Do you use Rhythm Grids with your band program? Following are 7 fun games to play using rhythm grids that require little prep and will excite your students about rhythm counting. Never heard of rhythm grids? They are rhythm sheets where students are able count from left to right, top to bottom or bottom to top. The grids allow a teacher to mix things up so students never count by rote! If you would like to learn more about our 5 levels of rhythm grids, click here to read an in depth article about what they are and how to use them. Now, let’s learn about the fun games you can play with the grids in band class.
Don’t Break the Chain
Students ‘pass’ the rhythm down the row – each student counts one measure. Their goal is to stay with the metronome and not make a mistake. If they “break the chain” (mess up) you can have that same student start a couple measures back and keep going.
Last Man (Woman) Standing (also called Drop Out or Mess Up, Drop Out)
All students stand up and count. They sit when they make a mistake but keep counting. The last man (or woman) standing wins. Read the full article (including how to keep this positive and fun!) HERE!
This game is similar to Drop Out. Students start seated and count. When they get to the end of the line (on the grid) if they have counted it all correctly, they stand up and keep counting. If they missed something, they stay seated. Once they count a line correctly (whether it’s the 3rd, 4th etc) they stand up. Any time they make a mistake they sit and keep counting until they have counted an entire line correctly, then they stand back up. Don’t stop at the end of each line (once they get the hang of it) just keep going – they stand or sit as needed.
Am I Right?
Project a measure on the screen or pick one measure off the grid. You count or play that measure either correctly or incorrectly. Students identify (thumbs up/thumbs down or another way) if you did it correctly or incorrectly.
King (or Queen) of the Hill
Students line up and count one line. After they count the whole line, ask them to move to the end (back) of the line if they made a mistake. If they got it correct they scoot up toward the front of the line. Repeat this over and over (pausing after each line to allow students to move). At the end of the game, whoever is 1st in line is the King (or Queen) of the Hill.
Put on accompaniment or backbeat
Consider doing this as students count to change up the routine while adding some fun!
Teacher performs rhythm, students identify the measure number.
- Simplify – limit to measure 1-8 on grid. Challenging – measures 1-20 (or more).
- Simplify – count with rhythm syllables. Challenging – play the rhythm on instruments
- Variation – student counts or plays the rhythm for the class
- Variation – Spread printed rhythm cards around the room. Teacher performs the rhythm, students must go around the room to find it.
We hope your students enjoy playing these rhythm grid games! New to rhythm grids and want to purchase for your band program? Find them HERE!
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