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Clapping Meter in Music - Kinesthetic Lesson


by Susan Kramer

Verse and often song are arranged in meter - in strong and weak pulses of rhythmic patterns. Here are some examples for kinesthetic practice. Say the numbers, clap the meter, sing the verses or dance to the meter.

The forward slash is the end of a measure (also called a bar of music).

The number '1' at the beginning of each measure of music is the most stressed beat. The '&' sign is an unstressed beat.

Just a note about differences between clapping the meter and saying a line of verse, (which does not necessarily finish at the end of the measure): The first line of 'Jingle Bells' in 2/2 Time - "Dashing through the snow" has 5 syllables and the last 3 beats of the measure are rests. For singing one would rest quietly for those last 3 beats, but the meter would be clapped for all 8 beats of the 2 measures combined.

Another example of combining verse and meter is to visualize soldiers marching along while singing a song. While natural pauses occur in the lines of song and verse, the soldiers just keep up the meter with their steady marching steps.

2/2 Time

1, 2, 3, 4 / 1, 2, 3, 4 / etc.
The tempo is even and livelier than 4/4 time.
"Dashing through the snow,
In a one horse open sleigh,
O'er the fields we go,
Laughing all the way." - Jingle Bells

2/4 Time
1 & 2 & /1 & 2 & / etc.
Stressed claps on the numbers.
"Mary had a little lamb,
Little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb, its
Fleece was white as snow." - Mary Had a Little Lamb

4/4 Time

1, 2, 3, 4, / 1, 2, 3, 4, / etc.
Evenly spaced claps. Count 1 stressed.
"From this valley they say you are going,
I shall miss your sweet face and your smile,
Just because you are weary and tired,
You are changing your range for a while." - Red River Valley

3/4 Time
1, 2, 3, / 1, 2, 3, / etc.
The claps are evenly spaced, but the number '1' of each measure is stressed.
"Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree top,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall, and
Down will come baby, cradle and all." - Rock-a-bye Baby

6/8 Time

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, / 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, / etc
Counts are evenly spaced, but counts 1 and 4 are stressed.
"Here we go 'round the mulberry bush, the
Mulberry bush, the mulberry bush.
Here we go 'round the mulberry bush, on a
Cold and frosty morning.


Table of Contents

1. Songs in 2/2 Time for Kids

2. Songs in 2/4 Time for Kids

3. Songs in 3/4 Time for Kids

4. Songs in 4/4 Time for Kids

5. Songs in 6/8 Time for Kids

6. Circle Dance Using Rhythmic Motor Skills and Songs for Kids

7. Clapping Meter in Music - Kinesthetic Lesson

More rhythmic practice in the text below:
Free to Move, Learning Kinesthetically
A comprehensive guide to teaching K-3 students kinesthetically, in a 102 page fully illustrated ebook, outlining body placement, rhythms, motor skills, dynamics, mini-lessons, and a 40-minute lesson plan divided into 5 minute segments.


Basic text on moving to learn in ebook / book:


Click on cover image to read table of contents  

Free to Move
Learning Kinesthetically

Free to Move, Learning Kinesthetically by Susan Kramer


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All articles copyright 2000-2016 Susan Kramer