One of the most important musical concepts that a child must learn is keeping a steady beat. It is a fundamental aspect that is often not given the emphasis it deserves.
What is Steady Beat? Is it the same as Rhythm?
Steady beat (or simply referred to as the beat) is the underlying continuous, even, and repetitive pulse that you feel in a song, rhyme, chant or any piece of music. It remains the same throughout, much like the ticking of a clock.
Most people think that beat and rhythm are the same. However, they are two very different things. In a song, the beat is what we usually feel like clapping our hands, snapping our fingers or tapping our feet to. The rhythm, on the other hand, would be the combination of the short and long sounds of the notes as well as the absence of sound (rests) that occur throughout the music. The lyrics of a song tell us the rhythm by the way the words are arranged.
Why is it important to learn Steady beat?
Humans experience steady beat early on in life. From the moment we were in our mother’s womb, we felt and heard the steady beating of her heart and of our own heart. We are created to respond to a steady beat.
However, even though we have been constantly exposed to steady beat even before we were born, consciously being able to recognize and demonstrate it is not something that happens without practice. That’s why teaching young learners about steady beat early on can be highly beneficial for them. There are many advantages to helping them have a good grasp of this concept, not only in music but in other areas of their life as well.
- It helps them develop lower body competency. It also helps them with their sense of coordination and equilibrium. Being able to keep a steady beat in their legs and feet can help a child walk, skip, run or jump easily as well as prepare them for sports activities such as dribbling or shooting a basketball, or other things like dancing.
- Aside from their gross motor skills, a child’s fine motor skills (the ability to use a scissor, a whisk, a hammer or any tool in the future) is also enhanced with steady beat competency.
- Steady beat can help a child with their reading and language abilities because it teaches them to have a smooth cadence.
- Studies have shown that even a child’s math skills can benefit from having the ability to keep a steady beat.
How do I teach kids about Steady Beat?
There are many ways that a child can learn to practice steady beat. It can be taught through aural, visual, and kinesthetic methods. Allowing the kids to see, hear, feel, and move with the beat through various activities makes it possible for everyone to experience steady beat in whatever way they learn best.
Here’s a collection of 5 Music Lesson Plans for Steady Beat that’s jam-packed with fun ideas that can be used in the elementary music classroom. Each one offers instructions for a fully-scripted lesson which teachers who are just starting out may find very helpful because they can simply try doing the lessons as they are written. However, it can also be used as a starting point which more experienced teachers can modify to suit their needs. Keep reading to learn more about these lessons for steady beat.
Entry Kentry | Free Music Lesson Plan
This fast-paced passing game aims to help students demonstrate an ability to keep a steady beat and also enhances their coordination skills.
Little Sally Walker | Free Music Lesson Plan
This is a singing game where students fulfill the first standard in the National Standards for Music by singing alone (and with others) a varied repertoire of music. It is a fun way to develop the ability to follow instructions and introduce the concept of steady beat for kids in elementary grades K-2 through a simple game.
Jump the Hoop | Free Music Lesson Plan
Children can demonstrate their grasp of steady beat through this team-based movement activity. This session also helps them listen to, analyze, and describe music– which is the 6th standard in the National Standards for Music.
Touchdown | Free Music Lesson Plan
This lesson gets students moving and jumping around as they develop their skills in steady beat as well as math. It’s a creative way to engage the students in arithmetic and musical concepts through kinesthetics.
The Wee Little Scare | Free Music Lesson Plan
This music class incorporates the use of a jump rope (a definite favorite among kids), a chant, and a contest to teach kids how to keep a steady beat. Students will get the hands-on opportunity to make music with Orff arrangement, and the activity brings out their naturally competitive nature in an entertaining and educational way.
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