Body Percussion

Body Percussion

Body percussion activities are a great way for students to explore percussion performance no matter where they are or what instruments you have access to at your school. Follow this body percussion lesson to bring fun, rhythmic learning into your classroom.

Sound Exploration

Before you start any of the activities below, discuss the different types of sounds that the body can create. Help students get creative (and silly!). Some examples:

  • Clapping hands or stomping feet
  • Rubbing hands together (like sandpaper block instruments)
  • Clicking their tongue or making popping sounds with their mouth
  • Play around with these sounds. For example: how does the sound change if you hit your hands in a slightly different spot, what body sounds are the loudest, etc.?

Call and Repeat/Response

  1. Designate a leader, either yourself or a student.
  2. Perform a short percussive phrase using your body percussion “instrument(s)” of choice.
  3. Students can:
    1. Repeat your call: ask them to repeat your rhythm using whatever type of body percussion they’d like or repeat the rhythms using the same body percussion instrument(s) as you did.
    2. Respond to your call: either one-by-one or as a class, have them create and perform a body percussion rhythm on the spot in response to your rhythm.

Body Percussion “Drum” Circle

  1. Have either yourself, a student, or a group of students set and maintain a steady bass rhythm. This can be as simple as quarter notes or a more fun syncopated rhythm.
  2. Have students join with their own rhythms one-by-one, until you create a tapestry of different body percussion sounds and rhythms.

Percussion Master

Percussion Master is a fun classroom game, great for when you have a few extra minutes at the end of class.

  1. Choose one student to be the “guesser” and have them step outside the classroom so they don’t see or hear when you assign another student to be the percussion master. The percussion master will lead the group through various body percussion actions.
  2. Seat your students in a circle and have the percussion master start performing a steady body percussion beat. The rest of the students in the circle should copy. Bring the guesser back into the classroom and have them stand or sit in the center of the circle.
  3. Throughout the game, the percussion master will change their body percussion sounds/rhythms and the rest of the group will copy them as quickly as possible.
  4. The goal of the guesser is to determine who is the percussion master.
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