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Rhythm:  First Steps

As described in the Strings Magazine article by Judy Weigert Bossuat.

Presented by: California State University, Sacramento String Project Student Teachers, members of the Student Chapter of the American String Teachers Association at the American String Teachers Association Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico March 2008.

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## Rhythm as Concept

• Grade-school children can assign numeric values to symbols.

• These symbols can include music notation.

• Understanding the concept of rhythm does not guarantee that a child will know what to do physically with his or her instrument

## Rhythm as Action, Rhythm in Action

Goals:

• Introduce and cultivate a steady sense of rhythmic pulse.

• Introduce rhythmic values for written notes and rests.

• Do all of the above with many children as quickly as possible with maximum success rates.

## Step 1: Make rhythm a physical action

• Children march in time

Strong beats are clearly marked!

## Step 2: Right hand “reads” rhythm

“Notes” are played by the right hand tapping the right leg. Rests are played by tapping the chest.

The right hand stays on the right leg for the duration of the note or on the chest for the duration of the rest. This helps students learn that they must count through rests as well as the notes.

These are the first steps to introducing beat subdivision as a physical practice, not just a concept.

## Step 4:  Use exercises that mix up the note values that the student has learned

Whole notes + Half notes

Half notes + Quarter notes

## Example: Simple Rhythm with quarter notes and rests

View Quarter Notes and Rests movie

In the movie we see Chinaly’s first day doing these exercises.

Try it!

## Concert Rhythm, By: Mr. Stanley and Austin

View Concert Rhythm video performed by Mr. Stanley and Austin

## At this point, you can easily introduce time signatures!

• Students have an externalized sense of beat which will lead soon to an internalized pulse.

• Students can recognize note values in terms of beats.

• Students are ready to organize beats into measures.

## Step 5:  Apply rhythm exercise to actual music!

• Introduction to actual music reading.

• Clarify that the lines and spaces do not change the rhythmic value of a note.

## Rhythm: First Steps Review

• Directs students to concepts including beat subdivision, rest value and note value equality, ensemble counting as well as playing and rhythmic “body awareness”.
• Acts as an easy and effective transition to reading printed music.
• Significantly reduces rushing in students of any ability.
• Aids reading comprehension by breaking music-reading down into two parts; rhythm and pitch.
• Should be used by any level student experiencing rhythmic reading problems or an advanced player who isn't’t rhythmically consistent.
• Especially for beginners and young children, it provides a break from holding their instrument.

“Playing a string instrument is physical, and we want our kids to feel the rhythm in their gut!”

(Judy Weigert Bossuat)

## Brentt Rhythm

These easy steps can become more and more complicated helping the student to be able to decipher complicated rhythms.

Music Piece from: Rhythmic Training by Robert Starer, published by Hal Leonard

View Brentt Rhythm Movie

## Rhythm: First Steps was Presented by:

California State University, Sacramento String Project Student Teachers, members of the Student Chapter of the American String Teachers Association at the American String Teachers Association Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico March 2008.