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Battle of the Bands | Music Lesson Plan (Rhythm)

from the Lesson Zone

Let the 'Battle of the Bands' begin! Students work in cooperative groups (bands) to perform the rhythms of a rhyme/speech piece on non-pitched percussion instruments. The winning band is awarded a 'Battle of the Bands' certificate.


Grade 3-6


Students will work in cooperative groups (bands) to prepare and perform a rhyme/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.


'Battle of the Bands' Music Lesson Pack (Lesson Plan, Rhymes, Applause-O-Meter and Award Certificates)
Non-pitched percussion instruments


Step 1
Tell students, "Today you will have the opportunity to participate in a Battle of the Bands. Each of the winners of the Battle of the Bands will be awarded this certificate. (Show certificate.) Before we divide the class into bands, let's go to the white board."

Step 2
Review eighth note/quarter note rhythm patterns to prepare students for the activity.

Step 3
Ask students to get into groups with four students per group.

Step 4
Provide each band with non-pitched percussion instruments and two copies of the selected rhyme/rhythm worksheet.

Step 5
Tell students, "The rhyme/rhythm worksheets will provide you with rhythmic ideas for your music. Speak the words, listen the rhythms and use them in your music. You will have 10 minutes to work on your piece. You can choose to perform the rhyme with instruments only or play and chant the rhyme. At the end of the practice time we will listen to each band perform.

Bands will be judged based on:

1) Tempo (Did the band have a steady beat?)
2) Rhythm (Were the rhythms performed correctly?)
3) Balance (Could all the instruments be heard? If students chant the rhyme could every voice be heard?)

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

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

Step 8
Review evaluation criteria.

Step 9
Listen to and evaluate each performance. Ask the class how they did. Was the beat steady? Were the rhythms performed correctly? Could all the parts be heard? Ask students to clap for each performance while you point to a number on the Applause-O-Meter. Record the score on the white board.

Step 10
Award the best band with Battle of the Bands certificates. (Two certificates are included. One certificate requires a name and one certificate has no line for a name so it can be quickly handed to the student.)