Beat and Rhythm – Preparation for Rhythm

Before introducing the new songs 11 -20, we are going to prepare for,  (or experience),  the concept of Rhythm using some of songs we already know (3, 8, 2 and 9).  But before we do that, please watch the video,  “The way the words go”.  

NB. The rhythm cards for ALL songs and rhymes used to explain rhythm to the children are here ready to use:  All rhythm cards in stick notation.   They are numbered for reference throughout – PLEASE DO NOT INTRODUCE THE CHILDREN TO THE WRITTEN NOTATION UNTIL THEY HAVE EXPERIENCED RHYTHM!

First the children need to understand the difference between BEAT – which will have been made conscious and “THE WAY THE WORDS GO” which will later be given the name RHYTHM.

Working on the rhythm of rhymes and songs is a new concept therefore, to begin with, we must use known material.

Touch your shoulders (Rhythm Card 2) 
Show the children the song tapping the rhythm rather than the beat: What do they notice?
(Before we showed the STEADY BEAT in actions – beat one touch right shoulder/beat two touch left shoulder. Now everything should be RHYTHM i.e. touch right shoulder twice, touch left shoulder twice etc)
The answer we want the children to discover is that your actions match the words.

Alternatively use one of the rhymes below from last session – so the children should be familiar with them – and show with two wooden puppets :
One taps the beat and the other shows the rhythm – What do they notice?
At this point we are not using the word RHYTHM – we simply want the children to identify that one puppet was tapping the way the words go and the other was showing the steady beat.

One, two, three, four (Rhythm cards Card 1 Card 2 Card 5 Card 2 ) (card 2 is used twice); Copy Cat, Copy Cat (Rhythm cards Card 3 and Card 4); and Queen, Queen, Caroline (Rhythm cards Card 5 Card 2 Card 2 Card 5  )

The children should practise tapping the rhythm for all of the above rhymes: This can be done as part of a game initially to help them distinguish the two rhythm elements subconsciously – a “ta” beat will always be shown by clapping hands (own hands or with partner) “tete” will always be shown by tapping knees – one after the other e.g.

Copy Cat
1st bar
Beat one: tap right knee then left knee
Beat two: clap own hands
2nd bar
Beats one and two: tap right knee, left knee, right knee, left knee
Beat three: Clap own hands
Beat four: Clap hands with partner

One, two, three, four
1st bar: clap own hands/clap hands with partner/ own hands / hands with partner
2nd bar: 1st three beats: tap right knee left knee
                   4th beat: Clap hands with partner
3rd bar: clap own hands/clap partners hands/tap right knee then left knee/clap hands with partner
4th bar: Repeat 2nd bar

Queen Queen Caroline:
Everyone stands in a circle facing a partner:
1st bar
Beat one: Clap own hands
Beat two: Clap both hands with partner
Beat three: tap right knee then left knee
Beat four: Clap both hands with partner

2nd bar
Beats one, two and three: tap right knee then left knee
Beat four: clap hands with partner

3rd bar: As second bar
4th bar: As first bar

Children should practise rhythm in many ways SUBCONSCIOUSLY for all known rhymes: Tapping index fingers together (MAGIC CLAVES) is a useful way to show rhythm rather than clapping which can be loud and distracting.

After practising the known material, try to improvise rhythm patterns for the children to copy.