I’ve a year 3 djembe class who need a lot of practice to develop listening and concentration skills. They struggle to learn some of the longer djembe rhythms, and their pulse keeping is not as steady as I would have expected by this time in the term.
Hunting round for something that would encourage the less confident (“if at first you don’t succeed, give up and cry”), catch the attention of the wayward, and focus on trying to play bass and tone at the right time instead of randomly swatting the drum, I came up with this little game;
Everyone chants it together, so that the rhythm of the words settles down into a repeatable pattern.
Now play it with a mixture of tones and bass: for example TT T BBB T T B
So, here’s the game: Pick just one word and play that, but say all the others. For example, choose the word “yeah”, which a Bass. The pattern will go “Monday’s the day we play djembe B”.
Or, choose “djembe”; “Monday’s the day we play T T yeah”.
Try just imagining the words rather than chanting them out loud; ” .. . … T T . ”
Getting harder; “Monday’s the day we B djembe yeah”
By the time you have worked your way through all the words, and then combinations of words; for example “TT T BBB djembe yeah” the children have got the rhythm straightened out, and will have been concentrating hard.
We had a lot of fun with this game last week, and No-one gave up – Yeah! Class behaviour was excellent, too.