Djembes, EYFS, KS1

Djembes; minibeast rhythms


Minibeast theme today! I collected the children as we usually board the Djembe Train but this time we were marching ants. We had a leader with a smaller drum who led the marching ants to the djembe circle (this activity acts as a metronome (kind of) so the children can start to hear the beat and walk to it.)

I always start the sessions with a clapping/singing warm up so we sit inside our drum circle and play Mexican wave claps, sing and play body percussion for the h.e.l.l.o song and then ask some of the children for suggestions of different voices we could use and how that might sound (low, high, quiet, loud etc). Today we had a fairy who sung low and loud, a dinosaur who growled and a funny penguin who sqwarked.

Next I introduce the objective of the lesson. As this is with Foundation Stage classes we are doing a lot of repetition of trying to play beats and then rhythm together in unison. I use a lot of call and echo teaching and try to incorporate games. At this stage I am hoping for a willingness to join in and have a go which most of them are doing. It doesn’t need to be perfect, I just love hearing them get involved and having a musical experience. 

Today I was teaching a few rhythm patterns using ants for a crotchet, spider for quavers and caterpillar for semi quavers. We played these on our body using call and echo and I mixed them up a bit. 

Drum time next: they are always keen to touch the drum straight away so now I just get them playing all together however they want and I conduct loud and quiets in the middle of the circle. We have a signal of ‘triangle hand in the air’ which shows them to stop playing. This is very effective. 

Next we try out our new rhythm to the song ‘ants came marching’ and then we play a game of hide the butterfly. Two volunteers, one hides it and the other leaves the room with me. When they come back in they know that if the class are playing loud it means we are near to finding the butterfly  and if they play quiet for are far away. (A version of hot and cold game).

I always end the session with our Djembe Train. I start of slow and quiet and speed up and they copy. I end with three loud drumming beats and they copy and we all put our hand up in the air (triangles in the air).

The children always particularly love being a conductor and controlling the music and there is always a lot of giggles in this session. Well done FS classes Cygnets and Ducklings.