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Introducing Silent Beats

Place eight face up drum cards in two rows of four cards each on the floor or where children can see them. If you are doing this following the Drum Fun activity, remind the children that each of the drums represents one beat. If using this as a stand alone activity, tell the children that each drum represents one beat.

Point to each drum and say, "drum." Allow the children an opportunity to do the same.

Turn over the third drum in each row, so the blank side is facing up. Ask the children to listen to you. Point to each drum and say, "drum." When you reach a "blank" drum, dramatically point to your head and make it obvious that you are thinking "drum." When you are finished, ask the children, "What did I do?"

Some children may respond, "You skipped the turned over drum" or "You didn't say 'drum' at the turned over drum."

Follow-up with a question that prods them to recall and examine what you did.

"Did I really skip that drum?"
"Are you sure that I didn't say it somewhere?"

Repeat your demonstration.

At this point, one or more of the children will realize that you did not "skip" the turned over drum, but that you said "drum" in your mind. Confirm the children's hypothesis!

Say, "Let's do this together. Remember, say the turned over drum in your mind (or your brain.)*"

Teacher and children say the drums together.

Turn over the 2nd drum in the 2nd row. Children and teacher say the drums together.

Turn over the 2nd drum in the 1st row. Allow the children to say the drums without your help.

Explain to the children that even though they cannot see the drum, it is still there. This is a "silent drum" or a "silent beat."

Continue turning over drums and allowing children to "read" the drums. Do this until only the first and last drums are face up.

Turn over the first drum. The children will now have to watch you for a starting cue. It is not necessary to say, "1-2-3-4" or "ready go." Simply conduct them wordlessly as you would a wind ensemble. Be sure to take a deep breath during your cue. They will intently watch you and will pick up the correct tempo.

Allow children multiple opportunities to use the drum cards and create their own patterns over the next few weeks. This can be done alone, in pairs, or in small groups. If repeating this activity in a large group, allow designated children to choose which drum to turnover next.

*In another class, introduce the children to the word "audiate." Audiate = hearing "drum" in your mind/brain.