Recently, I focused on how to introduce COMPOUND TIME to pupils and so I thought this would make a good topic for this blog. Here is Part 1 of a 2 part blog.
Compound time is a concept I would introduce at Grade 1+ level. If a compound time piece is to be learnt before this (for example the Tarantella by Pauline Hall) the rhythm can be taught by rote and 'caught' - if this happens it is important to return to the compound concept at a later stage.
Lesson 1 (should take no more than 10 mins)
- Sing Row, row, row your boat. Use the arms as 'oars', pulling in time with the beat. Start with arms out so that on the first beat arms pull towards body strongly.
- Using 'heart' post-it notes step with the beat on the floor.
- Bounce ball on the floor, still singing the song.
- Establish the strong and weak beat pattern. For example ask the pupil to pat knees on strong beat, clap on weak beat. Ask: 'can you describe the pattern of your movements?'
Lesson 2 (again about 10 mins)
- Play a compound piece for the student to listen to e.g. The Wild Horseman by Schumann. Ask the student to find the strong and weak beats using body movements.
- Ask: 'What song did we sing last time that had a strong and weak beat pattern'?'
- Using the heartbeat flashcard help the student to work out how many sounds are heard on 'mer-ri-ly' (3).
- Point out how this is different from other rhythms they have learnt and name as compound time.
- Introduce rhythm names (tai, ti-ti-ti, ta - ti) by tapping and saying the names. No notation in sight yet!
- Improvise a simple compound time duet - for example using the patterns for Ireland (Forrest Kinney Pattern Play Book 1)
As always these are just a few teaching suggestions. Do share any different ways you use.
Introducing compound time part 2 to follow!