Rain, Rain, Go Away
Presenting taa & ti-ti as the first rhythmic concepts students will add to their growing vocabulary is an important step, and is a lesson I always look forward to giving.
In order to present taa & ti-ti to your students, they need to have a couple of things down-pat first:
1. They must be able to perform a number of folk songs which contain these rhythms and they must be able to do them accurately without the help of a teacher.
2. They have to be able to keep the beat in a variety of ways while singing (both gross and fine motor actions).
3. They need to understand the different between beat and rhythm and be able to perform either (and eventually both) along with these folk songs.
Students should hear the beat and the rhythm performed simultaneously - begin by having the teacher perform one while the class performs the other, then split the class in half and have each group perform one against the other. Then students can perform it in pairs, and eventually they should be able to perform both the beat AND the rhythm themselves (eg, beat in feet while clapping the rhythm). This is always a tricky one (and a funny event to watch when your students are first trying it!)
Through hearing beat and rhythm together, they should hear that there are sometimes one sound on a beat and sometimes two.
Then comes the visual discovery - my favourite part! I love to use the song Rain, Rain because it's one of the folk songs in the repertoire that my students often come to school already knowing, meaning it is more authentically folk music and the kids have more ownership of it!
Plus, I'm often preparing and presenting taa & ti-ti with foundation as we are moving towards winter and the weather in Melbourne lends itself well to this song.
I have a wonderful set of laminated umbrellas which I lay out on the board like so:
I then get my students to tell me whether to place one raindrop or two on each umbrella, depending on how many sounds they hear:
If you like the look of this magnet set, you can grab it on my Teachers Pay Teachers page
In a future lesson, I explain that musicians have some special symbols that they use to show one or two sounds on a beat (it wouldn't make much sense to use raindrops in a song about See Saws, now, would it?).
I make a tally mark for each sound and remove the magnets from around them. Because it's nicely spaced out, the students are usually happy with this, but then I ask them "what if I have messy handwriting and I put them too close together?"
They then see the need to differentiate the two symbols more and so I tell them that when there are two sounds on a beat, they are beat buddies and we get them to hold hands (this way you can introduce the tail of an individual quaver as well as the symbol for two joined together).
It's then a matter of naming them as taa and ti-ti and performing the song using those rhythm names.
Now comes the fun part of practising these rhythms in the weeks to come! Check out my post on rhythm practice activities for some fun ideas!