Notating the Beat
Not all students are auditory learners. This is a fact that I have to re-learn every time I work with students.
Since I am comfortable working in the realm of sound, I naturally assume other people view the world through this lens. Some do, but for almost anyone a visual reference can be essential to understanding how musical rhythms works.
One tool I have used a lot is my Rhythm Chart. These eight boxes represent eight musical beats divided into two measures of four beats. This is a starting point for people studying rhythm.
While teaching a workshop, I was fascinated to discover, thanks to music teacher Anne Schaadt, a Haitian choral piece entitled “Peze Kafe.” I even got to hear her students perform the piece. The use of layered vocal percussion caught my attention immediately, and Mrs. Schaadt was kind of enough to share a copy of the song notated traditionally.
And here is a live performance of Peze Kafe by the Chapel Choir.
How else can we write down/visualize a rhythm? This simple question seems ripe with potential for further exploration.