Play Plan : Percussion

General Information

  • Prerequisites: Counting
  • Play arena:
  • Number of players: 2 or more

Game overview and basic rules for play

Body percussion is the art of striking the body to produce various types of sounds for didactic, therapeutic, anthropological and social purposes. In both the world of musical traditions and the world of performance, body percussion has had various roles, which can be classified into its uses, meanings and functions which are specific to each individual culture. It is important to point out that nowadays the media and social networks play an important role in promoting body percussion due to their high levels of visual and aesthetic content. That said, however, its applications are highly varied, which is why we can classify the publications up until now into thematic blocks.

Traditionally the four main body percussion sounds (in order from lowest pitch to highest in pitch) are:

  1. Stomp: Striking left, right, or both feet against the floor or other resonant surface
  2. Patsch: Patting either the left, right, or both thighs with hands; or patting cheeks
  3. Clapping hands together
  4. Snapping fingers

Skills that can be learnt- Symmetry, Patterns, Odd-Even

Play session plans

Session 1: Warm up – Pass the clap

Very simple and effective starting point for a body percussion warmup. In its simplest form, each person claps in turn until it goes all the way around the circle. Here are some ideas for developing the activity further:

  • pass a different sound, such as stamp
  • pass a vocal sound
  • each pass a different sound (i.e. 30 people, 30 different sounds)
  • pass 2 or more alternate sounds
  • pass 2 different sounds around the circle in opposite directions
  • double clap means change direction

Session 2: Foundation/Introduction

The aim of this lesson for students is to:
– imitate, count and create body percussion rhythm patterns
– create their own body percussion pattern for even numbers under 10

  • Teacher claps 4 times—students copy
  • Teacher—How many claps?
  • Teacher stamps twice then claps twice—students copy
  • How many stamps and how many claps?
  • Students count as teacher repeats two stamps and then two claps
  • How many sounds did we make altogether? (The teacher continues this with all the even numbers)
  • Children can take the lead once they understand how teacher is doing

Session 3: Music/numeracy lesson

The aims of this lesson are for students to
– Echo body percussion patterns
– Create their own body percussion patterns
– Write sound patterns using number algorithms

  • Teacher (clap, patchen, patchen, clap)
  • Students echo the body percussion (BP) pattern
  • Students and teacher count the sounds while performing the BP pattern again
  • Teacher/students analyse the pattern of sounds performed by the teacher. How many of each type of sound? How many sounds altogether? (2 claps plus 2 patchen are 4 sounds altogether)
  • Teacher continues to demonstrate by making another pattern for the same number (Clap, clap, stamp, stamp)
  • In pairs students choose a number and make up a BP pattern. How many BP patterns can they devise for their number?

Session 4: Sound building

  • 4 to 5 children sit or stand in a circle to begin with.
  • The first child starts with any percussion sound of his/her choice.
  • The next child repeats that sound and adds another sound to it and so on.
  • Any child making a mistake will be out of the game.
  • The one who stays till the end wins the game.

Session 5: Follow the pattern

  • Divide children into 2 groups of 2-3 players each.
  • They create their own short pattern of 3 to 4 beats.
  • They perform to the other group 3 times in a row.
  • When/if a child from either team makes a mistake, the other team gets a point.
  • The team with maximum points wins.