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Battle of the Bands (Rhythm) | Free Music Lesson Plan
from The Lesson Zone

'Battle of the Bands' is a fun lesson activity that gets students engaged in working cooperatively to read rhythms and perform together.

Grade 4-6

Students will work in cooperative groups (bands) to prepare and perform a song, rhyme or speech piece on non-pitched percussion instruments to develop rhythm reading and ensemble skills. This lesson is designed to fulfill Standard #5 of the National Standards for Music: Reading and notating music.

Student music textbooks
Non-pitched percussion instruments

Step 1
Tell students, "Today you will have the opportunity to participate in a 'Battle of the Bands'. The winners of the 'Battle of the Bands' will win a piece of candy/certificate. Before we divide the class into bands, let's go to the white board."

Step 2
Review several of the rhythms from the piece you have selected that may present a challenge to the students.

Step 3
Ask students to get in groups of 4-5 students.

Step 4
Ask students, group by group, to select the non-pitched percussion instruments for their band. Ask students to get textbooks and turn to the appropriate page.

Step 5
Tell students, "You will have approximately 10 minutes to work together and practice this piece to the best of your ability. At the end of the practice time, we will listen to each band perform their piece. Bands will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Tempo (Was the beat steady?)
Rhythm (Were the rhythms performed correctly?)
Balance (Could all the parts be heard? If students spoke the piece along with the rhythm instruments, could they be heard?)

Step 6
Practice. Teacher circulates around classroom to help students.

Step 7
Tell students, "It's time to begin the 'Battle of the Bands'. Please place books and instruments on the floor."

Step 8
Review evaluation criteria.

Step 9
Listen to, evaluate and rate each band after their performance. Ask the class how they did. Was the beat steady? Were the rhythms performed correctly? Could all the parts be heard? Assign a point value or combine a point value with a bar graph to show results. Record the results on the white board.

Step 10
Award the winners!

Have fun!

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