It is so important that we work with our students on their rhythmic reading skills. That’s why we’re excited to present the new publication Rhythm Workshop, featuring 575 rhythmic reading exercises. You may chose to clap, tap a pencil, pat your thigh, stomp, walk, patty-cake with a friend, speak, play, and/or sing these rhythmic exercises.
How did you learn to read rhythms? Perhaps you used “Too” or “Doo” on long-held whole or half notes, “Ta” or “Da” on quarter notes, “Ti-ka” or “Da-ba” on eighth notes, “Ti-ka-ta-ka” or “Do-be-do-be” on sixteenth notes. Or perhaps you use a combination of different approaches to keep your reading fresh and fun!
I enjoyed presenting Rhythm Workshop at several teacher sessions over the summer. We started by reciting an exercise on a common syllable. Then I added the challenge of using participants’ names on different rhythms (Sue = half note, Joyce = quarter note, Michael = two eighth notes). On page six of the publication, I suggested many other words to use, including fruits/veggies, flowers/trees, and cities. Use your imagination! Try using musical terms such as tie, staff, beam, rest, bar line, coda, etc. Or, in the fall, how about using football terms? (Click HERE to see example.) Or ask your students to suggest other appropriate words to match a season or upcoming event.
Add a handclap on each rest, or say “shh” or “rest” in order to make sure your students are keeping a steady beat.
Ask your students to write down the rhythm of their own name, street, city, favorite food, TV show, or movie, etc. Use some of those words the next time you read a new rhythmic exercise.
Choose a chord (Bass on do, Alto on mi, Tenor on sol, Soprano on high do) and perform the next exercise on a simple “ta.” Afterwords, invite your students to make up a rhyming lyric and/or create a simple singable melody, testing and expanding their compositional skills!
Most of the examples are eight measures long, so try singing “do” on the rhythm in the 1st measure, “re” on measure 2, “mi” on measure 3, and so on moving up the scale. Or start on high “do” and move down the scale. Then split your group in half with one group moving up the scale and the other moving down on another exercise, creating a 2-part texture.
Rhythm Workshop also features several 2-part examples. Split your students in half to read these rhythms. Double the fun by having Group A read Part I followed by Part II and Group B read Part II followed by Part I. For a challenge, “play” both rhythms using two hands (right hand taps top line, left hand taps bottom line), or tap one part while speaking the other.
Also featured are 11 “Missing Bar Lines” examples, where the students are asked to fill in the missing bar lines in different time signatures (answer keys provided). The final section of the book features six pages with mixed meter examples.
An enclosed Enhanced CD includes reproducible PDF files of each page, plus 36 musical tracks in a variety of tempos and musical styles. This encourages your students to get “in the groove” and not to rush as they read the rhythms. One of my teacher groups last month in Kansas City read an entire page of 3/4 examples to a lilting waltz track, with the added challenge of walking around the room (without running into anyone else) and landing back at their seat by the time the page was completed.
Enjoy using this new reproducible publication with your students!