Reply To: Note and Rhythm Games

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Hello bailyj037,

It sounds like you are organizing a general music summer camp if you are going to teach students without instruments, in which case I would actually suggest asking on the forums in General Music. On that forum, their are many experienced music teachers with tons of ideas on how to teach basic music theory concepts.

In my experience, the games which I’ve learned that build a groundwork for music theory are generally rote taught vocal music and partner songs. You can use “The Sound of Music” Do-Re-Mi song as a classic way to introduce students to solfege. You sing a line, then they sing it back to you, starting from Do(e). Write a story about the music staff and how each of the five lines are a story to a house where a different note name lives. Students this age tend to latch onto learning that involves storytelling better than anything else.

For rhythm, a game that I learned in my junior year of college that was a hit with my elementary students was a game called Rhythm Poison. First, you write a couple different rhythmic sequences on the board, using four beats each, and mixing quarter notes, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes. Then, you say the rhythm of each sequence with students repeating you, using ta for quarter notes, ti-ti for eighth notes, and ti-ri-ti-ri for sixteenth notes. Once you’ve reviewed all of the sequences, you choose one of the sequences to be the “poisoned” rhythm. Then, you say one of the rhythms on the board randomly without telling students, and they repeat it back to you. If students repeat the “poisoned” rhythm back to you after you say it, you get a point. However, if students say silent after you have said the “poisoned” rhythm, they get a point. Its sort of like a game of “Simon Says,” only with teaching rhythms! If you don’t like saying tas or ti-tis for the rhythms, I suggest checking out Gordon method books of teaching elementary music for other ways to introduce rhythms to students.

Apart from these games, I would suggest asking what different elementary method books that general music teachers like to use to teach their classes for more ideas on how to teach this camp. There are many method books out there, but asking on the General Music forum first would be a good starting place for your particular needs. I hope this helps you!