Monday, September 16, 2013

Boomwhacker Rhythms

It is rhythm review time in my third, fourth, and fifth grade classes. One of my favorite rhythm lessons involves a favorite instrument: the BOOMWHACKERS! There is just something about those colorful tubes that gets kids really excited about making music. I acquired this lesson from a workshop led by Chris Judah-Lauder many years ago.

After spending several weeks reviewing notes and rests using a variety of activities, I introduce these 6 rhythms patterns:

Once they can perform the rhythms comfortably, I divide them into 6 groups, pass out the instruments, and have each group practice their rhythm pattern. I have the groups play individually, two groups together, three groups together, and so on until we are playing all of the rhythms together. After some practice, we try the rhythms in canon starting and ending with the "Big Reds." This activity allows the students to practice playing contrasting rhythms (which is really tricky!) and it leads nicely into our Stomp rhythm projects (which are coming soon!). 

Here is a snippet of their practice session:  

And here is our final product:

A little bit of rushing but not too shabby! This lesson is challenging but very rewarding and the students love hearing how all of the rhythms interact with one another. It is definitely a favorite among my students.  :)