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Musically Montessori: Rhythm Echoes and Clapping, Stamping, Patting the Pattern

ONE OF THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF MUSIC IS RHYTHM AND KEEPING THE BEAT. THAT'S WHY LITTLE CHILDREN LOVE TO PRACTICE WITH ECHOES AND BODY PERCUSSION.

Photo from Adobe Stock

In the Orff-Schulwerk Music Education Method, the next step after echo singing is rhythm development through echo patterns, chants, and body percussion. 

I have found that my groups really enjoy the echo rhythms that we practice in each of our music classes every time. In fact, we've practiced these rhythm patterns so much, that the children have them memorized and can eventually carry them over to playing the patterns on instruments like rhythm sticks, tambourines, and maracas.


START WITH ECHO RHYTHMS
So, the first level of refining these skills is vocally repeating simple rhythm patterns. By keeping the underlying pulse going, the teacher establishes the steady beat that permeates throughout the rhythm patterns the children are echoing. That makes the activity more cohesive, easy to follow, and the children feel successful. 

Here's a little video made with Frank Leto's "Be My Echo" recording. In the beginning of the school year, I use these echoes from Frank at every music circle.



Sometimes, it is fun to introduce a prop, like the sock puppet in the photo below, so that the children can dramatize the echo action with their own little "echo friend."

Photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius

My Lower Elementary Groups absolutely LOVE this "Boom-Chicka-Boom" Rhythm Chant and this video is shows the creative fun of this traditional chant.




BODY PERCUSSION REINFORCES 
RHYTHM PATTERNS 
Since movement is so important in the early childhood music experience, it is easy to jump right into the next step of practicing rhythm patterns with stamping, clapping, patting and even finger snapping. 

Orff-Schulwerk introduces these actions, called "body percussion", early in a child's musical life. In the Montessori way, we introduce each action separately so as to "isolate the difficulty". Then, as the child gains coordination skills, and practice with echo rhythms, s/he  is able to combine two, then three and even four of the body percussion actions to create a sort of musical choreography. 


This video below is from the San Francisco School where Doug Goodkin, my first Orff-Schulwerk instructor, has been teaching for over 30 years. Body Percussion is an art form in itself!


RHYTHM PATTERNS AND INSTRUMENTS
The progression of skills eventually leads to playing rhythm patterns with simple rhythm instruments and this is the beginning of ensemble playing for children.

After your group has practiced echo rhythms for a while, they are ready for rhythm patterns played with instruments, like the sand blocks in this photo. 

Photo from Kiran's Montessori

Here's a great video showing the lovely progression of activities typical in the Orff-Schulwerk method of music education. The ways to practice rhythm patterns is almost endless!




I recently discovered this sweet video from the Summit Montessori School that shows the perfect blend of the Orff-Schulwerk style of rhythmical activities and the classic Montessori method of education.


This week I will be posting lots of Rhythm Echo and Body Percussion Activities on my Facebook Page, and please don't miss my FREE ACTIVITY I'll be posting on "Montessori Magic Friday" at Magical Movement Company Facebook Page.

I've just completed my new "Magical Movement Company Freebie Collection" at my website, so now my subscribers can download all my free activities from that password-only page. This includes my eBook, "Musically Montessori, First Lessons."($12.95 value)  You'll be getting an email this week with the new password for the page. If you haven't already joined the thousands who subscribe to my email list, you can do it right here on the sidebar of this Blog!

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