We recently received the following email:

Love your program (Rhythm Rulz) and have recommended it to several other teachers. Do you guys have any lesson plan ideas to use with it? Right now, I just have the kids saying the syllables and/or playing the rhythms . . . but I need to find more ways that I can use it to continue to make rhythm learning more palateable for them.

Let me know if you guys have come up with any ideas! Thanks.


Here are some ideas to energize your rhythm training with your band, orchestra, and choir:

  1. Make Individuals Ac"count"able — Invite students to count or play the rhythm individually. This will increase attention and ensure that students are learning the rhythms, not just copying their neighbor.
  2. Play Scale Patterns — Play scale patterns with the rhythms. Increase the tempo to increase the challenge.
  3. Change Rhythmic Syllables — Alternate your regular counting system with the “down-up, foot-tap” method. Or use words or names to identify rhythmic patterns. “Cross-training” for the mind can be effective.

Here are some ideas more suitable for a general music classroom:

  1. Use Body Percussion — Use body jumps for whole notes, stomps for half notes, leg pats for quarter notes, claps for eighth notes, etc.
  2. Play Melody Instruments — Take the F and B off any Orff instrument and have your students play the rhythms on that instrument. Since it’s a pentatonic scale, anything will sound good!
  3. Turn It Into a Game — Divide the class in half. Each class alternates playing slides. You keep track of how many rhythms each half plays correctly. The half who gets the most rhythms correct wins!
  4. Take Turns — Set up your class in 2-3 lines behind an instrument, such as a congo. The first student in each line plays a slide, then moves to the back of the line as the student behind them moves up to play the next slide. (Note: Carefully pick the instrument you use. A “passing” instrument, such as e.g. a mallet instrument or hand drum, may slow down the process.)
  5. Use Percussion Instruments — Kids love to play percussion. Use djembes, hand drums, snare drums, claves, bongos, wood blocks…anything that gives a discrete sound (e.g. NOT a shaker) will work!
  6. Sing the Solfège — Incorporate some basic scale practice into your rhythm training by singing the first slide on “do,” the second on “re,” the third on “mi,” etc. You can start on different pitches and, if your students are advanced, incorporate minor scales.

And as a final note, both the DVD and the CD-ROM version of Rhythm Rulz includes lesson plan ideas on the title page, which may also help.

If you have any other ideas, we’d love to hear about them. Please share your idea with us in the comment field below.