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Welcome to October! Our music themes this month are rhythm and the beat.

The beat is a cornerstone in music and can easily be compared to the heartbeat of music. While walking, marching, or running to music, you typically put your foot on the ground at each beat. In songs, drums (like the lollipop drum or the tubano drum).  A rhythm is a collection of sounds over the beat.  It’s also the basis for some great music games!

Creating rhythm patterns using body percussion a versatile activity for a variety of ages. This game has been one of my favorites!

What you need

You. You’ll need you! You’ll also need either a piece of paper, whiteboard, chalkboard — really just anything to write a few numbers down!

What to do

This game strings together a series of body percussions to create a rhythm. In this version, there are three movements. Depending on age, you can add more combinations. Each pattern is labeled by an odd number. Each pattern builds upon the previous pattern.

1 — Clap

3 — Clap, shoulder tap, shoulder tap

5 — Clap, shoulder tap, shoulder tap, right stomp, left stomp

Time to make up your own patterns! Write down each number onto your board so you can read your rhythm and go ahead and play it. You can decide the rhythm length and order. Here is 3-5-1-3-5:

Once you’ve mastered body percussion, go ahead and see what other instruments you have around the house! A few wooden spoons and pots double as great homemade drums.

A Step Further

Halloween is coming up! You can absolutely use some popular candy names to match some of these rhythms. Here are some examples.

1 — Twix or Mounds.

3 — Swedish Fish or Milky Way

5 — Peanut M & Ms or Peanut Butter Cups.

This is a great way to play percussion rhythms over a beat. Let’s hear some of yours!