The Rhythm Machine

Age Range: 5 - 11
By: Peter P

I often had students play a game that I learned many years ago in school called "The Rhythm Machine."

  • Have your students sit in a circle.
  • One person starts the Rhythm Machine by doing a simple rhythm that repeats over and over.
  • I often start the Rhythm Machine with just a basic 4/4 quarter note beat.
  • The person sitting to the left of the starter then adds their own rhythm to go along with the rhythms that are already going. Again, the rhythm has to repeat and can not change.
  • When everyone has added a rhythm, let the kids listen for a few measures.
  • The first person will then stop doing their rhythm. Again listen for a second or two, and then the second person drops out.
  • It continues until the last person is the only rhythm. Listen to the changes in sound and how one part can make a HUGE difference.

My students are string players so I often incorporate instruments. They can beat on them, pluck notes patterns etc, as long as it repeats over and over.

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