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Pentatonic Scale - a tutorial for ELA learners

In the past few weeks of distance learning, video tutorials have become an important part of my daily teaching. When I was looking for a tutorial to help my MYP Grade 6 students understand the concept of the pentatonic scale, I could not find any on YouTube which would be slow and simple enough for my class. Many of my students learn in a language other than their mother tongue. Being one of them myself, I can understand their frustration if they cannot follow the instructions.

I created this little video with the following guidelines

  • speed of the language is slow

  • the keywords are visible

  • the language is kept simple

  • there are enough pauses to hit the stop button in time to pause the video.

Once they have understood what a pentatonic melody is, they are ready to compose. My students have already been introduced to different structures, textures and we have done a think, pair, share about what they consider a good melody.


With distance learning, not everybody has access to "real"instruments. I can recommend two different programs - they have their limitations but they are free and they passed our very rigid GDPR checks at school.


Song Maker - a chrome music lab.

You can set the scale to pentatonic

Or Beepbox.co

A fun, simple free online site, where no log in is required. By choosing easy : )

the scale turns into a major pentatonic scale while easy : ( will give you the notes for the minor pentatonic scale.