Your children have been doing a wonderful job writing rhythms, they have so much fun with it! They will now be learning about time signatures, which make life easier, but are somewhat difficult to grasp at the beginning. Here is a question I will be asking them at the beginning of class: "If I was playing a song with a band that had 100 beats in it, and the conductor asked me to start on beat 63, do you think that would be hard or easy?" Yes, in fact, it would be quite hard to sit there and count to the sixty-third beat of the song. Each song is broken up into measures (small groups of beats). These measures are separated by what we call bar lines, and there is always a double bar line at the end of a song or piece of music. Now, I bet you're wondering how many beats go in each measure? Is this randomly picked, or is there some logical way to do this? Well, that's where time signatures come in.
Time signatures tell us how many beats go into a measure. The students will be learning about the three simplest time signatures, they are referred to as four four time, three four time, and two four time.
Once the students learn about measures, bar lines, double bar lines, and time signatures, they will come up to the whiteboard one at a time to build a two measure rhythm in either 4/4 or 3/4 time (they get to choose). The next class they will be able to write their own rhythms using a worksheet that I created which has a set time signature for each number and a set amount of measures. This will help me see who understands the concept of a time signature. Then we will move on to Rhythmic Dictation, which I discussed in my last post. The students will have a worksheet with time signatures and rhythms, and they have to listen to the rhythm I say and write it down on their paper.
The students may have a little trouble with this, but once they grasp the concept it will make rhythm building easier than ever for them.