Clowns rhythm group is a great opportunity for the children to further develop their sense of rhythm and build confidence making music. Classes are 45 minutes long with up to 12 children per class. They run over three 10-week terms throughout the year for our Limetree classes and are designed to be fun, relaxed and engaging.
In many different cultures and teaching methods across the world from classical to jazz to Samba to Indian folk music, learning percussion and rhythm is a first requirement before moving on to melody and harmony instruments like the piano, guitar or sitar.
Lessons are centred on using various percussion instruments i.e; triangles, shakers and tambourines. We also learn basic patterns and techniques for playing drums such as conga, Bongo and tom tom drums. Each term we choose a topic and theme the children are interested in such as ‘the jungle’ or ‘food’ and sing songs and play musical games based around these topics. We also use movement and dance to keep the lessons interesting and challenging, and the energy levels high!
Rhythm exercises and games such as question and answer phrases or taking turns to lead the group are other ways we structure the lessons. If the topic is food we might pass around a drum and tap out the syllables to our favourite food names while the rest of the group keep a steady clapping rhythm going.
We also use body percussion for songs and games. This is a great way of building co-ordination and is something the children can practice anywhere and at anytime. ‘Can you tap your knees twice and clap your hands once in a repetitive pattern?’
We will cover different genres of music from Samba to jazz and beyond. We will then listen to artists in these different styles at the end of the lesson in our listening time
A basic rhythm class will run like this:
· Introduction song and warm up using the voice, body and drums.
· Remembering the previous weeks songs to build a repertoire of music we can confidently play
· Look at instrument technique for that week’s focus instrument. ‘How do you hold a triangle correctly?’. ‘How can we get different sounds from a bongo drum?’
· Basic music reading skills and theory covering time signatures, tempo (slow or fast), dynamics (loud or soft). ‘Can you tap this written rhythm?’
· Movement and dancing songs using ribbons or colourful scarfs. Energy!!
· Group leading songs such as ‘Shay shay koolay’.
· Circle game songs. Pass a rhythm around the circle.
· Question and answer phrases and group leading exercises.
· Listening time with lights or watching a music related video.