Teaching Rhythms to Kids

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I’ve found a great resource for teaching basic rhythm to large groups. The book is called “Sing at First Sight: Level 1.” It comes in two varieties. One is for individual purchase by the students. (It has a blue cover. I use that one with my private voice studio students.) The other one, pictured here with a purple cover, grants permission to make photocopies of the book for one’s class. This is the one we use for KWA. 

I primarily use this resource with my third and fourth graders. Right now we are only learning quarter notes, half notes, whole notes, and eight note rhythms. Each of these note-values also has a corresponding rest value. I first teach the kids to clap and speak the rhythms. Then, we pass out a single drum stick and play the rhythms on a garbage can drum. Finally, the kids repeat the rhythms again and do “drum rolls” on the half and whole notes.  It is fun to make games out of the exercises (i.e. girls against boys playing different rhythm lines at the same, etc.). The kids seem to really like it, and I’m enjoying helping them develop as musicians.