For many kids our classes are a much-needed break from the regular classroom. With us, they can move around and be creative. They can tap into that part of the brain that let’s them communicate their thoughts and feelings in a different way. This is my very favorite thing about teaching music to young children. There is no limit to their imaginations!!

The spring concert is coming up and, as you know, I like to include a piece that the students have created. This year my goal is for the second grade to create a rhythmic folk dance. We have been able to include folk dances in this year’s curriculum, as the Covid restrictions have loosened up a bit, and I am excited to give them this opportunity! Of course, I must start from the very beginning (as Julie Andrews would sing) and make each step simple so as to set them up to be successful!!

Here is lesson 1 (Approximately 15 minutes):

  • I put up 4 quarters on a 4/4 tray and asked a student to say the rhythm.
    • Red, red, red, red
  • “Ok, where else can we put that steady beat?”
    • Tap it out on our heads, shoulders, bellies, etc.
    • Clap it out
    • Stamp it out
  • “Can we keep that steady beat in 2 different places?”
    • Tap heads for 2 and knees for 2
    • Stamp one beat, clap the second, tap heads for the last 2 beats
  • “What if I had a partner? How can we tap out that steady beat together? How can we mix it up?”
    • Kids found a partner and went to work!
    • They did all kinds of cool things, from high fives to tapping back and forth motions!

I have only devoted 15 minutes to this, but you could easily have it last longer. You can also deviate from the steady beat and have kids create rhythms; then partner up to create movements to those. The possibilities are endless and will serve as a great bag of tricks when it comes time to choose what they want to do later on.