Making up rhythm words

I’m a big fan of trying to tailor teaching to the individual where possible.

When teaching rhythms one of my fun things to do is to come up with words that are relevant to the student. Sometimes the old favourites like ‘tea’ for crotchets and ‘co-ffee’ for quavers work great. But often it’s more fun for students to make up their own!

My students have come up with some interesting ones over the years and the sillier the better. That way it is more effective as a helpful tool and more likely for the rhythm pattern to stick and be remembered.

I’ve even done this with adult students and some of my favourites came from some retired learners who had been working on swing quavers. We used names like ‘Frank Si-na-tra” and ‘Grace Kelly’ and keeping it all on a similar theme helped too.

I also like all the insect related ones, such as ‘caterpillar’ for a set of four semiquavers or ‘grasshopper’ for a quaver followed by two semiquavers.

Triplets are often ‘sau-sa-ges’ or ‘pine-a-pple’ for the vegetarians. Anyone who walks into the lesson and doesn’t do music would probably wonder what on earth we are talking about!

I would love to hear your favourite words for rhythm patterns.

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