Exercises to work rhythm and intonation with children

Exercises to work rhythm and intonation with children

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Music is intimately linked to the rhythm and intonation. In childhood, any musical stimulus benefits many aspects of the child's development. For this reason, it is often very interesting to propose games and exercises to children to work both rhythm and intonation from a young age.

Children's songs are essential to be able to carry it out. We cannot forget that music is directly related to the acquisition of rhythm, in addition to that it contributes positively to children both cognitively and emotionally.

This time, we focus on two important aspects: intonation and rhythm. Let's see how we could define each of these qualities.

- Intonation
The dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language defines it as' the melodic movement with which the sentences are pronounced, which implies variations in the pitch, duration, intensity of the sound, and reflects a certain meaning, an intention or an emotion '. As you can see, intonation is related to music, but within its concept we can also talk about our language and even poetry.

Since they are born, babies already perceive the intonation of our words and, in fact, as they grow older they will learn to give meaning to the different tones of voice with which we speak to them. The same goes for the songs they listen to.

- Rhythm
On the other hand, we understand rhythm as the 'proportion kept between accents, pauses and repetitions of varying lengths in a musical composition'.

From a very young age, children can learn to keep up. From clapping games to the gestures or movements that we do in children's songs, they are being trained in this sense.

As stated in the study 'Music education in schools and the European higher education space' (published by Maravillas Díaz Gómez in the Interuniversity Journal of Teacher Training of the University of Zaragoza, Spain), music education plays an essential role in the development and children's growth. And, as different pedagogues have studied, including María Montessori herself, we cannot limit children to receiving intellectual training.

If that were the case, the different habits such as emotional, sensory or affective, would be greatly diminished (and obsolete). Hence, more and more schools, or parents, invest time and resources in your sons and daughters learn music. And this is lucky!

The main benefits of working from a young age rhythm and musical intonation They are:

  • Increases your cognitive ability by anticipating a movement or musical action
  • Develops visual and auditory memory
  • Strengthens psychomotor ability
  • Increase language skills

To contribute to this process, parents will help our children with very simple exercises through nursery rhymes. It is a very fun way to work on rhythm and intonation with children.

Let's play with the music! The exercises that we propose below are very useful and at the same time fun. Do not hesitate to adapt them to the age, knowledge and abilities of your children.

1. A story turned into music
In every self-respecting children's song or children's story, the protagonist is usually an animal, a characteristic character or tells us a daily and familiar story in which the child can feel identified and imagine a world made to measure. Let's turn this story into music!

For this we suggest that you turn your main character into a movement, a rhythm or a melody. Every time it appears within the story or song, we must reproduce that attribute that we have given it. We will have to accompany the lyrics, the melody and the story ... We will be able to sing the melody or read parts of the story faster and others more slowly, so that the children practice the different rhythms and intonations.

2. Simon says
The 'Simon Says' game is a classic that all children enjoy. We can play in its different versions: with gestures, words, repetitions of colors ... But we can also turn it into a musical game to work on intonation and rhythm. To do this, we can use a piano (or any other musical instrument) or our own voice.

We begin by playing (or singing) a note, which the children have to repeat singing. Next, we play this note and another one, and the children have to sing these two notes again. Now, we add a note (or a pair if we want to increase the difficulty) and the children have to repeat everything. To work the rhythm, we can introduce different durations.

3. The staircase that goes up and down
On a sheet of paper we draw a ladder and with a small doll of our son (or our fingers turned into a man / woman), we will go up and down this ladder, singing! When we go up, we sing an ascending scale, that is, from the lowest note to the highest. And when we go down the steps, the other way around. To work on the rhythm, sometimes we can climb the steps very quickly and other times go very slowly or even climb them two at a time.

If the children are older, instead of a ladder we can draw more abstract images (a spiral, wavy lines, a broken line of different sizes ...) to see what inspires them to 'tone' that image.

4. The treble clef is a snail
This is an exercise as simple as singing a melody to our children and asking them to repeat it with the rhythm and intonation (even the volume ups and downs) with which we have sung it. To make this activity more fun and complete, we can propose different choreographies to the songs or gestures that represent the characters that the melodies speak of.

For example, do you know the song of the treble clef, in which it is a snail? This is a very fun exercise with which children can work on intonation and rhythm from the age of two.

These exercises become a musical adventure for children. And it is that they, in addition the imagination intervenes. They sing, dance and learn by playing, with music as the main character. They will love them!

You can read more articles similar to Exercises to work rhythm and intonation with children, in the Music on site category.

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