To those who celebrate, I hope your Halloween is spook-tacular! Here is one of my own favorite Halloween compositions. Enjoy!
One of my favorite ways to work on rhythm with my students is to use rhythm words. Chanting words to rhythm notes is a good way to help students develop rhythmic fluency and learn to spot rhythmic patterns.
You've probably seen other examples of activities using rhythm words such as fruit, candy bars, or animals. With October almost here, I decided to create a rhythm activity for my students with a Halloween theme. This activity helps students to learn to recognize and count eighth note and sixteenth note patterns.
To use this activity, print out the rhythm chart and rhythm flashcards, making as many copies as you need to create multiple rhythmic patterns. Then try a few of the following ideas to practice these rhythms with your students:
1. Copycat rhythms: Clap a rhythm while saying the rhythm words from the chart, then have the student repeat. After a few repetitions, clap the rhythm without saying the words and have the student clap it back while saying the correct rhythm words.
2. Identify the rhythm: Clap a rhythm and have students use the rhythm cards to build the correct pattern.
3. Build a new rhythm: Give students a time signature and ask them to build one measure of their own rhythm using the cards, then clap it back.
4. Spot the mistake: create a rhythm using the rhythm cards and clap the rhythm with one beat clapped incorrectly. Ask students to spot the mistake and swap the rhythm card out for the correct one.
Click HERE to download your free spooky rhythm chart and flashcards.
What do you think? How else might you use this spooky rhythm activity with your students? Please share in the comments!
This year I have quite a few new beginner students, so I thought it would be a perfect time to put together a few easy Halloween pieces to share!
Feel free to download the three pieces below and use them with your students this fall.
The Halloween Song (beginner): this is the silly song that most kids learn in grade school ("trick or treat, smell my feet..."). This version uses only quarter notes and half notes on the black keys and is easy enough to be taught by rote. This would be a great piece for a first lesson! Click HERE.
Trick or Treat (primer): this is an original composition with an optional teacher duet. It is written on the staff using only A and B in the left hand and C, D, E, F, G in the right hand. This would make a great piece for a Halloween recital! Click HERE.
In the Hall of the Mountain King (elementary): a student favorite, this easy version of Grieg's classic piece uses the D minor five-finger scale and has a simple hand crossing and position shift that is marked in the score for ease of reading. Click HERE.
Enjoy! If you use any of these pieces with your students, please leave a comment and let me know. I would love to hear from you!
Chrissy Ricker is a pianist, teacher, and composer from North Carolina. These are her thoughts on teaching, composing, and all things music.