Rhythm imitations are good for a five-minute class warm-up before other musical instruction. Clap or play on a rhythm instrument a short rhythm and have the students clap or play it back to you. Variation: Use a combination of claps, stomps and other sounds. Make it into a game. Each student takes a turn and must sit down if he doesn’t tap out the correct rhythm. The last child left standing wins.
Karaoke Percussion: Select music to which the students will add percussion (choose familiar tunes with a cheerful, fast tempo). Decide on the rhythm ahead of time--on the beat, off the beat (harder), only on alternate beats or only on the first and last beats of a measure. Let the children listen to the song first and clap along so they get a sense of the beat.