Rhythm Cups: An Ideal Classroom Resource for Online Music Lessons
“I love Rhythm Cups. It is so accessible and fun, even if you don’t have musical instruments to hand. More resources like this, please!” – Mrs Sharp, Primary Music Teacher
Following the latest national lockdown, teaching classroom music is once more back online. We know that music plays a pivotal role in supporting children’s mental health, enhancing their engagement in the educational process, and catalysing achievement in literacy and numeracy. Therefore, continuing to develop children’s musical skills during school closures is vital.
The ideal resource for teaching music successfully online during lockdown must:
- Comply with the national curriculum
- Be affordable
- Be flexible, with the potential for use across a range of abilities, multiple year groups and key stages
- Involve resources that everyone can access from home
Rhythm Cups ticks all these boxes and is an ideal resource to invest in for lockdown and beyond.
Requiring only simple plastic cups, Rhythm Cups teaches fun, addictive rhythm patterns to popular songs, including “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” “Roar,” “The Addams Family Theme,” and “Best Day of My Life.” Featuring iconic rhythm cup notation, demonstration videos, and audio recordings, Rhythm Cups has everything you need to deliver comprehensive and engaging online music lessons. It’s also the ideal breakout task for children learning at home in lockdown.
Rhythm Cups can help to teach:
- Music literacy
- Accurate performance skills
- Physical coordination
- Focus and concentration
Differentiated into simple to more challenging rhythm cup patterns, Rhythm Cups can provide a flexible and affordable resource in which to teach children across Key Stages 2–3.
Key Stage 2 Sample Lesson Plan using Rhythm Cups: “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from the film TROLLS
Objective: To introduce the concept of the beat; to maintain a steady beat within 4/4, clapping crotchets and subdivisions; to understand and articulate strong and weak beats within 4/4; to learn three independent rhythmic patterns in 4/4; to apply them to a musical backing track; to incorporate all three rhythmic patterns consecutively within a performance.
Lesson Time: 45 minutes
Curriculum links: Music, Numeracy
Level: Key Stage 2
Resources: Rhythm Cups book pp. 7–10. Accompanying Hal Leonard My Library video tutorial. Two plastic cups. This is a video music lesson for home learning.
- Demonstrate clapping and counting in “4/4.” Ask the children to join in, vocalising the beat count “1-2-3-4.”
- Try it at various tempos and dynamics, emphasising the importance of clapping in time.
- Explain that what they are doing is clapping a beat; that music is divided into units called bars, and that they are clapping four beats to each bar: “1-2-3-4.”
- Explain that some beats are more important (strong) than others (weak). Demonstrate “speak-and-whisper” counting of the strong and weak beat counts. Ask the children to join in.
- Play the Rhythm Cups audio backing track to “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” Demonstrate clapping the beat along to the audio. Ask the children to join in, maintaining a steady beat.
- Explain that each beat can be subdivided into two halves. Demonstrate the beat count for this, “1-and-2-and-3-and-4-and.”
- Consolidate by demonstrating this beat count to the audio backing track of “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” Ask the children to join in, maintaining a steady tempo.
- Explain the Rhythm Cups concept and demonstrate patterns 1, 2, and 3 for “Can’t Stop the Feeling” in three separate videos. Emphasise that the children should replay the videos as many times as they want until they are secure on the patterns. Provide them with iconic Rhythm Cups notation for “Can’t Stop the Feeling” to allow them to visualise the sequence of patterns.
- See the iconic Rhythm Cups notation for this song here.
- Consolidate by showing the children the Rhythm Cups demonstration video. Ask them to participate along with the video and playback as many times as they need until they are secure.
- See the Rhythm Cups demonstration video for “Can’t Stop the Feeling” here.
- In three separate videos, demonstrate each pattern along with the respective section of the backing track. Ask children to participate along with the videos and playback as many times as they need until they are secure.
- Demonstrate putting all three patterns together with the whole backing track. Emphasise that the children should replay the videos as many times as they want until they can perform the sequence securely.
Ideas for Stretch and Challenge:
- Teach the Rhythm Cup patterns for “Can’t Stop the Feeling” to someone at home!
- Increase the tempo on the audio backing track of “Can’t Stop the Feeling” and see if you can maintain a steady beat, accurate rhythms, and a fluid performance.
- Use the iconic Rhythm Cup notation to compose your own rhythm cup patterns for “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”
To access resources for this lesson, buy Rhythm Cups here! Perfect for home learning, classroom music and assemblies!
Rhythm Cups: Songs and Activities for Schools
Enhance music-making in your school by teaching with Rhythm Cups. Using just simple plastic cups and fantastic songs, Rhythm Cups will develop performance skills, musical literacy, teamwork and coordination in all children. Learn amazing group rhythmic patterns to perform together, using our easy-to-read rhythm cup notation and popular song collection. Each book comes with a unique code for online access to audio resources and demonstration videos.
Differentiated into simple to more challenging rhythm cup patterns, Rhythm Cups is a flexible and affordable resource to engage musical learning across Key Stages 2–3. With no need for a specialist music classroom or expensive resources, this is the ideal musical tool for all primary and KS3 school teachers. Perfect for classroom learning and assemblies!