Building Language

The next step of the process I’ve been laying out over the past few days (here and here) is built on playing with and in instruments (hand drums) and content (rhythm).  I like to take this to the improvisation level for the next step.  However, in order to make sure that students can improvise successfully (instead of just “playing whatever”) we need to be sure that they have the appropriate rhythmic vocabulary.  We would never ask a student who can’t read to write a paragraph so how could we expect students to improvise rhythmically without giving them some appropriate models?

For good models of rhythmic imitation you can see Volume One of your Orff-Schulwerk Music For Children.  Part II has speech and rhythmic exercises for imitation and for completion.  I challenge you to explore imitation (echos) with many different rhythms, meters, dynamics (yes, you can play a drum more than just loudly… ha ha ha), and starting with a pick-up note.  Changing the rhythms you use for echos will allow children to acquire more rhythmic vocabulary in their repertoire and give them added challenges.  Let’s PLEASE move away from just  ta, ta, ti-ti, ta.  There are SO many more interesting rhythms to play with.

If you don’t have Volume One you can create your own rhythms for imitation.  Change the meter, make them longer or shorter than 3 or 4 beats, play with accents and rests. 

After the students imitate the teacher allow for other students to be the leader to share their own favorite rhythms with the class. 

Tomorrow stop by to check out how to move from imitation of rhythmic patterns can move to improvisation!

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