To connect with the beat when playing a rhythm. Tempo is the speed of a piece of music: fast/slow/medium. It unites the musicians when they are playing multiple parts at the same time. It is also a useful listening tool to help students focus on other sounds when playing music. It can be used when the group has already learned one rhythm that they can all play together in time.

step 1

A conductor holds claps, or uses a clave or cowbell and stick (anything that has a sharp sound that can be heard above everyone when the group is playing together). Explain to the students that when musicians work together, they are a team. Just like any other team, they have a leader who is called the conductor. The conductor is the person in charge and they must follow the conductor’s directions.

step 2

The conductor establishes the beat, playing steadily so that everyone can connect with it by tapping feet. S/he counts for the group,“1,2,3,4!” to begin playing a rhythm together.

step 3

Once the group is playing together on the beat, the conductor slowly speeds up the tempo, playing steadily until the group is caught up and playing tightly together at the new tempo. It might take a moment for the group to tighten back up during the transition.

step 4

The conductor changes the tempo again, speeding up or slowing down. S/he should hold the new tempo until the group catches up and is playing tightly together.

Art Making