A Bad Joke To Make The Concept Stick

When I teach relative minors to my students, I always end with a call and response of them giving the relative minors to a given major key.

I start with easier ones and build.

What’s the relative minor of C major? A minor

D Major? B minor


F Major? D minor

Ab major? F minor

A major? F# minor (The sharp will catch them for a minute.)

Eb Major? C minor


When they are settling in and their tempo increases, you get to this one:

Okay, what about the key of C-Flat Major. Every single note is flatted – seven flats! What’s the relative minor?

They think for a moment… Ab Minor.

And what do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?

wait for it…

A Flat Miner.

It’s a terrible joke, but it helps the concept to stick. So I use it every single time.

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