TEACHING BEAT to Beginners

TEACHING BEAT to Beginners

by | Jan 16, 2023 | Music Resource, Music Teacher | 0 comments

5 Fun & Creative ways to Teach Beat in the First Month of Music Lesson

Beat is the first and most important concept to instill in students when they start learning music. It is the heart of the music we hear, sing and play. In the first month of music lessons, before we move on to rhythm or pitch, we need to creatively include BEAT in our lessons. 

I’m going to list down 5 fun, simple and creative ways to teach this, no matter what instrument you teach!

WALK THE BEAT

Play any music in the classroom – recorded or live – and ask the students to walk to it. Let them interpret it the way they want to begin with. This will give you an insight on how they think about and perceive the music that they hear. Since this is the first month of lessons, you don’t want to leave out any opportunity in understanding their musical instincts. Once you observe what they are doing, ask them to start walking steadily.

There you go! Your students are walking to the beat of the music.

This is also a great opportunity to expose them to different types of music. So remember to not restrict the music to the genre that you teach.

MOVE & DANCE

Next, similar to the first but definitely not the same. Get your students to sway, move or dance to the music. You can do this no matter how much space you have. Get everyone to do it together. If it is a solo class (or even if it is not!) you join them in this. Make sure you ask everyone to close their eyes, this way no-one feels like they are being spotlighted. This is super fun to do and also helps you get to know if your student is an introvert or an extrovert.

BODY PERCUSSION

Body percussion is an amazing way to get your students feeling the beat. The 4 steps that I use are – Stomp, Pat, Clap and Snap. Again, play any music, preferably something they have heard before. Now, give them a set body percussion choreography on the beats to perform with that music.

Ensure that everyone is standing in a circle so they can see one another.

Again, if it is a solo class, you and the student should face each other. This ensures that everyone participates and maximizes the fun factor as it enhances the feeling of togetherness.

IMPROVISATION

When you introduce body percussion into your music classroom, it is sure to get the students excited. It is the best time to introduce improvisation. Get your students to create their own body percussion choreography this time.

Get your students to do this to the beats and not the rhythm!

Everyone tries out each and every choreography. This makes the students feel recognised and builds confidence.

PLAY THE BEAT

It is finally time to get to the instrument!! Don’t worry, it is supersimple. Teach the students any one note on the instrument. If possible, get them to pick a note on their own. Ask them to play this repeatedly and steadily on the instrument.

They are playing the beat for you!

What you do is use the note they are playing as the Tonic of a scale – major, minor, blues, pentatonic or any other – and improvise on that scale. You do this with the student as a duet. As you play, highlight the importance of what they are playing, so don’t play something too complicated. You’ll see the smiles of accomplishment on their faces from being part of something beautiful and bigger. 

These are 5 fun and creative ways to teach BEAT in the first month of music lessons. They are so easy that you can do any of these from the first lesson itself. Just remember if you are excited about what you are doing, then you will surely be able to project that excitement to your students.