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A Music lesson on rhythm and rests





Angie Lund

Song: “If You’re Happy”

Musical Element to Teach: Rhythm (rests)

Grade Level: 1

Concept: The students will feel the rests in the song by creating motions for the rests rather than singing.

Objectives: The students will: Sing the song “If You’re Happy” after rote teaching procedures are used. Follow the motions given in the song, and perform motions during the rests. Create their own motions to a new verse of the song (during the rests).Materials needed: A piano for the starting pitch.

Preliminary Procedures: Ask students: “What do you do when you are happy?” “What different things might you body do to show you are happy?” Discuss students responses and write a few on the board.


1. “If You’re Happy” is taught through rote teaching procedure. The teacher shouldencourage students to think about what is occurring when she (they) are not singing. Oncethe song has been learned, the teacher should guide the students to sense the underlyingbeat by modeling the movements.

2. Ask students, “Sometimes when you sing a song, there is silence in the music. Does anyone know what the silence is called?” (rest). “Why do you think it is called a rest?”

(You are not singing and there is no music. Your voice and the rhythm are resting or taking a break from the song.) On the board, draw the rest seen in this song.

3. The teacher explains that the class will sing the entire song together, focusing in particular doing the given motions when the rests occur. Remind students to pay attention to the rhythm and where the rests (silence in the song) occurs.

4. The teacher remind the students that everyone has different things that they do when they are happy (previously written on the board). Students can create their own movement to the last verse of the song by singing “Be Yourself!” as the final verse. Remind the students that when they do their motions is during a rest, so they should not use their singing voices.

5. Have everyone sing “If You’re Happy” with the new verse added. Remind everyone to do their motions during the rests of the song.

Evaluation: Students will sing the entire song while doing motions for the rests in the song.

Follow-up: The teacher asks the students how the song made them feel. The students can discuss ifthey had any difficulties with the song and if doing motions on the rests made it easier tosing (and more fun!!)

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