There are many ways to keep track of rhythm when learning a musical instrument. Some people like to count, others like systems like Kodály (ta ti ti). The issue with these systems for less-experienced musicians is that it is a brand new set of syllables to learn; it’s like learning a new language and being forced to speak it at a quick speed almost immediately. Some pick it up quicker than others, depending on their experience.
The people who seem to get frustrated by “lack of rhythm” are new adult beginners; I’ve taught a few of them, but it’s so important to recognize that everyone who can speak, who can communicate with others, has a sense of rhythm. You just have to learn how to tap into that!
Prosody is the sub-field of linguistics that focuses on the sounds of speech in time. That’s an entire sub-field dedicated to showing how speakers of a language, any language, all have a sense of rhythm. Using language alongside music notation is a great way for less-experienced musicians to get used to traditional music notation, and these cards do just that, and they’re arranged in three levels of difficulty to help you even more.
I’ve used these cards with adults who straight up told me that music was always hard for them because they “have no sense of rhythm,” and they were surprised that they had a better feel for rhythm than they originally thought. It didn’t even take a ton of work!
These card packs are great for teachers, students, or anyone who wants to play with words and rhythms.
Rhythm cards also serve as great inspiration for compositions. When I want to write a song that feels like a certain mood, but I feel stuck, I write some words that describe it: “happy, bouncy, full of joy” and add notes to them. That usually is enough to get me unstuck and on my way to writing a full piece!
The full composition pack includes all the rhythm cards, song templates, and analyses of beloved Christmas songs to walk you through the process of writing your own Christmas song.
Why write a song though?
It is human nature to create and to connect with other people. In writing our own music, we do both of these! Most people don’t because they just don’t know where to start or how to plan out a full song. The rhythm cards are great for inspiration, and the song templates turn the art of songwriting into a fill-in-the-blank process that might feel like it’s not songwriting at all…But it is!
This is one of the absolute favorite activities of the many in my piano studio. I try to do compositions for big holidays, and Christmas is the biggest! Younger students love to go home with a piece of sheet music that they wrote and play it at their family Christmas gatherings. Even the adults get a little sense of pride, though they try to hide it!
As the teacher, I’m just thrilled to help my students feel these senses of accomplishment and creation. It brings us closer, and it helps them spread joy and hope to others. It’s also helpful to me that I made these templates ahead of time (can you imagine trying to compose 20+ different songs with 20+ different people AND get it all in the notation software in a week or so? Yikes!). You can have these templates in the full composition pack below!
May the holiday season bring you joy, happiness, and great feelings of creating music!
4/4 Rhythm Card Pack
Comes with a set of 45 different 4/4 rhythm cards in 3 levels and 5 games that can be played by 1 or more players.
3/4 Rhythm Card Pack
Comes with a set of 45 different 3/4 rhythm cards in 3 levels and 5 games that can be played by 1 or more players.
6/8 Rhythm Card Pack
Comes with a set of 45 different 6/8 rhythm cards in 3 levels and 5 games that can be played by 1 or more players.
Write Your Own Christmas Carol
Comes with all three rhythm packs, 5 games, 18 song templates, and example accompaniment patterns. Learn theory while creating a Christmas carol to share with friends and family!