As children come to learn more and more about how music is put together, they will begin to have new ears to hear any music. They add critical thinking skills to their musical experiences and will enjoy many kinds of music. They also come to understand and love music as they have hands on experiences creating their own music. They can have that experience through private lessons or by just doing some of the fun lessons that I will share.

The lessons will center on the Elements of Music: Beat, Rhythm, Style, Melody, Expression, Form, Timbre, Harmony, and Texture. You can watch as children become confidant at discussing these elements and hearing them in the music they listen to each day. They will enjoy using these elements to create their own music.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

RHYTHM LESSON 1: Creating Icons to Teach Rhythm

Rhythm is such a simple concept to teach because we are just putting a name to something we know.  We have heard music all our lives and have heard long and short notes.  But now we get to have some fun with it.

When young children begin learning music it is much easier to teach this concept by seeing "icons" that represent music rather than by reading musical notation. Those icons will later transform themselves into notation with a real understanding of what the notation represents.  So we are going to have some fun with musical icons.

In this lesson I am teaching the "teacher".  You must understand how to create these icons and use them before you can teach them to your children or students.

Music is mathematical.  The length of notes are divisions of time.  So we are going to create icons that represent how short or long a note is played.  I went to a store that created magnetic signs - the kind you see on vehicles and asked them to donate scraps to our school.  Those scraps were then cut into specific sizes and color coded.  I used the magnets so that I could display these icons on my white board in front of the classroom.  If you have a magnetic board in your home or room this is the easiest way to use these icons.  However, if you don't,  you could use paper or preferably card stock.  You could just print my sample out on your computer and cut the icons out. 

Here are the measurements and colors I used:

Eighth note = 1/2" x 1" ORANGE
Quarter note = 1"x1" RED
Dotted quarter note = 1 1/2" x 1"  PURPLE
Half note = 2" x 1" BLUE
Dotted half note = 3" x 1" YELLOW
Whole note = 4" x 1"  GREEN

Musical Icons for teaching Rhythm

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