I took a different approach with The Kids today. There is a music service concert coming up in a couple of weeks and so instead of trying to bash rhythm into their heads (with bats!) (not really.) I decided to usethat degree I've got and do a workshop style thing with them. So we're writing a song.
I was hoping to get four phrases today. It took us an hour to get one, I definitely should have started this process earlier. But It worked, and the music we produced is great- though I realized as I was leaving that in singing it all together we had shifted the rhythm over an eighth note- so now it is all jazzy and syncopated- which is fabulous and much more fun to sing and play, but it is no longer technically what rhythm they wrote down- and I'm not sure if that is a big deal or not...
Anyhow- we've been working on writing down and playing back four beat rhythms on the white board so we started with that and then took the first two bars and figured out how to tap them together as a group.
Then I took the keyboard and put it on the floor so that we could all see the keys and for each note in the rhythm I asked them if the pitch should stay the same, go up, or go down. I played each version and sometimes we voted on which we thought sounded best. We tried singing it just like that, but it turned out that it was very difficult to sing the tune without words- so we did a big brainstorm about legato and staccato and what animals or things were like that.
We didn't end up with the most inspired lyrics ever, but I like them anyway:
"This one is smooth, this one. Legato, Staccato!" Then we practiced singing that all together- the jazzy way, one eighth note displaced.
(I've spent the last 45 minutes trying to figure out how to make a picture of what I mean, but I haven't figured out a good way. I've got the lick typed into Sibelius so if anyone knows how to do a screen shot or how to turn something into a graphic that I can then insert into the blog as a picture... that would be keen.)
The kids were humming the riff on the way down the stairs to their parents and I sighed with relief- finally. A good lesson.