The rhythm envelope game is a great way to review rhythms in a totally different way. We usually focus on having students read rhythms off the page by performing them for us. This game is a way to flip that around. To be successful in this game students must develop rhythmic recognition – aural and visual – as well as being able to perform the rhythms back to us. This type of basic dictation is very effective, fun for students, and a great change of pace. It is also ideal for assessment since students must individually show their understanding to choose the correct answer.
Preparation Before Class
- Make your own 2-measure patterns based on rhythms they know or browse our Rhythm Envelope Games available here.
- Copy enough for each child in your room to have a set (on cardstock if possible).
- Laminate if desired.
- Cut into 8 slips. (2 measures each)
- Put one set in each envelope – enough for a class set.
- Be sure the students know the rhythms – this game is for review or assessment – not initial teaching. Also, if you are worried your students might struggle with the game you can start with the simplified version at the end of the post.
Before Beginning The Game
- Give each child an envelope with the rhythm cards inside.
- Have them open the envelope and take out all 8 cards and put them in front of them on the stand.
- Have students be sure the stems are up.
How to Play the Rhythm Envelope Game
1. You clap or play on an instrument a random card.
2. Students identify which card you performed.
3. Demonstrate the first 2 measures again and have them check their card. If it is not right they can switch it.
4. Have them hold up their card where you can see it and be sure everyone has the correct card. If they are having trouble you can also count with syllables to help them identify the correct card.
5. Have a volunteer count the card.
6. Have all students count the 2 measures together.
Continue this pattern until all cards have been counted.
Optional Simplified Round
1. Have students choose 2 cards that are very different.
2. You clap one, they identify it. Then move to 2 cards that are similar.
3. You clap one, they identify it.
4. Then put out 3 cards that are similar. You clap one, they identify it.
5. Keep adding cards. This might be done over a few different days.
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If the rhythm envelope game is something you like, there is a similar version of this game with MELODY available. Check out my post – The Melodic Envelope Game (for instruments) – on another great blog – Mrs. Miracle’s Music Room – along with a free printable. Click here.
Tamarie Sayger has taught band for 5 years, elementary music for 3 years, and private clarinet lessons for 14 years. She enjoys teaching students from beginner level through high school. This activity is based on concepts learned during her Kodály Certification at Texas Tech University.
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