This is one of my favorite games! I learned it from my mentor during student teaching. I am not sure where she got it from. I haven’t seen it in any books or on the internet. If you know where Extra Beat Take a Seat comes from, feel free to let me know so I can give credit where credit is due!
I have also used it during a long term substitute job, and the first week of school during my first year.
It is easy to figure it out, musical, and fun.
It is also good if you need to travel to classrooms. I have used it many times for that. Just do it with hands instead of rhythm sticks.
Extra Beat, Take a Seat
I can count rhythm patterns.
- Have students sit on a circle on the floor.
- Start by having students play a short rhythm on repeat. I like to use quarter note, quarter note, half note. I play the first two with rhythm sticks on the floor, and the last note tap together. This, by the ways, is the “We Will Rock You” rhythm, so get ready to hear someone sing that.
- Once they have the rhythm down, tell them to put their sticks down and listen. Tell them you are going to play the rhythm three times and three times only. And then do it. Count out loud so that they can hear what you mean.
- Have them play it with you, three times and three times only. Someone will keep going—use that as an example.
- Tell them that you are going to play a game. They have to play the rhythm first three times and three times only. If they make an extra beat, they have to take a seat (sit in the middle of the circle). Then the class will try it again. Once the whole class (or whoever is left!) gets it right, then the round is over and everyone can rejoin the circle.
- Once students get three times down, the round is over. The next time everyone will play the rhythm five times. Keep moving up by two each time. I usually go to eleven, and then find a new rhythm. You can do that or choose something else.
- Once they get to whatever your magic number is, get a new rhythm.
- My second rhythm is quarter note, quarter note, two eighth notes, quarter note. Play the rhythms as down-down-up-up-up. Again, if you make an extra beat, then you take a seat.
- The third rhythm that I use is eighth notes, eighth notes, quarter note, quarter note, quarter note. this one goes down-down-up-up-down-up-down
A few tips:
Use a djembe to play the rhythms, because students can hear it over their sticks. This will help them keep the beat study.
You can play this without the sticks—just have students tap their legs and clap. This makes it great for the classroom.
You can add in some simple math practice by asking questions like, “If I have three notes and I play it three times, how many notes do I play total?”
Also read: Music Lesson Ideas: Opera Stories
So there you go! It’s not too difficult, but it is very fun! What is your favorite rhythm game? Let us know in the comments!