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April 10th, 2009
Lesson Plan 2: We've Got Rhythm
Learning Activity 2

1) FRAME the next clip by explaining that your students are now going to learn more about rhythm and variations in rhythm. Explain that the next segment features musician Bobby McFerrin and scientist Daniel Levitin exploring the concept of “syncopation.” Provide a FOCUS, by asking students to come up with a definition of “syncopation” based on the clip.

2) PLAY Video Segment 3, “Syncopation.” FOLLOW UP by asking students to provide a definition of syncopation. (A sound or an emphasis in music, which is in some way unexpected. In a syncopated rhythm, an accent is placed somewhere that is not normally emphasized. For example, in Latin Music—sambas, mambos. Normally in 4/4 time, the emphasis is expected on the 1st and 3rd beats in a measure. In a syncopated rhythm, the emphasis can be placed somewhere else in the measure. )

3) Go to the SFS Kids Fun with Music: Music Lab and click on “rhythm” in the blue Music Lab menu box and then select “Go Experiment with Rhythm.” Tell your students that you are going to play some different rhythms and you want them to point out when they hear a syncopated beat.

4) Drop House #1 on the blank spaces below and then press play. Ask your students whether or not that is a syncopated beat. (No.) Why not? (It is a very predictable steady beat.) Click on “More” and then repeat the process for House #8. Discuss whether it is a syncopated beat and why/why not. (It is not, because it is a very predictable and steady beat.)

5) Repeat the process for house #6. Ask whether or not this is a syncopated beat. (Yes.) Discuss why it is syncopated. (Accents are in places that are not normally emphasized.)

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