Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Song Review - Body Percussion

Children clearly enjoy moving to music both as an expression of their feelings and as a natural response to the rhythmic beat of the music. Body percussion is a fun way to allow children to move. Body percussion uses sound gestures like clapping, snapping fingers, stamping feet and slapping thighs. The regular beat of the music is usually the most highly accented part of the music. This is the easiest rhythm for the children to follow. Everyone likes to clap or tap their toes along with a lively, upbeat song. So using body percussion can increase the interest and involvement of children when we ask them to sing that same song, yet one more time!

Brittney recently had a great post about the possibilities of body percussion. Brittney’s idea was to create pattern cards with symbols to represent the sound actions, allowing the children to decide what the action would be. I was reminded by her post that I haven’t used this type of activity for a long time. So, I used body percussion to review our new song two weeks ago. I didn’t make charts, I simply drew the symbols on the chalkboard. The kids loved it and we all enjoyed ourselves very much. Thank you so much, Brittney! I was strongly reminded of two things.

1. This can be surprisingly difficult to do, especially for children whose coordination is still developing. Most of the children could do one action easily, like clapping on every other beat, and still sing. Most could do two, successfully, and everyone enjoyed it. However, things kind of fell apart when I agreed to try three actions in a pattern. Three just seemed too complicated for my group and I should have held it to two. Most of my children are obviously still developing their coordination. I should make a note to myself - “Be firm in the face of begging children!” LOL. There are still lots of possibilities with two. The older kids had a much easier time than the younger ones, of course.

2. I was also reminded that if the actions are too complicated, the children cannot sing at the same time. ;o) This could be okay if we were singing familiar songs, but it defeats the purpose of reviewing a new song. Simple patterns make it fun to sing again and again.

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