Getting a little creative with rhythms and composing

Posted by on September 17, 2010

With so many students preparing to sit their AMEB examinations, I wanted to keep on top of their sight reading skills.  Of course when we’re constantly going through new repertoire it’s no problem, but I don’t like to get stuck into the ‘typical’ exam routine where students are only focused on their exam work and that’s it.

I printed off relevant rhythm worksheets from Wendy Steven’s ComposeCreate.com website for each student and then we got busy.

Here is how we did it:-

1. The first week students get their first worksheet, they need to go through the rhythms (1 per day) by either clapping, using fairy taps, forehead taps, knee taps, shoulder taps, side slaps, foot stomping or a combination.  I don’t mind what they do to get through those rhythms, so long as they have a really good attempt and hopefully get them all right.

2. The next week I ask them to clap/tap their favourite rhythm and then I assign them a challenge.  I set parameters and they need to make up a little composition for each of the rhythms.  My piano students used a 5 finger pattern and the violin students used 1 string (open to 4th finger on each string) for each rhythm.  They had to end on the tonic. They had to write the notes above the rhythm (the letter names).

3. Back to number 1 again with the next rhythm worksheet.

You can find Wendy Steven’s rhythm worksheets here: Rhythm Worksheets

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