Issue 21: Pulse Game; Counting to 8

This is a really simple activity and it can be played without any equipment. All you need is a clear signal for “stop” and “go”. When I joined the County Music Services, I was issued with a resource pack including a large, laminated, two-sided card circle, with one side red, and the other green, for playing this game. However, when I find that I have left my resources pack in the car, I just use my hands; palms open for “go”, and closed infor a fist for “stop”.

This is what you do;

Everyone quietly and calmly counts from 1 to 8, over and over again, keeping a steady pulse. When you give the “stop” signal, everyone continues to count, but silently. When you then give the “go” signal, everyone counts out loud, and should all be at the same number. Clearly, the longer the period of silent counting, the harder it is to stay together when you start counting out loud. And of course, anyone who isn’t watching attentively will miss the “go” signal, or, even worse, miss the “stop” signal. To make it easier, you can indicate the pulse by nodding your head, or tapping your foot. To make it harder, insist on everyone sitting absolutely still.

A variation is to just say certain numbers out loud; for example everyone counts silently except for number 4, or perhaps numbers 2 and 7. You can divide the class into groups and give each group one, or two numbers to say out loud.

If you haven’t tried this activity, I recommend it as a way of teaching children to keep a steady pulse, and also gettng the class to watch and focus at the begnning of the lesson.

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