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 4 Adding Rests to our Rhythms

The next step to our rhythm lessons is to add rests to the icons we know how to read.  We are only going to use quarter note rests that get one beat.  They will be named "rest" for the purpose of reading and clapping the rhythm.  Instead of clapping on the rest we will take our hands and give a beat into the air.  We do want the children to feel that beat and not to do nothing on the rest.  Even a rest gets a beat!

For example, if we were reading and clapping Ta Ta Ti-Ti Rest it would look like this with our hands:  

Here are a few of the icons we will be using with the Little Squirrel Game and Chant.  You should take the time to teach these before you play the game.  You can do a visual match game if you like by printing two copies or if you think the children are going to easily transition to adding rests you might just show them the new icons and explain what to do on the rest and then clap them and say them together.  As soon as they are comfortable with these icons you are ready for the Little Squirrel Chant and Game.


Little Squirrel Chant

Little Squirrel up in the tree,
Very soon you’ll hungry be,
Hide those acorns in the ground,
So your dinner can be found.

The four lines of the chant have been purposely written to follow the simple rhythm pattern of Ti-Ti Ti-Ti Ti-Ti Ta.  Start by teaching the chant and clapping the rhythm of those words with the children.  (It is also time to talk about squirrels and how they work all fall to gather food for the winter.  Talk about how they fill their nests with food but how they also go around yards burying nuts in the ground.  Scientists have proven that they do indeed remember where they bury their nuts but that they can also smell nuts that are buried.  The good news for us is that they do not find 100% of their nuts and then ones not found grow into new trees.) 

At this point it is really fun for the children to learn to say the chant and play it on a drum at the same time.  In the classroom I adapted this to the format listed below.  If you are doing this with just a couple of children or even a few, you may adjust it to your needs, of course.


6 children sit around the drums.
While the class chants the poem, those children play the drum part.

The rest of the class is on the circle.

While the poem is being chanted, four children, who are designated the  “hiding squirrels”, hide the acorns. (Hiding in this case means placing the acorns somewhere in the room where they are visible.) 

When the poem is done, one of the drummers will be chosen to keep a steady beat on the drum while all the children, even the other drummers, go find an acorn.  After they have found an acorn they must find the person with the same matching acorn and sit together on the circle.

The game is over when all the squirrels are home eating dinner with a friend.  We then go around the circle and see if the "friends" have the same music and let them clap and say their music for us.  

Here are the acorns I use for this game.  You could invent any number of rhythm patterns for this game and do it on different days.  The blank acorns can be used for the back of the acorns if you would like them printed on both sides.

FYI:  For personal use, I bought an inexpensive pouch laminator (for hot laminating)  and then I purchase laminating pouches from Oregon Laminations online.  http://www.oregonlam.com/Mini_Letter_Laminating_Pouches_3_mil_hot_8_75_x_11_25_Laminator_Pockets_222mm_x_288mm_75_mic_8_3_4_x_11_1_4.htmlTheir Their prices can't be beat.  Best prices for pouch laminators are on Amazon.  I use 3 mil. paper.  If there is anything that you are going to use multiple times, it is worth the effort to laminate your work to protect it. 

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