Developing rhythmic independence and creativity

Performance Indicators

  • Standard 1a – create short pieces consisting of sounds from a variety of traditional (e.g. tambourine, recorder, piano, voice), electronic (e.g. keyboard), and nontraditional sound sources (e.g. water-filled glasses)
  • Standard 1b – sing songs and play instruments, maintaining tone quality, pitch, rhythm, tempo and dynamics; perform the music expressively; and sing or play simple repeated patterns (ostinatos) with familiar songs, rounds, partner songs, and harmonizing parts
  • Standard 1d – identify and use, in individual and group experiences, some of the roles, processes and actions used in performing and composing music of their own and others.
  • Standard 2a – use classroom and nontraditional instruments in performing and creating music.
  • Standard 2b – construct instruments out of material not commonly used for musical instruments.
  • Standard 3a – through listening, identify the strengths and weaknesses of specific musical works and performances, including their own and others\'
  • Standard 3b – describe the music in terms related to basic elements such as melody, rhythm, harmony, dynamics, timbre, form, style, etc.
  • Standard 3c – discuss the basic means by which the voice and instruments can alter pitch, loudness, duration and timbre.

Instructional Idea


Students will echo several three beat patterns in preparation for composing and presenting their own patterns to the class. 

  • Students echo teacher by clapping patterns that contain only 3 quarter note beats. Patterns should include different types and combinations of body percussion, such as clap, stamp, and snap. 
  • Students tell how many beats are in the patterns, and show on their fingers. 
  • Student volunteer presents a three beat idea or pattern that (s)he has made up, and performs the patterns for the class to echo. 
  • After using body percussion, the performance can expand onto instruments, either pitched or non-pitched.


  • change dynamics
  • use only body or voice
  • have students work in groups of three, each person getting a different beat.


-Students create patterns that consist of three beats -Students perform rhythmic patterns accurately


The performance aspect of this lesson is one that students enjoy, and the opportunity to echo these patterns provides additional learning. This Instructional Idea can be extended into higher levels of learning by: -using more complex patterns -asking children in the class to explain the differences between rhythmic patterns