Additional FUN Drumming, Rhythm, Clapping, and Movement Activities

Clapping – a leader claps a simple rhythm; the others gradually join in until everyone is clapping.

Echo – divide the group in two or have one leader. Beat a rhythm – the rest of the group echoes the rhythm. Try different rhythms and meters: 4/4, 3/4, 5/4 or 7/8. Below are examples of an easy and more complex rhythm.

Beginning Rhythm

Advanced Rhythm

Making Eyes I – The leader begins with a rhythm and makes eye contact with another person in the group. That person picks up the rhythm and begins drumming with the leader. Next, that person now makes contact with someone else in the group and that person picks up the rhythm, becoming the new leader.

Making Eyes II – Begin in a circle (sitting or standing). The leader begins with a simple rhythm then makes eye contact with the person sitting or standing next to him. That person picks up the rhythm and plays along with the leader, who then makes eye contact with the next person in the circle who picks up the rhythm and plays along.

The leader continues around the circle until everyone is playing the same rhythm. The group continues to play the rhythm until the leader begins a new rhythm and repeats the process.

Tips for teaching “Making Eyes II”

  • Only the person the leader is looking at begins the new rhythm. This rhythm continues until the leader makes eye contact with the next individual.
  • The leader does not move on to the next individual until the person he is looking at can play the correct rhythm.
  • The leader makes eye contact with someone who then begins a new rhythm, which the group follows.

Rhythmic Name – tap or clap out the syllables of one’s name – either your own name or the name of someone in the group.

Shoulder Tap – place group in circle or two parallel lines. Leader begins with a rhythm. Once the group has the rhythm, the leader walks to someone else in the room and taps that person’s shoulder. He or she begins with a new rhythm and the group follows. Continue until everyone in the group has had a chance to beat their own rhythm.

Free Improvisation – everyone chooses a unique instrument and rhythm. Eventually, the group should find a common pulse. This can continue for a while. In the beginning, individuals may feel a little self-conscious and be worried about how they look or play. Let them know this is normal. After a while, they will relax and start enjoying the process.

Instrument pass – everyone chooses an instrument and after 2 -3 min. of playing passes it to the neighbor.

Listening – listen to four pieces of music, and draw or write down the feelings you experience as you listen. At the end, the group shares their responses to each piece of music.

Just Be Wild! – do whatever you want to do! You could drum along to some recorded music, or make up your own.

Inspiration Beats – drum responses to key questions and then discuss them with the group (like dance art).

Guided Imagery dance and drum – a relaxation experience where participants dance and drum to a storyline

Entrainment Building – promote listening and natural assimilation of the different and complex rhythms rather than just the common 4/4 rhythms.

10 X 1 – Set an alarm clock for one min. Play a rhythm for one minute. When the bell rings, reset the clock and repeat this procedure 9 more times, with a new rhythm each time. Consider what style felt best for you and try beating this rhythm for a few more minutes.