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Exploring Long and Short Rhythmic Patterns Through Movement and Composition

Aim: How can we represent long and short musical sounds and patterns?
Summary: Students create movements to represent long and short rhythmic patterns and compose patterns using non-traditional notation.
Standards: US 1, 4, 6; NYC 1, 2
Modality: performing, responding, creating
Materials: student worksheet (My Long and Short Rhythmic Patterns), listening examples
Time Required: 20–30 minutes  


  1. Demonstrate long and short sounds by clapping or singing patterns.
  2. Have students echo the long and short patterns by using their voices and movements. (Examples: scrape for long, tap for short; slide for long, hop for short; rub hands together for long, clap for short)
  3. Play the sounds effects again. Ask students questions about what they hear.
    Download Teacher Worksheet
    Download Student Worksheet
  4. Have students perform their short and long compositions using their voices, instruments, clapping, or movements. They may also choose animals to represent the short and long sounds. (Examples: “moo” for long and “quack” for short)
  5. Listen to the musical excerpts and have students use movement to demonstrate when they hear short and long sounds.

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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