Going back to the title of this post, however, I have recently introduced the children to the concept of 'steady beat' in rhythm and language. The ability to hear a steady beat in a rhythm is an important aspect not only in musical training, but also in spoken language. As written in my Montessori Music album, "We begin our study of rhythm with the steady beat as the underlying pulse of music. The beat is everywhere in the life of the child. Each child experiences the heartbeat of its mother while in the womb. Therefore, it is believed that at birth, every child has a strong sense of the steady beat. When we combine patterns of long and short sounds, the result is 'rhythym.' Rhythm is very important to the development of speech patterns and the natural flow of words can provide an easy transition to musical notation. An understanding of steady beat and rhythm can be taught through rhythm chants, songs, classical music, and movement." To that end, I have taught the children a fun rhythm chant with a steady beat which follows the current apple theme in our classroom:
Apple tree, apple tree,
Will your apples fall on me?
It's okay, I won't shout
If your apples knock me out!
The first time I introduced this chant to the children, I simply tapped the steady beat on my knees - they quickly followed suit. Next, we practiced clapping the steady beat as we sang the chant together. Then, I introduced the children to our wooden rhythm sticks and we took turns using them while saying the words. Lastly, I plan to show the children a visual representation of the steady beat using a paper with apple pictures - each beat is represented by one apple:
|Visual representation of the steady beat in our 'Apple Tree' chant.|
Now, while using the rhythm sticks and saying the words, the children can follow the visual representation of the rhythm. What a fantastic way to incorporate musical notation at such an early age!