We just finished up a 5-week session focusing on rhythm and sight-reading in my studio, so at our group event last Thursday I decided to play a game related to rhythm. I grabbed my rhythm chart, cut slips of paper into squares with numbers 1-9 written on each card (I wrote each number on four different slips so that there were four complete sets of numbers), and packed up three dry erase boards and markers.
Here’s how the game worked:
1. Students were divided into three teams.
2. The first team selected a representative to go to the piano and play the rhythm patterns.
3. The team representative selected the slips of paper from a bag (the team determined together how many slips they wanted the representative to draw).
4. As they drew the slips, they lined them up in order on the music rack.
5. The representative could take a few minutes to look over the chart and prepare, then he/she counted in and played the rhythm patterns in succession while their team listened and tried to determine which blocks they played and in which order. (I held the chart up so that it was visible to both the representative playing the rhythm at the piano and the rest of the team trying to determine what was played.)
6. The team wrote the rhythm block numbers on the dry erase board in the order they thought each was played and was given three chances to listen to the rhythm before showing their final answer.
7. The other teams also listened and tried to determine the correct rhythm blocks.
8. After the third playing of the rhythm, the team displayed their answer. If they were correct, they received 10 points times the number of slips of paper drawn. If they were incorrect, the other teams could show their answers and receive 5 points times the number of slips of paper drawn if they were correct.
This proved to be a very engaging game that required students both to accurately play and identify rhythm patterns. It also proved to be more challenging for the students than they first expected. One team attempted a six block pattern, but missed one. Four blocks at a time ended up being the most popular choice. It turned out to be a lot of fun!