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Put Your Seat on the Beat

Aim: How can we explore meter and duration by composing measures of rhythm with our bodies?
Summary: Students perform and create rhythmic patterns using their bodies.
Standards: US 2, 3, 4, 5; NYC 1, 2
Grade: 1st
Concept: Rhythm & Meter
Artistic Process: performing, responding, creating
Materials: four chairs, Teacher Worksheet
Time Required: 15 minutes


  1. Review simple four-beat rhythmic patterns by clapping or tapping together as a class through call and response.
    Download Teacher Worksheet (PDF)
  2. Place four chairs in the front of the room. Explain that each chair represents one beat in a 4/4 measure of music.
  3. Teacher calls upon a student to choose a chair and decide which note value they would like to represent: a quarter-note (sitting), eighth-note (share a chair with a friend), or rest (stand in front of chair). Have the rest of the class clap the rhythm that is represented in the chairs.

Going Deeper

  1. Play or clap a rhythm and have students create a representation of what they hear.
  2. Try this activity with different time signatures, such as 3/4 and 2/4.
  3. Notate on board with standard notation the rhythm displayed on the chairs.


Grade 1 Activity Exemplar: Rhythm and Meter

This video is an exemplar of an activity from Carnegie Hall’s Music Educators Toolbox entitled "Put Your Seat on the Beat." Students perform and create rhythmic patterns using their bodies.


Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

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