Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Beat vs. Rhythm--a Movin' and Shakin' Activity

Beat vs. Rhythm--which one will it be?
   Sometimes it's fun to prepare nice pictures, word puzzles or codes for Singing Time, and sometimes it's nice to have an activity that requires no preparation at all!  Beat vs. Rhythm is a simple activity with zero preparation that still engages the children while they sing.  This activity is full of movement, so I use it for a change of pace between activities that tap into the visual or word learning styles, as in my Singing Plan, here.  I find that Beat vs. Rhythm works best with quick songs with a strong beat, such as "The Church of Jesus Christ" (p. 77) or "Follow the Prophet" (p. 110).  I have done this activity with egg shakers or just with hand tapping, and both work well.

The Basics

"Let's pretend we're drummers, and we have to step on the pedal for a bass drum with our foot, once for every beat."  Immediately start singing, and tap one foot on the beat.  If children in the back can't see your feet, you could nod your head or pat your lap to help them stay with the beat.  

Once they have that down (perhaps after one time through the song), switch to only hand tapping, and tap on your lap the rhythm of the melody, one tap per syllable sung.  

Challenging Junior Primary

For Junior Primary, here are a couple ways to add a challenge, and thus make repeating the song fun.  Challenge One:  Choose a couple confident, older children to lead half the room in tapping their feet on the beat. At the same time, you lead the other half of the room in tapping their hands with the rhythm of the words.  Switch halves of the room and repeat. 

Challenge Two:  Ask one child to stand by the light switch and prepare to turn it off and on while you sing .  Have all the children start tapping the beat with you as you start the song.  When the lights go off, switch to tapping the rhythm.  When the lights come back on, switch back to tapping the beat.  

Challenging Senior Primary

Challenge One above will likely bore your Senior children to tears, but Challenge Two is still fun for them.  Here is the real challenge, though:  tap both the beat and the rhythm at the same time. Crazy hard! I normally mess up a couple times, but that's okay.  The older children love doing something that is actually difficult to master.  Just have fun with it!

Happy singing,

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