Monday, November 18, 2013

Echo and Answer (Grades K-6, Listening and Music)

  • Invite students to echo your four-count body percussion pattern. This can be tricky the first time. Use the familiar attention-getter pattern (clap, clap, clap-clap, clap) and/or count to four while doing the pattern so that the four counts are clearly defined. You could also begin with four claps, snaps, pats, etc. counting to four each time. Later, leave out the counting and the students should be able to simply count in their heads.
  •  Immediately after the students echo the pattern, begin a new pattern. The echos should be seamless—pattern, echo, pattern, echo. Large gaps interrupt the flow and pacing. Keep the patterns simple enough for the students to echo, but complex enough to keep them interested. Vary the type of body percussion (clap, snap, pat, pat cheeks, pat head, stomp, etc.). Vary the volume level. Vary the rhythm. You can also use repetitive actions that are silent; these are especially effective in focusing a group of students. 
  • Invite the students to, instead of an echo, perform an answer to your pattern. An answer is a pattern that is different but takes the same amount of space. If necessary (if students just keep echoing), choose a student to demonstrate with you, pattern-answer-pattern-answer. Ask the students, “Was it an echo or an answer?” Answers are an important step towards students making up their own patterns.
Variations on echoes and answers:
  • Choose individual students to be the leader.
  • Have two students answer each other back and forth.
  • Have halves of the class answer each other back and forth.
  • Divide into partners or small groups and practice echoes and answers.
  • Vary the tempo (fast echoes and answers or slow echoes and answers)
  • Around the Circle: Have everyone develop a pattern. Go around the circle and have each student perform her or his pattern for the rest of the class to echo or answer.
  • Use the same process with percussion instruments or with found sounds. 

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