Remixing a Current Hit Song to Teach the 12-Bar Blues (Video Tutorial)

This exclusive video tutorial series features Harold Stephan's presentation at the 2016 City Music Summit as he demonstrates how to remix a current hit song to teach the 12-bar blues. Demonstrations within PULSE include how to use assets from Take Me To The River and the Study Room to create a rhythmic scaffold of a tune synched to a YouTube video using Noteflight (for student compositions) in order to create an interdisciplinary blues lesson.

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Youth Gospel Choir With The Staple Singers

Students will discuss the socio-political factors that gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s with connection to The Staple Singers' music. By exploring the tune "Wish I Had Answered" students will connect their past discussion to the music they are learning. Demonstrations within PULSE include how to use assets from Take Me To The River, a featured length film that takes a look into the history of STAX Records and the music of Memphis, Tennessee.

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