Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale

Here is an an amazing clip by Bobby McFerrin most of us know him as the man who sang “Don’t Worry Be Happy”. Until I saw this clip I never realized what an amazing teacher he was too!

In This clip he is able to teach the concept of Pentatonic Scales and get a non musical audience to sing and here it while he improvises over the to. With humor and fun added along the way I can’t help wonder why I have never used this idea in my classes.

Has anyone out there ever used this concept in their teaching?

I would love to get some feedback and discussion on how we can implement this idea into the classroom .. I’m sure we all agree that the best teaching happens when it’s just plain fun and everyone gets involved!

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  • By ebesser Reply

    Thanks for sharing this . I love Bobby Mcferrin. Amazing talent!!!
    What a great way to teach the pentatonic scale.

  • By Tangerine Meg Reply

    So simple, so beautiful, so brilliant!

  • By paula Reply

    i’m :O now… this video… wow!
    i’m a music teacher in Spain, and this video is fantastic.

  • By Sooper8 Reply

    Hi Janice,
    I’m not a music teacher but I am teaching music this term.(and i am a musician)
    I asked a group the other day if they would do an experiment with me, they said ‘yes’ and so I tried Bobby’s pentatonic scale.
    They were 9 & 10 years old. It worked fine and was great fun. I then got them to come up and ‘play’ the audience. It worked good too!
    I wasn’t really expecting to pull it off and was so surprised I didn’t have anything planned on how to capitalise on it. Maybe just having fun is enough somedays and the learning take place sometime later?
    Just thought I’d let you know

  • By Carrie Lennard Reply

    Hi, would love to share a music-making approach from London U.K. It’s called The ‘Improvise Approach’ and it utilises the C major pentatonic scale. If you and your children enjoy making up tunes, take a look at the ThumbJam app from the App Store. Use this app as your musical instrument with the backing music tracks contained within The Improvise Approach ebook ( also available from iTunes, Spotify, Amazon – Improvise One (2016j Improvise 2 (2018)

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