Tap Your Feet

Grade Levels: Pre-K - 2

Grades: Preschool-1
Subject areas: Music and Math


Students will practice following a pattern and become familiar with the concept of beat in music. They will be introduced to tempo. They will gain experience playing the beat on non-pitched rhythm instruments, at various tempos. This activity will culminate in the creation of a rhythm piece.


  • Students will listen to, analyze, and describe music.
  • Students will gain experience performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
  • Students will gain experience composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.
  • Students will gain experience in speaking and listening as tools for learning.


  • Computer(s) with Internet access will be used for online activity
  • Available non-pitched rhythm instruments
  • Picture cards of non-pitched instruments with the names of the instruments written below the picture
  • Big book stand, music stand, flannel board-anything to arrange cards in sequence from left to right


  1. Access PBS's Bandleader. Have the students work in the first level to gain experience with following a pattern.
  2. Have the group find their individual heartbeats by placing their hands on their chests. Have them tap along with their heartbeat.
  3. Do a few simple exercises/movements with the children to raise their heartbeat. Immediately following this, have them find their heartbeat again. Ask them what they notice. Is their heart beating faster or slower? (Tempo) Explain that music can also have a fast beat or slow beat.
  4. Access PBS's Bandleader. As a class, create a composition. Listen several times and help the children keep the beat with the created composition using a different type of body percussion (pat, tap, clap, etc.) each time. Students will attempt to follow a pattern.
  5. Continue to develop the concept of beat in music, creating a "beat" composition using a variety of non pitched instruments. Have the children select an instrument (i.e. hand drum) and play a group of four beats. Allow children to take turns as necessary, while others practice with body percussion.
  6. After the students have practiced groups of four beats on the various instruments; ask them to suggest a sequence for the instruments to play in. Arrange the picture cards in the sequence the students have selected from left to right. Guide them in playing this rhythm composition.
  7. Compose a variety of these compositions. Play at various tempos. Try having children play instruments in combinations (i.e. hand drum and maracas together, triangle and claves).


  • Students should actively participate in all activities.
  • Teacher assessment of student's ability to keep a steady beat through observation.

Extensions and Adaptations

  • Continue to develop the beat by using it with picture books and poems. When reading to children, look for text that is rhythmic. Help students select appropriate places to insert beat patterns in the story/poem.
  • Listen to a variety of music with children and have them determine the beat and play along.

Relevant National Standards:


  • Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
  • Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.
  • Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.

    Language Arts

  • Demonstrates competence in speaking and listening as tools for learning.


  • Following and understanding patterns. In partnership with PBS.

    NAfME logo

    Provided in partnership with NAfME

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