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Scale The Wall To Musical Creativity

Traditional Scale Variations for Children

Young students have difficulty understanding scales so we have created a ‘scale game’ to facilitate learning these complex theories. The game is called Dots and the White Note Solo. Parents with talented young children are required to do music with the student, not send them to another room to practice with no involvement. After the child reaches the age of 8, usually he or she can be sent to practice without parental supervision.

Names of the traditional scales:

 1. IONIAN (major scale) — In the key of C there are no accidentals, flats or sharps. 
 2. DORIAN (minor scale) — In the key of C flat the third and seventh notes of the scale. 
 3. PHRYGIAN scale — In the key of C flat the second, third, sixth and seventh notes of the scale. 
 4. LYDIAN scale — In the key of C sharp the fourth note of the scale. 
 5. MIXOLYDIAN scale — In the key of C flat the seventh note of the scale. 
 6. AEOLIAN scale — In the key of C flat the third, sixth and seventh notes of the scale. 
 7. LOCRIAN scale — In the key of C flat the second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh notes of the scale.

There are two other scales that we teach:

A Five Note Pentatonic and a Sixth Note Blues scale.

  • The five-note Pentatonic scale is easily taught and understood by young people by having them play all the black notes which works as an F sharp major Pentatonic scale (the pretty ‘black’ scale). 
  • The five-note Blues scale is in the key of E flat if you play it on all black notes.
  • The sixth-note Blues scale adds an extra grace note which is a more advanced technique because it involves playing a white note with the other black notes.

Students ages 4 and 5 respond well to the all-black solos (minor and major pentatonics) which we call the Boogie version and Pretty version respectively. When they become proficient at this level, they are introduced to the all-white solo which is a seven-note major scale or traditional IONIAN scale (do re mi).

Next we introduce the student to a traditional piano primer level method book such as Faber, Bastian, Schaum, or Thompson.  At this young age, we concentrate on traditional piano study for no more than 10 minutes, or as their attention span allows. 

It is vital that the teacher and parent allow the children to make choices between note-reading, playing the white or black solos according to their own interests. This helps them learn to make choices.  If they want to try it again to get better ask, “Would you like to try it again?” They must agree to the effort to try and play something correctly.

Verbal skills and reading literacy are a large part of early music education.  We encourage our students to read aloud starting with the alphabet and the other simple reading programs where we record them so they can hear the sound of their voice.  This increases left to right vision skills which aid the child in reading notes.

Singing the alphabet with “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” melody helps the child remember letters and gives a voice pitch which is one step above talking and/or reading.

For children who are challenged with pitch recognition, we use solphage with Kodaly music training for the very young. 

Learning scales connected with reading, singing, and note-reading is like a mental crossword puzzle.  Properly implemented and supported by trusted parents, this program will open a child’s understanding. 

We start 5 and 6 year olds playing major and pentatonic scales in C and E flat and then all the other keys over the next two years so they have a concept of composition from the get go for piano, guitar, and violin. Dan's coordinated method books compliment "playing simple things well" in all keys rather than complicated things played poorly in one or two keys. Keith Knighton and Dan have children sing their names with an up or down melody so they can recognize pitches. Children that start in this program early don't think that making music is hard, because it isn't. A solid knowledge of I, V7 chord progressions in all 12 keys brings chordal efficiency to a peak very early in the musical instrument experience.

Preschool Jazz Ballad Improvisation (White Key Solo)

Start Making the Learning of Scales Fun Through Creative Improvisation —

Download Our Professional Accompaniments and Examples Now

One Key at a Time or All 12

Ballad Solo Accompaniment (White Key Solo)

Ballad Solo Accompaniment (White Key Solo)

$0.99 per audio track download
Ballad Solo Example (White Key Solo)

Ballad Solo Example (White Key Solo)

$0.99 per audio track download
Blues Solo Accompaniment (Dots)

Blues Solo Accompaniment (Dots)

$0.99 per audio track download
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Scale The Wall To Musical Literacy

Four Point Program for Beginners

1. Instrument 

2. Freeze 
3. Improve (Scales) 
4. Note Reading

Dan Whitley & Keith Knighton his associate teacher invite you to our…

Young Artist Corner

Violin comes as closes to the sound of the human voice as any other instrument. These instruments can be played exactly in tune, allowing the overtones to be heard and experienced by the students.

The piano is the most popular children's instrument. The guitar also falls into this category. We like the piano because it makes musical sense. We like the guitar because it can be picked up quickly and is very social (ex. campfire songs). With the piano, you can see and teach scales (improvisation is easily understood using the white and black keys). With the guitar, it's portable, popular, and a little knowledge can go a long way. 

With keyboards a student can have music in their home for a fraction of the cost of a piano. They also copy the sound of most of the instruments with electronic sounds we hear in our music today. With the guitar it can be processed to make different sounds as well. The weakness with these instruments is that they are inherently out of tune (because of well-temperment). We have become used to the sound, but true ringing overtones only come with a choir or orchestra.

When teaching the very young. a human-to-human experience is best. Nowadays, computers and technology are an extension to this training. Look for good "apps" that teach, including information on this website. Correctly using this information will develop some of the skills necessary to become a serious student of music. We encourage the one-on-one parent-to-child, or person-to-person musical experience. Many musical families sing and perform together, it is not enough to just listen to music.

Our goal is to empower children with meaningful musical training, in a one-on-one interaction. These are the steps we follow.

1. Well trained hands
A. Left & right finger play
B. Hand and foot work songs: Hot Cross Buns, Pizza Pizza
C. Clapping rhythms

2. Well trained mind.
A. Train left brain
B. Train the right brain
C. All musical elements have a name.
1. Rhythm 
2. Melody 
3. Form
4. Improvisation 
5. Creativity

3. Well trained ears.
Hear small differences in the music. Every thing has a name (1–4 above).

4. Well trained heart.
A. Respect for our musical heritage.
B. Story telling through well selected songs.
C. Recognizes feelings of the heart through this music.


These Four Elements
1. Hands 
2. Mind
3. Ear 
4. Heart
Balance is the key.

This kind of teaching allows students fertile musical seeds in there minds. By this training, young students become artists. These artists are prepared to perform and record at a professional level in the media.

Children's Chorus

Saturdays at 7:00 AM, MT

Kodaly Music Class

Tuesdays at 3:30 and 4:45 PM, MT

Dan Whitley and Keith Knighton Teaching at Boys and Girls Club of Murray, Utah

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Scale The Wall To Reading — Music or Text

Let's Read in Tempo

A magnificent compliment to language learning and remedial reading!

This linguistic approach to regular reading is used with young boys (mostly) that either cannot or will not read music because their eyes dance so much from either TV, or video games, or other attention deficit challenges. We read the notes to a metronome, then we read the words to a metronome, and then we record to background music. These simple exercises are read to music, recorded, and then given to each student on a CD for an additional $10.

Let's Read in Tempo

Let's Read in Tempo

$20.00 per book

A Boy That Didn't Read

I was a boy that didn't like to read.
Some teachers thought I had a disease.
I'd go to the mall, Disney Land, and play with my friends.
When my mother called, I wouldn't come in.

Finally when I would sit down to read my assignments,
My eyes would water, and then jump around and I didn't know what all the words meant.
When they would test me at school my thoughts would wander and I would lose my place.
When the scores came back, I knew it was something I couldn't face.

When the school told my parents I was a resource kid,
They looked at me as if I had three heads.
Before I knew it we had after school tutors.
But nothing changed so they started looking for another school.

In the process they signed me up for music lessons.
I already liked cool music but playing and singing was not in my plan.
When I knew there was no way out I said "I'll play drums".
I'll pound real hard and they'll see that they're wrong.

When my teaqcher said "Please hit your sticks on this pad.
As you read these notes."
It wasn't that bad.
Soon I was playing in the band with a really good student.

He was nice and gave me some advice. I started to play that very moment.
One week my teacher said that "Drummers are hard to beat."
We both laughed and soon started to read.
We read music, but when it started to get hard,
To my surprise we started to read words.
Not like in school but to a beat.
Into a mic it sounded so sweet.

I'm playing and practicing my music and reading every day.
I started reading stories to my little brother. What can I say?
We dress up in a shirt and tie.
Finally I can walk with my head high.

I was scared at first but then it happened.
I started to work and doing something important.
Now I can play music — even more I like to read.
Music lessons and reading in tempo worked for me.

Sometimes I get lazy. All kids do.
But now if I want to work hard I can see things through.

Bryce Connely’s Story


Bryce is a 12-year-old boy who has lots of energy and enjoys life. He has struggled with reading for a long time. At times he literally hated to read because he lacked the ability and thus confidence. Even trying would put him in a defensive mood. His frustration level was so high that he felt overwhelmed.

Since reading is such a big part of life and important to education, we were desperate to find a solution to his problem as this began to affect him in other areas of his life. He would not participate in other activities where he might be called upon to read anything at school or church. 
In the past we tried many programs, public and private, which ended in disappointment and discouragement with little or no progress. He tried very hard but ended up feeling like a failure.

In first grade, during math time, he was put in a reading resource program, which caused him to miss his math lessons. In second grade he just kept falling further behind. He would cry and feel upset when we would try to get through his home reading assignment. There were times when we couldn’t get him to go to school.

In third grade we made the decision to go to a private school thinking he would have better instruction. This didn’t work and he grew further behind. He was already below the level of the other children and this just compounded things. His teachers worked very hard but their approach did not work for him.
As parents we spent extra time reading with him but when he tried the frustration would still overwhelm him. We bought books and games and encouraged him but it didn’t help. We found another tutor, an older girl who Bryce liked. She tried but he still struggled. Next we put him in another private school with more one on one. He improved slightly but it was still not coming together.

The school district tested him and because he didn’t fit into and excel in their main stream programs, they labeled him and basically told us they couldn’t do much. We were at our wits end and so was Bryce.

We decided to put things on the back burner for awhile and called for some drum lessons to help Bryce have a feeling of accomplishment in another area. We were blessed very much to be led to Dan Whitley. I called and told him I had an 11 year old needing music lessons. Our discussion led us to Bryce’s trouble with reading.

Dan has a program called “Reading with Tempo”. It was worth a try, we thought. WOW were we ever in for a pleasant surprise. This became the answer to our prayers. Bryce was not too happy to start this but the incentive for him was the drumming part. He was a little worried when I dropped him off the first time, but when I picked him up he came out with a smile on his face. He was already learning to feel good about himself. He came home and found an old brief case in which to put his reading and drumming supplies.

It appears that he was finding a new place in his brain to keep all this learning that was going on with the linguistic approach using rhythm and music. As time went on and he played in his first recital, his self-confidence soared. He was playing drums and reciting poetry.

He was in my Cub Scout Troop and used to sit back and not get too involved. Soon I saw him participating and feeling like he had something of value to offer. I felt him making a real effort for the first time and taking pride in his lessons. Dan’s program worked… it really worked!

We worked on each lesson until he could do it 100 percent tempo with 100 percent accuracy. He started to read with smooth rhythm. He knew when to pause and stop. With each lesson he sounded better and better. Dan recorded all his lessons on CD and you could hear the tone and confidence in his voice improve with each lesson. He enjoyed listening to his own voice and played it at bedtime.

We feel this was the answer. Dan’s efforts have paid off for our Bryce. I know this will be a major part in helping him succeed in his life. He is now 12 and has much more to smile about. Dan and his program has been a great blessing to us and I feel there are so many out there that could find this to be their answer as well. This is an inspired program. Thanks to Dan for his patience, abilities, and talents that he has shared with us.

Jody Connelly

Is addiction to video games a sickness?

Friday, June 22, 2007
Deseret News

By Lindsey Tanner 
Associated Press

CHICAGO — The telltale signs are ominous: teens holing up in their rooms, ignoring friends, family, even food and a shower, while grades plummet and belligerence soars.

The culprit isn't alcohol or drugs. It's video games, which for certain kids can be as powerfully addictive as heroin, some doctors contend.

A leading council of the nation's largest doctors group wants to have this behavior officially classified as a psychiatric disorder, to raise awareness and enable sufferers to get insurance coverage for treatment.

In a report prepared for the American Medical Association's annual policy meeting starting Saturday in Chicago, the council asks the group to lobby for the disorder to be included in a widely used mental illness manual created and published by the American Psychiatric Association. AMA delegates could vote on the proposal as early as Monday.

It likely won't happen without heated debate. Video game makers scoff at the notion that their products can cause a psychiatric disorder. Even some mental health experts say labeling the habit a formal addiction is going too far.

Dr. James Scully, the psychiatric association's medical director, said the group will seriously consider the AMA report in the long process of revising the diagnostic manual. The current manual was published in 1994; the next edition is to be completed in 2012.

Up to 90 percent of American youngsters play video games and as many as 15 percent of them — more than 5 million kids — may be addicted, according to data cited in the AMA council's report.

Joyce Protopapas of Frisco, Texas, said her 17-year-old son, Michael, was a video addict. Over nearly two years, video and Internet games transformed him from an outgoing, academically gifted teen into a reclusive manipulator who flunked two 10th-grade classes and spent several hours day and night playing a popular online video game called "World of Warcraft."

"My father was an alcoholic ... and I saw exactly the same thing" in Michael, Protopapas said. "We battled him until October of last year," she said. "We went to therapists, we tried taking the game away.

"He would threaten us physically. He would curse and call us every name imaginable," she said. "It was as if he was possessed."

When she suggested to therapists that Michael had a video game addiction, "nobody was familiar with it," she said. "They all pooh-poohed it." Last fall, the family found a therapist who "told us he was addicted, period." They sent Michael to a therapeutic boarding school, where he has spent the past six months — at a cost of $5,000 monthly that insurance won't cover, his mother said.

A support group called On-Line Gamers Anonymous has numerous postings on its Web site from gamers seeking help. Liz Woolley, of Harrisburg, Pa., created the site after her 21-year-old son fatally shot himself in 2001 while playing an online game she says destroyed his life. In a February posting, a 13-year-old identified only as Ian told of playing video games for nearly 12 hours straight, said he felt suicidal and wondered if he was addicted.

"I think i need help," the boy said.

Postings also come from adults, mostly men, who say video game addiction cost them jobs, family lives and self-esteem.

According to the report prepared by the AMA's Council on Science and Public Health, based on a review of scientific literature, "dependence-like behaviors are more likely in children who start playing video games at younger ages."

Overuse most often occurs with online role-playing games involving multiple players, the report says. Blizzard Entertainment's teen-rated, monster-killing World of Warcraft is among the most popular. A company spokesman declined to comment on whether the games can cause addiction.

Dr. Martin Wasserman, a pediatrician who heads the Maryland State Medical Society, said the AMA proposal will help raise awareness and called it "the right thing to do."

But Michael Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association, said the trade group sides with psychiatrists "who agree that this so-called 'video-game addiction' is not a mental disorder."

"The American Medical Association is making premature conclusions without the benefit of complete and thorough data," Gallagher said. Dr. Karen Pierce, a psychiatrist at Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital, said she sees at least two children a week who play video games excessively.

"I saw somebody this week who hasn't been to bed, hasn't showered, because of video games," she said. "He is really a mess." She said she treats it like any addiction and creating a separate diagnosis is unnecessary.

Dr. Michael Brody, head of a TV and media committee at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, agreed. He praised the AMA council for bringing attention to the problem, but said excessive video-game playing could be a symptom for other things, such as depression or social anxieties that already have their own diagnoses.

"You could make lots of behavioral things into addictions. Why stop at video gaming?" Brody asked. Why not Blackberries, cell phones, or other irritating habits, he said.

On the Net: On-Line Gamers Anonymous: 

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City Journals article

"Whitley continues to give the gift of music to the community" Jun 15, 2018 12:04PM ● Published by City Journals Staff By Christy Jepson | It all began in 1981 when a young 8-year old boy, Danny Whitley, begged his father to teach him to play an instrument. It was an earnest plea — Danny wanted to be like his dad and be with his dad during the short amount of time he had to live. At age 6, Danny was diagnosed with brain cancer. After what they thought was a successful initial brain surgery, the cancer returned two years later. It was then that Danny was given only a short time to live and he wanted nothing more than to follow in his dad’s musical footsteps. “Knowing that his time with us would be short, there was no other option for me,” said Dan Whitley, his father. He started right away teaching his son the drums. Since the Whitleys didn’t know of any kids who could play a band instrument that were Danny’s age, the father and son duo decided to “set up shop” and start their own band. They called it the Foxes and the Hounds after the Disney movie. Being in his own band was the mental and physical break Danny needed to cope with all the challenges of having cancer. Whitley recalls that it was everything he needed to feel like he was getting better. A few years later, their band performed at Danny’s sixth-grade concert at his elementary school in Cottonwood Heights. Danny played a drum solo with one foot and one hand. His classmates loved Danny and his new band. “The parents and their children flocked to Danny. He wore his little red hat and smiled all the time, he finally had his own group,” said his dad. Four brain surgeries later and a miraculous six years of being the star of his band, Danny passed away at age 13. “I started teaching Danny back in 1981 and haven’t stopped,” said Whitley. That was the beginning of Whitley’s career of teaching music to kids. His passion for music and his professional music experience in his early adulthood years was the foundation for starting his own music studio. As a child and teenager, Whitley studied piano, trumpet, tuba, guitar, banjo, bass, drums and mandolin. In high school, he loved to sing while playing the guitar. “I fell in love with singing harmonies in folk groups, which were popular during the 1960s, mainly because it was simple melodic music and invited sing-a-longs,” said Whitley. In 1965, Whitley moved to California and became a bass player and background vocalist for “the Lettermen” vocal group, who had a contract with Capitol Records. Following going on tour with them, he created his own performing group, the Justus Brothers. He worked with this group for nearly 10 years in Southern California. He released a record of original songs and soon this group became a full-time job. Nearly 20 years later, Whitley now lives in Draper and has a professional recording and music studio and continues teaching music to children. “Danny lives on in my memory as I do repeat performances with group after group today. Teaching him for those years turned my life around,” said Whitley. The Whitley Music Studios offers private instrumental lessons, instrumental vocal group lessons, private vocal lessons, recording consulting and producing, and reading therapy. Whitley also directs and teaches a folk band performing group, a vocal group and a prodigy jazz band. About four months ago, Whitley met Dr. Ran Duan, a professional concert pianist from China, when she came over to play a piano she was interested in buying from Whitley. Dan calls it no coincidence that two professional musicians from different continents who have similar musical goals met. After talking to Duan, Whitley quickly realized and could see her talent, passion and experience in the music field was “amazing” and was just what he wanted to add to his studio. Whitley loved the idea of adding classical piano lessons to his list of classes he offers. In April, Dan offered Duan a teaching position and now she is a private piano instructor at his studio in Draper. “I have very talented students. I’d love to know more young pianists in this area and help them develop their own music language,” said Duan. Duan received her bachelor of music with honorable mention from the China Conservatory, her master’s of music in piano performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and her doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Utah. She currently teaches college-level piano for major and non-major students at Utah Valley University and pre-college programs at the University of Utah and also teaches privately. She has been featured in many concerts halls in China, Italy and the United States. She has been a guest soloist with several symphonies and orchestras around the globe. “I love the fact that every student is different. As a teacher I need to think about different approaches to assist them,” Duan said. She hopes her international experience makes her a unique teacher. “I hope I can bring more diversity to the music society,” she said. Her dream is to bring more Utah musicians to the global level and more talented Chinese musicians to Utah to enjoy this music environment. “It is the happiest thing to see all different level of students grow and develop their own talent,” said Duan. Whitley’s teaching career that started long ago because of his son today has a much bigger influence. Over the years, thousands of students have come in and out of Whitley’s Music Studio. His influence is felt throughout the community, all because of his love of music and his love that he has for his little boy, Danny.
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Stanley M. Seale 1944-2017

We are saddened with the passing of our faithful teacher and associate, Stan Seale, on March 26, 2017. Memorial Services will be held on Thursday, March 30th at 11 a.m. visitation with service at noon at The Woods on Ninth, 6775 S. 900 E., Midvale. Tributes can be posted on Whitley Music Studios facebook page and at
Students and parents can drop by our Studio to sign a card and contribute to a flower arrangement if desired. Thanks, Dan & Bonnie Whitley

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