Specialist music teachers have long known the value of body percussion. It’s music that you can make anywhere and with anything. This makes it an equally exciting tool for use by non-musicians in their lessons.
We have pulled together four of our favourite ways for any teacher to make use of body percussion in their starter activities. The ideas below will allow you to make music with your class so that you can deliver the learning objectives of any subject.
Body percussion with call and response
Sometimes, lessons need to start with an energiser. Last lesson of a rainy day? Start with an energiser. A sleepy class after a school trip? Start with an energiser. It wakes everyone up and gets the children ready to learn.
A great option is to combine body percussion with call and response. Try clapping and stomping a rhythm to your class and getting them to copy it back to you. Be fussy about the pupils being accurate with the rhythm and keeping a steady pulse. This will focus their minds on accuracy and wake them up!
It doesn’t even have to be limited to a starter activity. Does your lesson feel a little one-paced? Stop everyone in their tracks and try some body percussion call and response.
Top tip: why not turn the rhythm into a chant? This is an opportunity to create your own mnemonics for facts and keywords.
Rhythm games to improve coordination
Do your students need to develop their coordination? Or do you just need to teach children about the importance of concentration? A rhythm game could be just the trick.
Many rhythm games involve teamwork and cooperation and they can be great teambuilding activities. Why not try this one out?…
Percussion grooves without instruments
Body percussion isn’t the only way to create an exciting percussion groove without instruments. Your classroom is likely to be filled with all manner of objects that could be used as music-making resources!
Have you come across ‘the cup song’ from Pitch Perfect? It’s popular with children of all ages and it doesn’t have to stop with just one rhythm. Our director, Ollie Tunmer, was involved in this exciting ensemble variation.
Just be sure to consider the health and safety implications! Keep things quiet so that important curriculum resources don’t get broken and make sure that no one uses the windows with a drum stick!
Beatboxing in the classroom
Turning key learning points into a rap is a common teaching technique for all subjects. The rhythmic focus makes it easier for pupils to recall the information when they need it.
The trouble is that there’s something very inauthentic about a rap without a backing track. Why not add some beatboxing to the equation? You’ll very quickly have an authentic sounding rap that engages pupils and helps everyone to learn the key concepts.
Don’t, however, settle for poor quality beatboxing – the pupils will see straight through it! You can get some really inspiring beatboxing ideas from Schlomo using these videos on the Musical Futures website.
Your starter activities
These are just four ways to make the most of body percussion and beatboxing in your lessons. We would love to know about your own ideas. Send us a message on Twitter or Facebook to share how you make the most of percussion in your lessons.