Remote Control Rhythms

If you don’t have a remote controlled thing of some kind already, this activity is not worth the effort. If you do, this is easy and thrilling for many of the kids

What you need:

  • A remote controlled vehicle of any kind
  • A selection of note values written out separately. I have a set I use on a giant staff, but even quickly written notes on scrap paper would work.


  • Scatter the notes around the floor.

How to Play:

  • The student gets 45 seconds to drive the vehicle over as many notes as she can. The teacher picks them up as the student gets over them.
  • The student chooses a time signature. I offered 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, and 6/4. Many students liked choosing an unfamiliar time signature.
  • The student organizes the notes into measures. If the beats don’t come out right, they can have one free note per measure, as long as they can identify what kind of note they need.
  • Once the measures were organized, the student have three tasks:
    • Count and clap their rhythm.
    • Pick their favorite note and play their rhythm on the piano.
    • Pick several notes and play a melody using their rhythm.


  • To make it easier, limit the type of notes you scatter.
  • To make it harder, include a variety of note values, such as triplets.
  • To make it very hard, have the student play the rhythm with one hand while simultaneously playing a different rhythm with the other hand.
  • To make it more exciting, use different instruments to play the rhythms.
  • To make it longer, have them choose and write down notes to go with their rhythm. They can also repeat their rhythm several times, putting it together to make a composition, with or without accompaniment.


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