This month, we will be focusing on an important musicianship skill that often gets overlooked: rhythmic dictation!
Keep reading for a free, holiday-themed rhythmic dictation activity you can do with your students this month!
Rhythmic dictation is the process of hearing a rhythm and translating it into written notation. Not only can rhythmic dictation help students solidify their sense of rhythm, it is an important skill for students who enjoy composing and notating their own pieces.
A few tips for helping students to be successful with rhythmic dictation:
- Start by doing a few copycat exercises. Can students successfully clap back a rhythm that they hear you demonstrate?
- Next, clap a single measure of 4 quarter notes, 2 half notes, or a whole note--can students identify which rhythm note they hear and draw these notes on a blank piece of paper?
- If students can successfully complete both of the activities above, they are ready to try Level 1 of the Christmas rhythmic dictation activity below! Play (or tap) each line several times while students notate the rhythm they hear.
- It can be helpful to use the metronome when doing these rhythmic dictation exercises at first, so that students can clearly hear the quarter note beat.
There are 4 levels of Christmas rhythmic dictation included in this activity. Each level includes a teacher page with a line from 4 familiar Christmas songs and a student page with blank measures where students can draw the rhythm they hear.
Rhythms included in each level:
Level 1: quarter notes, half notes, dotted half notes, whole notes.
Level 2: adds pairs of eighth notes.
Level 3: adds dotted quarter notes and single eighth notes.
Level 4: 6/8 time.
Sample page of Level 1:
(Looking for more Christmas activity sheets? See my holiday resource round-up blog post HERE.)
What do you think? Do you incorporate rhythmic dictation into your lessons? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!