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Meter, Meter, 3-4-5
from The Lesson Zone




Level
Grade 2-4

Objective
Students will gain an understanding of meter by learning about 3 common patterns of accented and unaccented beats. This lesson is designed to fulfill Standard #5 of the National Standards for Music: Reading and notating music.

Materials
Recordings of Music in 3/4, 4/4, and 5/4 Meter
12 Playground Balls
Rhythm Sticks

Lesson
Step 1
Ask students, "Who has learned about patterns?" and "Who can find patterns here in the music classroom?" Take the time to set up several patterns around the room before the students arrive. Example: 3 red books, 3 green books, and 3 orange books stacked on a table.

Step 2
Tell students, "There are also patterns in music. The most common beat patterns are 3, 4 and 5. If you play an instrument, you have probably seen time signatures at the beginning of a piece of music." Write 3/4, 4/4, and 5/4 on the white board. "The top number tells us how many beats there are in the pattern."

Step 3
Ask students to identify how many beats there are per pattern for each time signature.

Step 4
Tell students, "One way to discover what the meter of a piece of music is, is by looking at the time signature. It is also possible to hear patterns. In 3/4 meter the first beat is strong (loud), and the second and third beats are weak (soft)."

Step 5
Tell students, "I'm going to play a piece of music with a 3 beat pattern. We will show the 3 beat pattern by bouncing a playground ball on beat 1, followed by the rhythm sticks on beats 2 and 3."

Step 6
Pass out playground balls and rhythm sticks. Alternate playground ball, rhythm sticks, playground ball, rhythm sticks.

Step 7
Start recording. Ask students to show a 3 beat pattern by bouncing a playground ball on beat 1, followed by the rhythm sticks on beats 2 and 3 (bounce-tap-tap, bounce-tap-tap). Pass the balls and sticks every 8 measures.

Step 8
Tell students, "Now I'm going to play a piece of music with a 4 beat pattern. In 4/4 meter the first beat is strong (loud), and the second, third and fourth beats are weak (soft). We will show the 4 beat pattern by bouncing a playground ball on 1, followed by the rhythm sticks on beats 2, 3 and 4."

Step 9
Start recording. Ask students to show a 4 beat pattern by bouncing a playground ball on 1, followed by the rhythm sticks on beats 2, 3 and 4 (bounce-tap-tap-tap, bounce-tap-tap-tap). Pass the balls and sticks every 8 measures.

Step 10
Tell students, "The last piece of music has a 5 beat pattern. In 5/4 meter the first beat is strong (loud), and the second, third, fourth and fifth beats are weak (soft). We will show the 5 beat pattern by bouncing a playground ball on 1, followed by the rhythm sticks on beats 2, 3, 4 and 5."

Step 11
Start recording. Ask students to show a 5 beat pattern by bouncing a playground ball on 1, followed by the rhythm sticks on beats 2, 3, 4 and 5 (bounce-tap-tap-tap-tap, bounce-tap-tap-tap-tap). Pass the balls and sticks every 8 measures.


Have Fun!





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