Hands On Rhythms

I’m very excited to share that the 2nd Edition of my Hands On Rhythms curriculum is now available on my website!  Hands On Rhythms is a multi-sensory approach to teaching rhythm that I use with all of my elementary students.  The book contains 24 lessons that cover all of the basic the rhythm patterns and concepts students encounter in the first years of piano study.

This method provides a fun, “no-tears” approach to learning rhythm patterns.  Students get a chance to get up off of the piano bench and explore new rhythms in a playful, sensory environment.   In each lesson, students feel rhythms through whole-body movements and the use of a number of inexpensive props.  They hear and sing rhymes, silly songs and folk songs, and use visual manipulatives to see patterns.   A printable student workbook gives them opportunities to write and draw, before they finally move to the piano and play. My students have LOVED the “hands-on” nature of this curriculum, and I’ve noticed a big difference in their rhythm skills.  It’s a win-win!!

My inspiration for the new edition came last spring, as I was looking for ways to incorporate more “creative” activities into my students lessons.  It dawned on me that these rhythm patterns would provide a great starting place for short composition activities or improvisations.   In this new version of the curriculum, each lesson culminates with a guided workbook page that lets students demonstrate their newly-learned rhythm patterns at the piano – by composing, improvising or participating in ensemble activities.   It gives the kids a framework for creative exploration, and also lets me assess how well they have internalized the rhythm patterns.  Here’s an example of one of the new challenge pages:

Student Workbook - Creative Challenge

There are a number of other smaller updates to the curriculum in this edition that reflect some of the tweaking I’ve done to the lessons over the last couple of years.  This new version uses several new folk songs and silly songs to demonstrate rhythmic patterns, some fun new movements and tactile activities, and includes a number of new printable signs and visuals.  There are also 3 new lessons on eighth notes that weren’t included in the original version!

The new student workbook has a cleaner look, and many new and improved drawing and writing pages.  I also changed the student book to a landscape-format to accommodate young young hands and eyes a bit better.

Here’s a peek at the teacher’s guide:

Teacher's Guide

And a writing/coloring page from the student workbook:

Student Workbook - Writing Page

The teacher’s guide and student workbook are now available as an eBook bundle download from my studio store.  Once you purchase the files, you have unlimited reproducible rights – so you can print workbook pages for as many students as you’d like!   You’ll also find a complete table of contents and more details about the specific concepts covered on the store page.    Those of you who purchased the first edition will be receiving a special email coupon this week to use toward an “upgrade” to the second edition, so watch your inbox!!


Hands On Rhythms — 4 Comments

  1. Hi Jennifer,

    I bought your first edition and used many of the great ideas in it, but I wondered how difficult would it be for you to produce a copy with UK terms? I haven’t used the book as it is with my pupils as they would have to learn a second set of terminology : quarter note for crotchet, half note for minim etc. Instead, I’ve used ideas from the book, but would love the chance to use it properly with some of my pupils.


  2. Hi Alison,

    I understand that frustration! I’ve run across a couple of books before I really liked, but didn’t use much for the same reason. I’ll get to work on a version with the different terminology and let you know once it’s ready!


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