It’s that time of year — time to pull out my Trick-or-Treat! rhythm game! During the weeks leading up to Halloween, I like to use my Trick-or-Treat rhythm game at pretty much every student’s lesson. It’s a fun way to make students “earn” their treat, and it’s such a great game for building their rhythm skills. Best of all, they LOVE this game!Continue reading “Getting out my Trick-or-Treat rhythm game!”
Yesterday, my student Robbie and I made a quick video for you, demonstrating how to play my new Trick-or-Treat! Rhythm Game.
Here’s what you’ll find in the video:
- 0:12 | What to do if a student happens to draw a TREAT card first thing! (This is a rare occurance.)
- 0:33 | How to teach a student how to perform the rhythm patterns on the TRICK cards accurately. They need to be able to (1) identify the meter, (2) count in before speaking/counting the rhythm pattern, and (3) maintain the meter as they speak/tap the rhythm pattern. (More tips on this below.)
- 1:00, 1:20, and 1:42 | Watch Robbie chant more rhythm cards.
- 2:00 | Robbie draws a TREAT card, ending the game.
>>> Watch the video >>>
Below is more elaboration and tips on how to guide your students to perform rhythm patterns accurately. I hope you’ll enjoy hearing my thoughts on this, whether or not you plan to use my Trick-or-Treat! Rhythm Game!
1. Identify the meter as either duple meter or triple meter.
Ask students: “Is this is duple meter or triple meter?” Sometimes I follow up with: “How do you know?”
With these rhythm cards, it’s easy: just look at the way the eighth note beams are grouped!
To make sure it’s not only a visual thing, though, I teach my students to listen to and feel the meter as well.Continue reading “VIDEO: Playing the Trick-or-Treat! Rhythm Game with a Piano Student”
Today, I thought I’d share about a quick and fun rhythm game I’ve been using lately with some of my younger students.
Game: Which Rhythm Pattern Do You Hear?
- Choose two animal erasers.
- The teacher creates two rhythm patterns using these free cards, laying out each one by an animal eraser.
- The teacher chants one of the two rhythm patterns and asks the student: Which animal’s rhythm pattern did you hear?
- Repeat with new rhythm patterns.
- If the student is ready for it, next try having the teacher and the student switch roles.
I like this activity because it keeps the focus on the SOUND of the rhythm patterns and because the only notation-related skill that is required is recognition. When switching roles, of course, the student is then required to create and perform notated rhythm patterns.
And if you are working with a small group of students, here is an idea for variating the game:
- Each student notates a rhythm pattern, with an animal eraser sitting near it.
- Whoever is “it” randomly chooses a pattern and chants it for the group.
- The rest of the students identify which animal’s pattern was heard.
Since attending Irina Gorin’s summer workshop for piano teachers in 2015, her “Tales of a Musical Journey” has become one of my favorite piano method books to use with beginners.
In her book, she uses black circles and white circles to represent simple rhythms in duple meter. (Duple meter is MLT’s term for when the macrobeat [big beats] contains two microbeats [little beats].)
Here is an example of Irina teaching with the black and white circles.
It’s easy to cut black and white circles out of paper, but I’ve also been using Othello chips. They are perfect for this because they are black on one side and white on the other. I found a used Othello game at a thrift shop for $2 a couple of years ago, and have been using the chips for rhythm games on the floor with my beginner students.
These chips can be used in any rhythm game where you might normally use rhythm value cards. Here are a few quick examples:
- The teacher notates two simple rhythm patterns (4 macrobeats in length), chants one of the patterns, and asks the student to identify which pattern they heard.
- Notate simple rhythm patterns and chant them together.
- Chant simple rhythms (perhaps using simple poetry) and notate them together.
The Othello chips also work great with a cloth staff/keyboard, which means the rhythms could be notated on the staff. There are many of fun uses for these chips! Let me know in the comments below if you have other ideas.
The image below provides a look at the levels available within Rhythm Swing: Basic Notes, Basic Rests, and Eighth Notes.
The app tracks progress by marking completed sections with up to three stars. This works great for students who own the app on their own device. Currently, the app does not enable teachers to track students’ progress from the teacher’s device.
For each basic rhythm concepts, the app first provides video lessons.
App Review: Petronome for iPhone/iPad (FREE, or pay $0.99 to remove ads and add additional “pets”).
Petronome is just what is sounds like: a pet + a metronome. 🙂 It is a fun app to use for rhythm activities with preschoolers or any young beginner student. (Thanks goes to blog reader Elaine for letting me know about this app!) Continue reading “App Review: Petronome”
Over the past few months, I have received many inquiries asking when the Level 3 Rhythm Cards will be available in the Shop. I am so pleased to announce that they are here!
As with the other items in my Shop, the rhythm cards are a PDF download that includes the license to print from the PDF as much as desired for use with your own students. The Level 3 PDF contains 22 pages of rhythm cards (5 on a page), for a total of 110 cards. These cards work great for a variety of games (such as Swat-A-Rhythm, the Rhythm Train Game, or the BANG! game) and also work well to send home with students as part of their weekly assignments.
Each card contains a three- or four-measure rhythm example. The rhythm examples in Level 3 use ties, sixteenth rests, and various combinations of sixteenth notes with eighth notes. The time signatures used are 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8 time.
Rhythm Lab app — $2.99 *for iPad only*
Rhythm Lab is an app created by Jon Ensminger (a piano teacher in Michigan) that is designed to help students improve their sense of rhythm. The app provides a series of graded rhythm examples for students to tap using the large, on-screen buttons. The app even evaluates the accuracy of the students’ performances.
I frequently use printed rhythm cards with my students during their lessons, but I have also been using this app recently with a few of my older students who really need help with rhythm and who have their own iPads at home. During the lesson, we practice a few rhythms and discuss strategies for accurate and musical rhythm performance (e.g., helping the student feel the meter beforehand). Then I can ask students to practice certain rhythms on their own at home. For students to use at home, Rhythm Lab is better than printed rhythm cards because the app can provide students with instant feedback.
There are a variety of one- and two-handed rhythms available, divided into 10 levels. The simplest rhythms feature basic rhythms and time signatures (2/3, 3/4, and 4/4). The more advanced rhythms feature mixed meter (5/4, 7/8, etc) and various tuplets. Continue reading “Review: Rhythm Lab app”
This week, my students and I are in the middle of rhythm camp!
My blogging might be a bit sporadic for the rest of the week as I continue preparing and teaching this camp. We’ve been busy working in our workbook…
…and playing games and making crafts, too!
I will be blogging more details about our “I Got Rhythm” camp pretty soon. Stay tuned!
I love being able to print out rhythm cards for my students to practice at home. I can give them just a few cards to start, and add more advanced rhythms and time signatures as needed. My students store their cards in a zipper bag and bring them to their lessons each week.
At first, I assign students to randomly choose a few cards clap and count at home each day. When that becomes easy, we are ready to play the Rhythm Train game. 🙂
Rhythm Train game
a music game for 1 or more students
- Rhythm flashcards.
- Printed train cards of the engine and the caboose (download the FREE printable on the Printables > Games page, under “Rhythm Train game.”)
Ask the student(s) to randomly choose 2 or 3 rhythm cards with the same time signature. First, make sure that the student(s) are able to accurately clap each rhythm card separately. As they master each card, they may add it to the train behind the engine, with the caboose at the end. When all the cards have been added to the train, ask the student(s) to clap the entire rhythm. Challenge the student to see how many rhythm trains they can make, or assign the student to make a rhythm train every day at home.
Playing the Rhythm Train game makes clapping rhythms just a little bit more fun. 🙂 It works well both in the private lesson (it can be played at the piano on the music rack, or off-the-bench on the floor) or in group classes.
You can download the free pdf of the train cards and instructions on the Printables > Games page, under “Rhythm Train game.” Enjoy!
Note: If you don’t have any rhythm flashcards, you can find a pdf download to purchase at ColorInMyPiano.com/shop/. Your purchase includes a license to be able to print the rhythm cards as many times as you wish, as long as you are using them with your own students.
At last Saturday’s Piano Party with my students, we played a fun game that I call the Swat-A-Rhythm game. I have seen many variations of this game on various forums and websites, so I am not sure who to credit with the original idea. In any case, I will describe the way I played this game with my students. 🙂 I also have some ideas for varying the game for concepts besides rhythm — such as notes, intervals, melodies, and terms.
Swat-A-Rhythm Game (& Variations)
- A fly swatter for each student. My local Dollar Tree store is currently selling some colorful fly swatters for 2/$1.00.
- 5-8 different cards with rhythm examples. (If you don’t already have some, I have a pdf of rhythm cards available for purchase here in my shop.
- Bug cards (optional), for keeping track of points.
Spread the rhythm cards out on the floor, within reach of each player. After the teacher finishes clapping the rhythm on one of the cards, the first student to swat the correct card earns a bug card. The player with the most bugs at the end of the game is the winner. (Note: You may wish to stress that anyone who swats before the teacher finishes clapping the rhythm cannot win the point.)
I’ve created a free pdf with the bug cards and game instructions. You can download it on the Printables > Games page, by scrolling down to the S’s for Swat-A-Rhythm Game.
It is sometimes challenging to come up with good aural-based games, but I think this one is a winner! My students had fun with the colorful fly swatters, and the game provided an incentive to listen closely to the rhythm.
- Swat-A-Note – The teacher calls out a letter of the musical alphabet, and students must swat the flashcard with the correct note on the staff. Or, do it backwards: Hold up a staff note-naming flashcard, and students swat cards that say A, B, C, D, E, F, or G. (If you need some alphabet cards, click here.)
- Swat-A-Piano-Key – After the teacher calls out a letter, students swat the corresponding piano key flashcard. Or, the teacher holds up a piano key flashcard and students swat cards that say A, B, C, D, E, F, or G. (If you need some piano key cards, click here.)
- Swat-An-Interval – After the teacher plays an interval on the piano, the students swat the interval card they heard.
- Swat-A-Melody – Cut a short piece of sheet music into two-measure pieces. The teacher plays random sections on the piano, and students must swat which two-measure section they heard.
- Swat-A-Term — After the teacher reads a definition of a musical term, students must swat the card with the correct term.
I hope your students enjoy this fun, versatile game!