Issue 122: Samba and Rhythm Grids

In one of my larger samba classes we have run into a bit of behaviour management hassle. There are a number of children who, for various reasons, are fidgety or disruptive or uncooperative or disaffected or – well there are around half a dozen of them and it was becoming a real problem.

“Divide and Conquer!”

We did a bit of work with reading and making up rhythm grids over 8 counts;

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
               

 I dished out pencils and grids, and the children put an x in the boxes that they chose to play. Then, over a backing track, they clapped, and then played on their chosen beats. Extension – use two sounds – eg stamp and clap, or stamp and play, and two symbols. Extended extension – introduced “double sounds”, ie quavers.

The following week, I divided up the class into four mini-samba bands, with two surdos, agogo bells, tamborims, ganzas and boomwhackers, (boomwhackers! in a samba band! That’s another story). I handed out grids and pencils and set them the task of composing their own samba.

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Surdo

 

               
Agogo

 

               
Tamborim

 

               
Ganza

 

               
Boom

whacker

               

 To keep the noise level down, I INSISTED that they practise their rhythms by paying the instruments with their finger, rather than using a beater. That was quite an effective ploy for keeping things reasonably sane.

How did this help with behaviour? The children were really interested in the task, and, on the whole, worked well together in their groups. I selected carefully, to ensure that the “tricky customers” were kept separate as far as possible. Time passed in useful, positive, and CREATIVE activity and we had a Good Lesson.

At the end, each group played their samba, we all learned useful ideas from each other for improving the work next time.

birds on a branch divider

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