Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Simple Teaching Method - Rhythm First

Look at the rhythms of a song you want to teach. Are there interesting or memorable patterns? How do the rhythm patterns relate to one another. Do these rhythms help express or add to the mood of the music. Some playful rhythms skip and run and suggest cheerfulness. Some rhythms are like marches and suggest energy and commitment. Composers use rhythms and tempo as well as melody and words to convey the message of a song. Steadiness, playfulness, conviction and peace are moods that can be enhanced with the rhythms of a song. I can almost hear the hammers pounding the steady beat of “I Am A Builder.” I can imagine a little child skipping down the sidewalk open to the opportunities for service in the song “Kindness Begins With Me.” There is energy and excitement in the rhythms of “Family Night” and “Daddy’s Homecoming.”

Rhythm activities are a wonderful way to add movement to singing time. For songs with interesting rhythms, teach the rhythm first by having the children clap the rhythm of each phrase with you as you sing the song. Change the action and then repeat. Slapping thighs, tapping toes, snapping fingers, stepping from left to right, or nodding their head are other rhythmic actions that the children could do.

Once you’ve been through the song a couple of times with the rhythm, use another simple method to help the children learn the words.

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