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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
Modality: 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
  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.

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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