By the end of the day I felt like I had mastered my “Body Percussion” lesson with the intermediate students. I am not a trained music teacher by any means, nor do I have a lot of experience teaching music. I do, however, have a lot of fun teaching music the odd time I am given a chance! Here is the lesson for you to try (let me know how it goes!):
1. Discussion (5 min) – Talk about what percussion instruments are and how we play them. Generate examples of ways that we can create different percussion sounds using our bodies (stomping, clapping, etc.). Explain the challenge for the class is to (in small groups of 3-5) create a body percussion rhythm that represents a couple of lines from a well known song. I give two examples at this point – We Will Rock You and ABC’s/Twinkle Twinkle. Then discuss why “We Will Rock You” is so easy to recognize and suggest that they choose similar songs with strong beats when they do their own. I also mention how we can use the height of our body percussion to represent the pitch of the song (e.g. a clap over our head would be higher pitch then a foot stomp or knee slap).
2. Creation (20 min) – In groups of 3-5 have students choose a song and create a body percussion rhythm (no humming or lyrics) for about two lines of the song. Remind them that they need to be in sync for it to sound right and they will need to practice. Make sure students know that their first job is to decide on a song and that part needs to be done relatively quickly (rock paper scissors or take a vote if necessary), and then they need to create their body percussion to perform. During this time I make sure that I’m visiting each group to make sure they are on task and working well together. I will help get them started on a rhythm when necessary but try to leave this up to them.
3. Performance (15 min) – After the groups are ready we get back together as a group and each group gets a chance to perform their sequence. We then take three guess (charades style) on what the song might be. Most of them are pretty difficult to guess but they sure have fun guessing! After three guesses the group tells us what their song was and does their sequence one more time with singing or humming to show how it goes.
We had a lot of fun today with the body percussion and it was cool to see what the kids came up with. Let me know if you ever give this lesson a try and how it goes!