Category Archives: Drumming

Rhythm and Rules Lesson Plan Ideas

Yesterday I posted the following picture which includes rules and rhythms that our Treasurer  learned in her Level I course with Gretchen and Sandy.

Today, I’d like to share some possibilities for using these in your classroom.  These are jumping off points for lesson plans.  Below the ideas, you can see possible NGSSS that might work with.

  • Arrange the rules in different orders and practice speaking them expressively.
  • Allow students to clap the rhythm of the rules (1 level of body percussion).
  • Allow students to use 2 levels of body percussion to perform the rules, changing with each rule/card, or within, depending on the level of your class.
  • Challenge students to use three levels of body percussion.
  • Take out the words and allow students to perform the rhythms using body percussion only, try in a different order.
  • Allow a student (or small group) to “perform” the rules for the class and the other classmates have to figure out which order they put the rules in.
  • Transfer all of the above activities to instruments.
  • Arrange your own class composition using the rhythm of the rules as the guideline.

MU.K.C.1.4              Identify singing, speaking, and whispering voices.

MU.K.S.3.4              Imitate simple rhythm patterns played by the teacher or a peer.

MU.K.O.1.1             Respond to beat, rhythm, and melodic line through imitation.

MU.K.O.1.2             Identify similarities and differences in melodic phrases and/or rhythm patterns.

MU.1.S.1.2              Create short melodic and rhythmic patterns based on teacher-established guidelines.

MU.1.S.3.4              Match simple aural rhythm patterns in duple meter with written patterns.

MU.2.C.1.3              Classify unpitched instruments into metals, membranes, shakers, and wooden categories.

MU.2.S.3.4              Compare aural melodic patterns with written patterns to determine whether they are the same or different.

MU.2.F.3.1              Collaborate with others in a music presentation and discuss what was successful and what could be improved.

MU.3.S.3.4              Match simple aural rhythm patterns in duple and triple meter with written patterns.

MU.3.S.3.5              Notate simple rhythmic and melodic patterns using traditional notation.

MU.3.O.2.1             Rearrange melodic or rhythmic patterns to generate new phrases.

MU.4.S.1.3              Arrange a familiar song for voices or instruments by manipulating form.

MU.4.S.3.5              Notate simple rhythmic phrases and extended pentatonic melodies using traditional notation.

MU.4.F.1.1              Create new interpretations of melodic or rhythmic pieces by varying or adding dynamics, timbre, tempo, lyrics, and/or movement.

MU.5.S.3.2              Play melodies and accompaniments, using proper instrumental technique, on pitched and unpitched instruments.

MU.5.S.3.5              Notate rhythmic phrases and simple diatonic melodies using traditional notation.

Can you think of other ways to use rhythms and rules as a lesson in your class? Please share in the comments section!

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Improvisation Poem

Many of our NGSSS involve improvising.  I know that when I started teaching, and before I took a levels course, I didn’t know how to teach improvisation.  I was also scared of improvisation (I can thank my traumatic stint in the HS jazz band for that).  Little did I know how easy it is to teach improvisation early.  You can find most of the improvisation benchmarks in the MU.S.1…. area of any NGSSS grade.

I saw this poem on a handout that a teacher copied for me.  I don’t have it anymore and I’m not sure where they got it from.  If you know the author, please let me know!

Improvise, Improvise, everybody improvise!
Make it up, as you play, it’s your turn now play away!
There are a few lessons you can use with this poem based on your comfort level and the grade level you are teaching.  I’m going to present some options below.
Option 1:
Teach the poem by rote, talk about what it means to improvise.
Have students sit in a circle, say the poem as a class, teacher improvise a 4 beat body percussion pattern, and students echo the pattern.
Once the students are familiar with the form, allow different students to be the leader, let the class echo.
Considerations:
Use simple 4 beat patterns with only one or two body percussion levels at the beginning.  Make it more difficult as students get more proficient.
Take volunteers first and don’t force a child to “do whatever” until they are comfortable.  That may take a time or two.
When it’s time to move on and each child needs to participate you can create a few “safe” patterns that are on the board.  If you get to a child and they don’t know what to do, forgot what they planned, or need more guidance, they can select a pattern from the board.
I like to  do this in a circle with a carpet square or special place designed as the “improvisation station.” We walk around the circle saying the poem and when it gets to the end, we stop.  Whoever is “parked in the station” gets a turn to improvise and the class echos.
Option 2:
Put a drum or other NPP at the improvisation station, use instruments rather than body percussion.
Option 3: Make more improvisation stations around the circle, allowing multiple students a turn at the same time.
Do you have an easy way to introduce your students to improvisation? Please comment with your idea!

Ideas from Alpha IV

If you’ve been reading this week you’ve noticed that we are having a give away of Jim Solomon’s book of body rondos.  The winner isn’t announced until Friday so keep entering!  Yesterday I showed you how I processed one of the pieces for my students. Today I will brainstorm some additional ways to use this piece.

1.  Give each body percussion level a note on the recorder or each section a different pitch.

2. Give each body percussion level an unpitched percussion or each section a different instrument.

3.  Add movements.

4. Change the order of the sections.

5. Allow different groups to be “in charge” of different sections.

6. Mix the children up and allow them do decide which modification they want to use and share with the class.

How else? What have I forgotten?  Comment below!