Exploring Rhythm and Pulse

I’ve Got Rhythm - DOITNOW (Starters) and Plenary Activities

I’ve Got Rhythm - “DOITNOW” Presentation


Cutting down on printables, file storage and media files, the “new look” Musical Contexts “DOITNOW” I’ve Got Rhythm lesson openers Presentation contains  a wealth (only two samples shown here), of effective “DOITNOW’s” when delivering the I’ve Got Rhythm unit in just one place - all audio and video files are embedded and there’s accompanying Teacher’s Notes in the “slide comments” section. 

I’ve Got Rhythm - 5 Minutes Silent Reading

For teachers who prefer to begin their lessons with quiet, focused openers.  All contain “Questions to Think About” which can also be used as Cover or Homework tasks.

1. Pulse

2. Pulse Patterns

3. Rhythm

4. Note Values

5. Time Signatures


I’ve Got Rhythm - Pulse Pieces

I’ve Got Rhythm - Sevens

I’ve Got Rhythm - Cover and Homework Activities

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I’ve Got Rhythm - The Viennese Musical Clock

I’ve Got Rhythm - Checking the Pulse

I’ve Got Rhythm - Talking Drums

I’ve Got Rhythm - The Rite of Spring

I’ve Got Rhythm - The Kitchen

I’ve Got Rhythm - Curry House Rhythms

I’ve Got Rhythm - Weapons of Sound

A sense of pulse is fundamental, a prerequisite of almost all musical activity.  As such, it needs to be understood from the outset and then developed and strongly reinforced throughout Key Stage 3.  This unit introduces or reintroduces the concept of pulse through a variety of experiences which include pulse games and other rhythmic activities, the creation of patterns, including ostinati, and repetitive rhythmic textures – cyclic and polyrhythms, listening activities and the composition and performance of class and group rhythm pieces. 

Through composing and performing, pupils are introduced to rhythm grids and rhythm grid notation which can be extended to include single line rhythm notation using the note values of a semibreve, minim, crotchet, quaver and pair of quavers. 

Accents are introduced as an articulation marking providing variety to a regular pulse along with how pulse patterns can be grouped into two, three and four-beat patterns forming a basis of time signatures, bars and bar lines and conducting patterns in 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4 times.  The characteristic 2/4 pulse pattern can be explored in the genre of the March and the 3/4 pulse pattern in the Waltz. 

The unit has an optional pathway into using junk percussion (Stomp! and Weapons of Sound) to explore further rhythm work.

I’ve Got Rhythm - Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways

I’ve Got Rhythm - Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways

Includes Scheme of Work Overview, Unit Learning Objectives, Learning Outcomes and Lesson Pathways.

I’ve Got Rhythm - Music Theory and Rhythm Grid/Single Line Rhythm Dictation

I’ve Got Rhythm Music Theory - Watch the Time

Includes knowledge and understanding of beat/pulse, rhythm and marches and waltzes along with note durations and time signatures.

I’ve Got Rhythm Dictation— Rhythm Grid and Single Line Rhythm Dictation

Contains 3 Rhythm Grids for pupils to complete (based on crotchet and pairs of quavers beats and rests) and two single line rhythms to complete in 2/4 and 3/4 time.  Answers provided.  All of the accompanying audio extracts are provided on the audio file. 

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I’ve Got Rhythm - Plenary Review Activities

A series of lesson reviews where pupils review their learning and understanding.

Key Words, Concepts and Musical Knowledge

Rhythm, Pulse, Beat, March, Waltz, Time Signature, Conducting, Accent, Rhythm Grid Notation, Semibreve, Minim, Crotchet, Quaver, Pair of Quavers, Bar Line, Bars, Ostinato, Cyclic Rhythm Polyrhythm

Music Theory

Note Values - Semibreve, Minim, Crotchet, Quaver, Pair of Quavers

Simple Time Signatures

Bars and Bar Lines

Links to GCSE Music

Rhythms of the World

Music for Ensemble





Rhythm and Notation

Pupils create their own 8-beat rhythm using crotchets and crotchet rests before notating this in single line rhythm notation and extending it.  Can be done without ICT.

Rhythm Word Search

Pupils find the rhythms given in a word search grid with notes being substituted for the traditional letters.

Can be done without using ICT.

Musical Maths

Pupils solve simple mathematical sums using note durations instead of traditional numbers. 

Can be done without using ICT.

Rhythms of the Weather

Pupils sort the names of different weather phenomenon into different rhythm patterns. 

Can be done without using ICT.