This is a guest post by one of our teacher authors, Katrina Proctor. She is also the Content Manager at Midnight Music.
What is The Rhythm Randomizer?
The Rhythm Randomizer is a free rhythm tool that can help you design endless rhythm practice ideas for your classroom, for your private studio, or even your own professional practice. Here’s how it works:
Click the gear icon to adjust the parameters for your practice, playback settings, and metronome settings.
To start a new exercise or apply new settings, click “New Rhythm”
To play the example, click “Start Playback”
To play the metronome, click “Start Metronome”.
5 Ideas to Use The Rhythm Randomizer In Your Classroom
1. Rhythm Basketball
This was one of my students’ favorite games.
Start by setting up your classroom.
Get a “trashcan” (can also be a box or bin of some sort) & something to throw (I always borrowed a dodgeball from our physical education teacher).
Set up an easy, medium, and hard distance away from the box by putting tape or another marker on the floor.
Divide students into two even teams. Each team needs to decide a throwing order (who goes first, second, third, etc.)
Set up The Rhythm Randomizer to be projected on the white board or other display with rhythms that are accessible but challenging for your students’ level of skill.
Start with the first team (usually chosen by a quick match of rock/paper/scissors or “who can get closest to the number I’m thinking of”).
Display the rhythm example on the board and start the metronome. After 10 seconds of quiet practice, count in the team “One, two, ready, go etc.” Every member of the team performs the example at once. If there are any mistakes, the other team has a chance to steal by being counted in (no practice time) and performing the rhythm.
Once a team completes the rhythm with no mistakes, the first person to shoot chooses whether they want to attempt to get the ball in the basket from the easy line (worth one point), the medium line (worth 2 points), or the hard line (worth three points).
Points are scored if the ball lands in the basket/trashcan (even if it bounces out). Have a student keep track of scores on the whiteboard. Go to 10-20 points based on how much time you have. First team to reach the target score wins.
2. Harmony Rhythms
During warmups, give students a different pitch by section to create a harmony. For example, “Altos on an A, Tenors on an E, Basses on a C, Sopranos on a G”. You can also do this by choosing an ending pitch of a piece or a harmony that your students are struggling with in your music.
Display a rhythm using The Rhythm Randomizer.
Students perform the rhythm in harmony, thereby getting the notes into their ears and fixing intonation issues.
Repeat with a different rhythm if desired.
3. Find the Error
Display a rhythm from The Rhythm Randomizer somewhere students can see it.
Perform the rhythm for the students but with the addition of a large or small error (note held too long, wrong syllable, etc.).
Ask students to identify where the error was and how the rhythm should be performed.
Perform the rhythm correctly as a class.
4. Aural Training
Turn off the display/projection so students can not see the example from The Rhythm Randomizer.
Pass out small whiteboards & whiteboard markers (can easily make your own with colored paper in large Ziplock bags!).
Start the metronome on The Rhythm Randomizer.
Count yourself in and perform the rhythm three times for students with a little break in between.
Students should write down the rhythm they see and hear.
After the third time, ask students to hold up their rhythm & turn on the display. Have students self-assess each other by looking around the room (and make a mental note of students who are struggling so you can come back to them later).
5. Poison Rhythm
Show students a rhythm on the board from The Rhythm Randomizer. Practice the rhythm several times as a group.
Pause and mention that the rhythm on the board is now the “Poison Rhythm” and if anyone is caught clapping the rhythm, they are out.
Do a call-and-response game where you (the teacher) performs a rhythm and the students clap it back. Continue clapping and responding. If you (the teacher) perform the “poison rhythm” every student must be completely silent. If a student claps the poison rhythm, they are out.
Continue playing until there is only one student left. That student is the winner!
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About the Writer
Katrina Proctor is the Content Manager at Midnight Music and is also a music teacher from Colorado, USA. She has taught middle school music for nearly 10 years in northern Colorado where her passion is low-income students in Title 1 schools. Currently, Katrina teaches 5th-8th grade chorus, advanced-level chorus, class piano, and general music. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education & Master’s Degree in Music Education-Choral Conducting from the University of Colorado at Boulder. You can connect with Katrina on Facebook or via her website, She The Teacher.
Looking for More Resources for Music Teachers?
Hello! I’m Katie Wardrobe – an Australian music technology trainer and consultant with a passion for helping music teachers through my business Midnight Music.
I’m a qualified teacher but no, I don’t currently teach in a school. I help teachers through my online professional development space – the Midnight Music Community – where there are tutorial videos, courses, links and downloadable resources.
I like to focus on easy ways to incorporate technology into what you are already doing in your music curriculum through a range of creative projects. I also run live workshops and have presented at countless conferences and other music education events.
If you want simple, effective ideas for using technology in music education, I would LOVE to help you inside the Midnight Music Community.