3 February 2020

Get tips for music in the classroom – Skills not Frills video series – Music #2

Begin to use musical rhythms while extending vocabulary

Learners begin to compose music with words and symbols laid out into a grid

Enjoy performing as a group

Download this blog as a resource sheet.

Music #2: Develop Musicality and Rhythm

ACTIVITY 1:   Rhythm of words

The ability to keep time and follow a rhythm is a key skill in music making. This activity is a perfect introduction to rhythm whilst exploring the themes you are working on across the curriculum.

It works like this: Ask your pupils to think of four words which relate to a theme of your choice. They need to have a one syllable word, a two syllable word, a three syllable word and a four syllable word.

So, for geometry you could have, square, circle, octagon and semi-circle. But there is no limit to this game as any theme you are studying is likely to have a mixture of one, two, three and four syllable words. 

Be as creative as you like, give each group a different theme to see how many different words you can come up with as a class. 

ACTIVITY 2: Composing music in grids

When writing or composing music, different rhythms or musical sounds can be represented by any symbol you like (not just the traditional musical notes).   Allow your learners some freedom and creativity to devise their own symbols to represent the sounds they have chosen. Ask learners to create a ‘key’ first to match the sound or word rhythms with a symbol.

Next provide the learners with a grid that represents the music. Learners are free to allocate the sound symbols within the grid to create a piece of music.  They could use patterns of sounds that repeat or are in an ABA sequence for example. Alternatively their patterns could mirror or reflect each other.

Once the grids are full the compositions are ready to be practiced and performed! Now that the music is written down it is also possible for a group to teach their piece of music to another group and vice-versa.

ACTIVITY 3: Learning an instrument 

Recorders, glockenspiels or ukuleles are all simple instruments that children can pick up and learn the basics, once they are more confident at reading and following musical instructions and grid compositions.  Learning an instrument as a whole class can offer a weekly activity that although challenging has huge benefits for wellbeing, concentration and group cohesion. Many websites offer online tab music to learn to play together, so be brave, give it a go! 

What next and where to find more help

LINKS: More activities for you and your pupils






This is a series of 15 ‘Skills not Frills’ resource sheets, each accompanying a short video. 

This is no #2 of 3 music resource sheets and accompanying film. 

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