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Music Elements and Math- Rhythm

by Early Math Counts

Music is made up of elements.  One of which, rhythm, we have looked at frequently over the past several months.  Rhythm is made of time and movement.  It is the aspect of music that makes you want to shake your booty.  It includes the beat, which is the part that you feel in your bones and then tap your toes to.  The beats can be strong and weak- we tap to the strong regular beats of a piece of music.

In children’s music, you can hear the regular beats of the rhythm.  Take the Barney Song (I Love You).  If you sing this song to yourself, and clap along with the beat you will see that it is a regular, even beat through the first part and then it quickens near the middle and then regulates at the end.


I love you.  (3 beats)

You love me. (3 beats)

We’re a happy family. (7 beats)

With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you. (3 beats quick, 3 beats slow, 6 beats quick)

Won’t you say you love me too? (7 beats)

Next time you sing this with the kids, have them clap on the beat and see if they hear the rhythm.  If you have rhythm sticks, they can also clap their sticks together to the beat of the music.  Try this with several songs and see which ones have clear and steady beats.

Often, the rhythm of the beat occurs as a pattern.  Clapping to the beat will encourage the children to explore the pattern of music to see that the rhythm repeats (pattern)


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