Monday, 20 July 2015

Secret Handshake Compositions!

I did a super simple partner composition activity with my grade 2 and 3 students and by just spontaneously calling it a "secret handshake" rather than a body percussion composition, the kids were sooooooooo excited! It also led to some very interesting and creative compositions.

Step 1:
In pairs, students write an 8 beat rhythm pattern (two measures) using ta, ta-a, ti-ti, rest, and/or ti-ka-ti-ka.

Step 2:
Students decide on body percussion together that matches the rhythm pattern that they wrote. When demonstrating this, show different ways partners can connect. When students are composing their body percussion, watch for a group that clearly shows their rhythm and have them demonstrate for the class.

Step 3:
Have pairs perform their compositions for the class, having the rest of the students demonstrate their audience behaviour skills!

Possible Extensions:
Have students write out their compositions with graphic notation.
Have pairs teach another group their handshake.

It sounds simple, and maybe you already do something like this, but the kids loved it! I will forever be using the term "secret handshake" for this activity!


  1. Going to be trying this on Tuesday, thanks Steph!

  2. Going to be trying this on Tuesday, thanks Steph!

  3. Love this! What an interesting and fun way to talk about rhythm and composition! Do you do any kind of performance or showcase? I wonder if you could use a few of these during that to demonstrate the creativity that is happening in your classroom...and I'm sure the parents would love it!


  4. Very helpful suggestions that help in the optimizing topic,Thanks for your sharing.