Monday, October 26, 2015

Tennis Ball Rhythms

To go along with our Rhythm unit, 4th and 5th graders have been talking about subdividing and how music note values are related to fractions.

Classes have really enjoyed this tennis ball rhythm activity! Each note has a different movement that goes with it to represent that note value. It helps to reinforce steady beat, how the notes are related to each other, and how they fit in the measure. Here are some pictures of the students practicing:

Whole Note: tennis ball goes around the body in a large circle for 4 counts
Half Note: bounce tennis ball for 1st count and catch ball for 2nd count
Quarter Note: toss the tennis ball up and catch on each beat
Eighth Notes: toss the ball back and forth between each hand on each half beat

You can find this activity here on YouTube:

(In addition to "Stars and Stripes," I have the students try the activity with a variety of styles)


  1. I love this and will be using it this week. You mentioned that you use it with other styles of songs. Can you tell me what other songs you've done it with? Thanks!

    1. My favorite is "Beauty in the World" by Macy Gray but lots of pop songs will work. :)