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Discovering Rhythm Part 1

Purpose: Helping children understand what rhythm is and where we can find it.


Music concepts

Pattern recognition

Attention to detail

Kinesthetic sense

Mathematics, including the concept of more/less and time

Supplies Needed:

-Hands or drum (could be pot with spoon, etc)

Instructions/Teaching Touchstones:

-“Today we’re going to learn about beats and rhythm!”

-“I am going to do a rhythm and I want you to copy what I do the exact same way. Ready?

-Start with one clap {X}. The children should copy that well

-Then do 2 claps {X-X}. Again the children should be able to copy that well. This helps engage their attention and build their confidence.

-Do 4 SLOW claps {X—X—X—X}. WATCH the children at this point. They will be tempted to do {XXXX} instead of {X—X—X—X}. This is one of the main points of this lesson: pay attention. If the child rushes through the claps, don’t scold. Simply say in a bright and easy manner “Oops! Let’s listen again. I did {X—X—X—X}, not {XXXX}. It is important that we listen to how fast or slow the beats are, not just the number of beats. Now I KNOW you’ll get it right! Let’s try again!”. If the child is capable of hearing “blank space” in a rhythm, they will be able to mimic you. If they can’t, wait for a little more motor and auditory development. That is ok.

In the meantime, you can assist the development with saying “Here, let’s both do the beat!” and gently direct their hands to a slower pace.

Notes: Some children and adults have trouble finding the beat in music. That is ok. If the child can’t find the beat with the music, we recommend waiting to do this lesson. Also, sometimes sinus/ear issues can cause difficulties in distinguishing sounds.

These activities are presented without assumption of your child’s age or developmental stage. Children grow and develop so quickly during early childhood, but they are still learning how to control their bodies and are taking in enormous information—everything is brand new!

If you try an activity and your child is unable to complete it, relax 😊. That is normal for children. Adjust the activities to your child’s level or do a different activity entirely. Perhaps come back to an activity in 3 or 6 or 12 months and try again.

We cannot emphasize enough that the MOST important part of these activities is exposure and fun—exposure of the child to new ideas and fun with the parent so the child has a long term, enduring idea that learning is a good thing.

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