The Super Bowl halftime show is the most-watched musical event of the year. While I may not be a big football fan, some studio families are fans, and most every student will be at a Super Bowl gathering of some sort, so I like to talk about the artists that will be featured at the game.


Before we dive into the artists that will be performing at this year’s game, I’ve updated the Football Rhythm Freebie for you.

Here are your Super Bowl 53 Rhythm Cards:

Also, be sure to check out my last Super Bowl blog post and watch the videos for football finger exercises and to see the rhythm cards in action. 



This year, Gladys Knight will be performing the national anthem.

Here’s a few facts about Knight from

“I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta,” said Gladys Knight, “the NFL recently announced their new social justice platform Inspire Change, and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year.”


Gladys Knight has enjoyed No. 1 hits in Pop, Gospel, R&B and Adult Contemporary, and has triumphed in film, television and live performance. Knight has recorded two No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 singles (“Midnight Train to Georgia” and “That’s What Friends Are For”), eleven No. 1 R&B singles, and six No. 1 R&B albums. She has won seven Grammy Awards and is an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with The Pips.

I think it would be interesting to get our students’ reactions on how Gladys describes what being on tour was like when she first started performing and why she had to have two different concerts at each venue at which she sang. I feel like it will be eye opening for our students and also give them some background on who they are watching perform.

Watch about her experience here:



While I’m not sure most of our students know who Gladys Knight is, I can bet that the vast majority of them are familiar with Maroon 5.

Some facts about Maroon 5 from

Maroon 5 stands out as not only one of pop music’s most enduring artists, but also one of the 21st century’s biggest acts. To date, the universally renowned Los Angeles band have achieved three GRAMMY(r) Awards and sold over 53 million albums, 48 million singles worldwide and earned gold and platinum certifications in more than 35 countries.


The band’s fifth studio album, V, debuted at #1 on Billboard’sTop 200 chart and featured the #1 hit singles “Maps,” “Animals” and “Sugar,” helping the band set a record for the most #1’s by a group in the Top 40 chart’s 20-year history, with 9 in total.



Over the next 2 weeks I’ll be having my students work on Maroon 5 songs so they can show off at the Super Bowl parties they’ll be attending.


The easiest way to incorporate some Maroon 5 songs are to assign them in Piano Maestro. The app has two songs from the halftime artist, “Sugar” and “Moves Like Jagger”.

There are multiple arrangements for “Sugar”, so even our young students can participate, as the 1A version uses only five notes total!



I found some videos on You Tube that display the chords in real time with the song.

Sunday Morning uses only three chords…Dm, G, and C.

I’ll start students in root position for all three chords, then ask my them to find multiple ways to play this simple chord progression, finding different inversions and using their ear to see which one best fits the song.


“Girls Like You” is a song I’m sure you and your students are familiar with, and the one I’ll be using mostly in my studio.

It spent several weeks at Number One on the Billboard Top 100 and continues it’s 34th week on the chart.

“Girls Like You” uses the ever-popular I V vi IV progression in the Key of C -this is a great song to solidify the chords we’ve been working on.

I’ll display these videos on our studio TV and have groups play along.


For students who want to learn more than just the chord progression, I’m going to encourage them to pick out the pitches to the chorus by ear. It moves in mostly stepwise motion and uses only A, B, C, D, and E.

I created this lyric sheet to use for students who are figuring out the chorus by ear. I’ll encourage them to start with the words that are in all capital letters. These are the ones that fall on the main beats, have an easy rhythm, and have the melodic pattern.

I’ll have them to write the pitch names over each word in the lyrics. Feel free to use this with your students as well!


I use erasable highlighters so students can fill in notes and erase them if needed as they are sounding out the melody. Here’s one students work in progress:


Here are some of my students playing the chords along with the audio recording of “Girls Like You”:


And finally, here is a student starting to add the main notes of the chorus along with the chords in the left hand.

Will you be watching on February 3rd? Are you tuning in for Gladys Knight? Maroon 5? the game? the commercials? not watching at all?

Let me know in the comments! Whatever your answer, I wish you a wonderful week!

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