Confessions of a Kodály Music Teacher

Archive for March 2012

When I went to the MKMEA Conference in Columbus this past October, one of the presenters used Legos for pitch and creating scales.  That got me thinking, “How else can Legos be used in the music classroom?”  Kids love Legos, right?  So I traveled to the nearest Lego store and stared at the bulk Lego wall for about 15 minutes when it finally hit me – use Legos to write rhythmic patterns!

Here’s what you need to make a set for one student:

1 skinny (thin) 2×8 (red)

2 regular 2×4 (black)

2 regular 2×3 (gray)

4 regular 2×2 (yellow)

8 regular 1×2 (green)

Each of these items should be a different color.  The colors I chose are in parentheses.

Here’s how I will use the Legos.

Grades 1 and 2:

Create four beat rhythm patterns using the red 2×8 as the 4/4 measure.  The 2×4’s are then half notes, 2×2’s are quarter notes, and 1×2’s are individual eighth notes.

Grade 3:

Create four beat rhythm patterns for quarter note, eighth note, and dotted-quarter eighth patterns using the 2×3 for the dotted-quarter value.

When introducing sixteenth notes, the 2×8 becomes worth two beats, the 2×4 becomes the quarter note, the 2×2 becomes paired eighth notes, and the 2×1 becomes an individual sixteenth note.

Grade 4 (or wherever you teach syncopa):

The setup for this pattern set is similar to second grade.  Students will see the ‘unevenness’ of this pattern when they create a pattern using a 1×2, 2×2, and 1×2 to create syncopa.

Extensions:

Augmented syncopa: 2×2, 2×4, 2×2

Rests: leave the base blank for the length of the rest.

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