Just beat it

23rd February 2007 at 00:00

Ages 11 to 16

Rhythmic Hopscotch - This works well as a starter activity or can be developed into a whole lesson. Write a 6 x 6 grid on to the whiteboard and ask six volunteer pupils to write a combination of the numbers 3 and 2 in any order on each row. This will be the basis of rhythm activities using even quavers ("cof-fee") or triplets ("am-bu-lance", keeping each syllable even).

Have pupils perform this grid as a class, gently striking the desks - with the part of the hand where the fingers meet the palm works well. Perform each row twice. Work forwards on one row and backwards on another. Work the horizontals or the diagonals. It is good for concentration, drawing out concepts such as cross-rhythm and is a starting point for whole-class performance.

The activity can be extended into lots of variations - try splitting the class into two, with one group beginning in the bottom right hand corner and working right to left going up the grid, while the other group works in the opposite direction - in theory you should finish together. Any rings worn by pupils can also be used (with care) to add some syncopation or off-beats. Leave some squares blank for further interest.

Try it and see where your inspiration takes you

Anthony Anderson is head of music and an AST at Beauchamp College, Leicestershire

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