Issue 28: The Game of Four – Warm up and Compostition

This has proved to be a useful warm up for any session involving keeping a steady pulse, and learning to internalise the pulse.

As a preparation, do the “counting to eight game” first, to establish a pulse.

Now, explain that you (the teacher) are going to clap four beats, then there will be silence for four beats, then the class claps four beats, folloowed by silence for four beats.

Like this; Teacher in italics, class in bold

clap clap clap clap sh sh sh sh clap clap clap clap sh sh sh sh clap clap clap clap sh sh sh sh clap clap clap clap sh sh sh sh

Repeat this sequence, aiming for total silence in the rests. Some children will be almost unable to stop themselves clapping on the first beat of the silence, some will clap with the teacher instead of waiting for their turn. Persist, insist, until everyone is concentrating – but quit when before everyone loses concentration again!

Moving on, divide the class into four groups. Each group claps four times in turn, maintaining the pulse eg

clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap                                                        with the different groups indicated by bold or italic.

when this is going well, try two claps each; clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap

and then one each; clap  clap clap clap

Finally, transfer this activity onto intruments; school percussion, boom whackers, small group tuition, samba groups, djembe, whatever you happen to be teaching at the time. If you are using pitched instruments, just decide on the note, or chord, for each group first. If you are using unpitched percussion, you can use this as an opportunity form the groups to explore the effects of different combinations of sounds – eg metal, skin, shakers, claves in separate groups or all mixed together.

Aha! a composition opportunity, perhaps combining pitched notes, rhythms and timbre! Perhaps you can vary the rhythms played by the groups, alternate pitched and unpitched notes, create a numerical graphic score, divide the class into smaller groups to create their own group compositions on a theme…….

This entry was posted in Clarinets, Composition, Djembe, Keyboards, Ocarina, Recorders, Samba, The organised teacher and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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