Make a Fun Rhythm Chart!

This summer I attended a Melody Bober workshop at our local music store. It was a wonderful workshop, and among the practical ideas Melody shared was the idea for this rhythm chart. I made one on my own a couple of weeks later and have already used it numerous times in my lessons.

Side one contains easier rhythm patterns:

Side two contains harder rhythm patterns:

I made this by printing out these rhythm patterns, cutting them into 8.5″ squares and taking them to our local teacher resource center and laminating them on a 40″ wide laminating machine. I reinforced the top with a strip of posterboard glued to each side of the lamination. Then I punched two holes in the top and placed a metal ring in each hole. These rings can hang from thumbtacks I stuck in the wall at the appropriate width until I get a permanent chart hanger in place.

The primary way I’ve used the chart so far is by pulling out two rhythm instruments – one for the student and one for myself. I give a 4 beat count-in (since all the rhythms are in 4/4) and then play one of the rhythm patterns. The student has to determine which rhythm pattern I played. Then we play and count it together. The student then chooses a rhythm pattern, gives me a count-in, and plays the pattern. I have to guess which pattern he/she played. Then, we play and count it together. If the student is doing well with this, or is already more advanced, I do two or three rhythm patterns in a row and they have to determine which patterns I played in the correct order.

I’m sure there are many other uses for this chart, so I need to take some time to think of some other ideas for individual lessons and group classes. But for now we’re having a fun time just playing this simple game!

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