Rhythm is a vital component of music. A strong rhythmic foundation is arguably the most important facet of music. Without a rhythmic framework in place, music lacks structure and a solid foundation. With my piano students, I often start with rhythm when learning a new piece. We tap and count out loud, chant the words in rhythm, step the rhythm, keep a steady beat and chant the rhythm, and point to the notes in the music and count out loud.
I believe this focus on rhythm is equally important in choral settings.
There are lots of ways to practice rhythm and help develop an internal sense of steady beat in your rehearsals - the easiest (and perhaps most effective) is to turn it into a game. Children love games and giving them an active way to participate and experience the new concept will make it both memorable and fun.
This week, I'm sharing my favorite tried-and-true rhythm games and activities for children's choir. Part I includes activities for keeping the steady beat, moving, listening, improvising, and developing aural skills. Part II will include games that focus on rhythmic reading, pattern recognition, composition, and developing musical independence.