Adventures in Sound
Adventures in Sound

On the Beat Part 1

Duration: 15 minutes
Age range: adults and children aged 9 and over
Players: 8 or more, becoming more unwieldy as you get into the twenties

This is a good way to introduce rhythm to a group.

  • Everyone sits or stands in a circle. Begin by establishing a pulse, so that everyone claps in turn around the circle, on the beat. Each person claps once. When everyone has clapped the first person claps again and the sequence repeats.
  • Achieving a smooth beat can be difficult. Take your time getting this right before the next stage.
  • Repeat the exercise, with each person clapping and saying his or her name on the beat - again, each person claps once as you go round the circle. It's important to keep the beat regular – there is often a tendency to speed up. Go around the circle twice and then stop.
  • Now here's the difficult part. Establish a pulse as before, clapping around the circle and add a different category each time the beat reaches the leader - for example colours, animals and so on. Each person must try to come up with a different colour or animal. There will be a tendency for the pulse to break down when people struggle to think of an animal, European language or whatever.
  • Encourage the group, and its members, to place more emphasis on keeping the pulse regular than on the accuracy of the words, even if that means saying nothing when your turn comes around.



Suggestion: Try the game without clapping out the pulse. Can you keep a sense of where the beat is in spite of occasional hesitations or does it all fall apart? Is the group interested in improving this?

Getting to this stage is an achievement in itself - but the game can get even more complicated, as you will discover if you play On the Beat Part 2.

  Taken from Adventures in Sound