The Dalcroze philosophy involves experiencing music through movement and these rhythm instruments help with that experience. My students and I have been really enjoying using them - suddenly the instructions "tap the pulse" or "tap this rhythm" have a whole new excitement to them.
Here are a few of my favourite uses.
1. Marching in time to the beat of some music whilst also tapping or shaking the beat. This is a great activity for young beginners as they are feeling and experiencing the music whilst also developing the coordination to step and tap or shake at the same time.
2. Using one instrument in each hand to tap or shake the rhythm of each line of the piano music. This is particularly fun if the hands have to cross over each other in the music! It's so helpful to get students coordinating rhythms without worrying about pitch.
3. Using the instruments to show the beat when learning songs and rhymes. This all ties in brilliantly with the ideal of "sound before symbol" and the Dalcroze idea of experiencing music first. This is particularly appropriate for beginners learning about rhythm and also about how to pitch their voices with simple songs.
4. Playing with the instruments with my toddlers. When they're not destroying things my two toddlers love making sounds and dancing and moving with these rhythm instruments.
5. Devising a preschool pre-instrumental curriculum. Watch this space to learn more about my forthcoming exciting programme of pre-instrumental group classes for 3 and 4 year olds.
Do let me know, in the comments below, how you enjoy using rhythm instruments in your lessons or at home; and I'd love to hear from any of you who are interested in the pre-instrumental classes.