In my beginner groups this week, we did a quick activity focused on pattern recognition. I created large-type, one measure signs of the melody to “This Old Man” and scattered them throughout my studio. To start the activity, I had each student run to stand by a sign and clap it’s rhythm to the group. Next, we diagrammed the melodic shape of each pattern by using our voices to make siren or “buzzing” (like an engine) sounds that moved up or down with the notes.
Once we had identified each pattern I had students move to the middle of the room. I played a measure on the piano and asked them to run and stand by the sign they heard. As we found each sign, we hung it on my clothesline:
Once we had assembled the whole song, we followed the clothesline and sang it, using our hands in the air to “conduct” the melody as it moved up and down.
The pattern cards are available for download on my studio site. There’s also a set of signs for the song “Jingle Bells” I made at Christmas. (There will probably be more sets coming in the future, too – I like these! Any requests???).
My older elementary students played a different pattern recognition game that I found on the Making Music Fun website. The Mystery Message Game is a twist on “Hangman.” The game sheet includes 26 different measures – one for each letter of the alphabet. As the teacher plays a measure, students must listen to both the pitch and rhythm patterns to find the measure on their gameboard. They write down letter that corresponds with their measure to eventually spell a word. The first student to correctly guess the word wins. This is a great game to let students lead – the winner of the first game can take over at the piano and come up with the word for the second round!