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Teaching Rhythm During Online Learning

Teaching rhythm during online learning: How to practice reading, dictating, and more with rhythm while digital learning

Many of us are wondering how to teach and practice concepts that we would normally be teaching in class, while teaching online. In this blog post, I’m exploring how to practice rhythm with students while teaching in a digital environment.

Rhythm Reading Videos

I made this video years ago, but it’s perfect for online learning! Students can grab an instrument they have laying around at home and play each pattern after saying it, or if they don’t have an instrument, they can clap each pattern after saying it. 

My friend Debbie O’Shea from Crescendo Music has made these great rhythm reading videos. She has this whole series; here is one of the rhythm reading videos, for tika-ti. 

Students can simply read along!

I love Amy Abbott’s Rhythm Wars! The rhythm patterns look like the opening credits of “Star Wars.” Students are totally engaged when working with these. While online learning, you could simply provide a link to the video for students to watch.

Rhythm Games

I just found out about the Rhythm Randomizer, which is a great reading game. Students click “note options,” choose the rhythms they know, and then read each rhythm pattern. To randomize, students click each pattern, then read another! 

The Rhythm Trainer is another great game, in which students can listen to a pattern, then dictate. Again, students can choose whichever rhythms they know, then listen and dictate.

Rhythm Worksheets

Having a way of students writing rhythms is important, so sending home a packet of worksheets could be helpful. Here are some free worksheet sets for rhythm:

And here are a few others that aren't free:

If you don’t want to send home the entire packet, you could use this tutorial to split the PDF. Or you could print out the worksheets you want, scan them, and then save and send.

Making Rhythm Videos

If you’d like to make your own rhythm videos, it’s not too hard to do. Let’s say you want to make a video so students can read rhythm patterns. You could use these tools:

I’m also planning on making videos of me teaching rhythmic concepts, with my face to the camera. For this, I’ll need:

  • A dry erase board
  • Screencastify
  • Microphone (completely optional, but can make sound better. If you don’t have one, you can just use the microphone already in your computer.)

To make a rhythm reading video:

  • Insert a text box into PowerPoint or Keynote, type a pattern in the MusicEd font, then go onto the next slide and type another
  • After making several patterns, go back to the first page, open up Screencastify, and hit record
  • You could say “1, 2, ready and” and play a drum to the steady beat, or you could say the rhythm patterns with the understanding that students would be saying the rhythm patterns with you
  • Upload the video to Google Drive, or to YouTube as an unlisted video, then share that link with your students. You could also upload to a website, such as one you make with Google Sites.

I hope this has been helpful to you, as you embark on this journey as an online music educator! In my next blog post, I'll be writing about practicing melody with your students during online learning. Happy (online) teaching!

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