Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Teaching rhythm

Another idea by Trisha...
To learn a song that has a strong beat (like How Firm a Foundation), here's another idea.

I made rhythm sticks out of 5/8" dowels cut into 8" lengths. I found 3' and 4' dowels at our local building supply store.

I made enough sets of sticks so that at least half of the children had a set. If a child didn't get a set of sticks first, they clapped. And we switched sticks often so that all of the children had a chance to clap and use the sticks.

First, I had us all clap or tap out the beat. The beat never changes in most of the Primary songs. Each song is usually composed of three or four beats in each measure. The beat just goes on and on. You can talk quite well while you and the children are clapping/tapping the beat. I repeated "The beat goes on and on. It never changes" to the beat a couple times to emphasize the steadiness of the beat.

Second, we all practiced clapping/tapping out the rhythm. For the rhythm, you clap or tap each time there's a note in the song. It usually works out to a clap/tap for every syllable in each word. For example, How Firm A Foun-Da-Tion, Ye Sa-Ints Of The Lord with every capital letter indicating a clap/tap.

When the children had the rhythm under control, I switched it up.

One side of the room kept the beat, while the other side of the room clapped/tapped the rhythm. That way, they could hear the differences between the beat and the rhythm. And then we switched sides.

You could use a teacher or member of the Presidency to lead one side of the room while you lead the other side. I used one of our 11 year-old girls that was musically talented and who was leaving within the next week to attend Young Womens. She loved it. The kids loved it too.

We repeated both verses of How Firm a Foundation several times, but the children didn't seem to notice all the repetition while tapping/clapping the beat or the rhythm of the song.

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