Rhythm Made Easy (for Kids) - Play Better INSTANTLY!

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"Rhythm Made Easy (for Kids)" teaches a rhythm counting strategy in less than 5 MINUTES that will end rhythm counting confusion FOREVER!

Rhythm Made Easy (for Kids) (Video Transcript)

Want to help your students play simple rhythms perfectly every time? In this lesson I’ll show you the counting method that we use in our MakingMusicFun.net Music Academy lessons that will help you do just that.

Hey there! I'm Andy Fling, the founder of MakingMusicFun.net. We create resources for elementary level music teachers, parents, and students. If that's you, and this lesson is helpful, please consider subscribing!

I’ve helped hundreds of kids get started with music and the biggest challenge is rhythm.

Learning note names is a big goal too, but not something that students can’t learn in a few weeks, if they want to. It just requires time with note name flash cards, worksheets, and games.

Rhythm is a different story. It requires learning note values, a complex counting system, listening to make the connections between the note lengths and music notation, and practicing to get it all right.

I spent 14 years teaching general music to elementary school kids, and I often used spoken phrases to help kids perform rhythms on Orff xylophones and metallophones. I’d make up a phrase that matched the rhythmic phrase I wanted to teach my students, and get them to say it as they practiced on the Orff instruments.

I didn’t see any crossover into piano lessons, but I thought why not?

I decided to give it a try with a six-year-old piano student of mine, and it worked great! She consistently counted out loud with this system, and consistently played her rhythms correctly. Within a few years she was winning awards, and was one of the most successful students I’ve ever taught.

Instead of counting with numbers, students say the note names when they play quarter notes and phrases for longer rhythms.

What was really exciting to me was that students were not only playing the rhythms correctly, they were practicing note names as they played and drilled rhythm names with the phrases that I’d taught them.

Let me show you what I mean with a few examples. You’re welcome to play along if you want to.

I’ve already mentioned that I have students practice their note names as they play when they’re performing quarter notes, but let’s actually look at an example.

I’ll play it first and then we can try it together.

Let’s try it together. Ready. Play.

Now let’s try a phrase with only half notes. You’ll say the two-syllable phrase “Half Note” to count this two beat note and drill the name of the rhythm.

I’ll play it and then you can play it with me.

Let’s try it together. Ready. Play.

The whole note is counted with the four-syllable phrase “Hold That Whole Note.”

I’ll play it and then you can try it.

Try it. Ready. Play.

And finally, the dotted half note, which is counted with the three-syllable phrase “Dot-ted Half.”

Give it a try. Ready. Play.

The music beginning students play will always be a combination of all of these rhythms, so let’s wind things up with an example that includes every rhythm mentioned in this lesson.

Try it. Ready. Play.

In our experience, students consistently play rhythms more accurately if they use this system. If you give this counting system a try, please let us how things are going in the comments.