I introduced the metronome this week to the Owls, Bears, and Agents. I showed them how it ticks slow and fast and everything in between. We moved our bodies respectively with the speed we heard, swaying side to side, stomping our feet, and clapping our hands. For most students, it was fun to go really fast, almost wiggling out of chairs. For a few, they liked the slow steady sway, like a gentle breeze.
In each class, at least one student told me that it sounded like a clock ticking. So from there, we did “Hickory Dickory Dock,” which was my plan to work on match and keep a steady moving beat. The students did well swaying their arms side to side like a clock at the slow beats and kept up at the fast beats as well. We worked on feeling and expressing the basic timing of the song.
What happened next was unexpected. Students requested to do other songs: “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” “Humpty Dumpty,” “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Alphabet,” and “This Old Man.” For each song, we did sang it at slow and fast tempo and it threw off some of our singing, especially when it was really fast or really slow. After some giggling, we tried the song again and usually the second time fared better than the first. All in all, they loved it and are learning to keep a steady pulse and moving as a group to one beat.
Through learning basic timing, students gain beat awareness and beat competency where they can feel and indicate the beat with their body. Mastering basic timing helps students in motor skills, musical skills, and academic skills.