Spot the Rhythm

It’s rhythm week here, and this activity evolved with the week. In it’s final incarnation, here’s how it worked.

What You Need:

  • A set of one measure rhythm cards
  • percussion instruments (optional)


  • Lay out six to twelve cards, face up

How to Play:

This game is a series of challenges. Each step is a little harder than the one before. The goal is to get through as many challenges as you can before the lesson ends.

  1. The student chooses a card, but does not remove it, point to it, or indicate it in any way. He should count a preparatory measure out loud to establish the beat. Then he should clap the measure (not counting out loud). Hopefully, the teacher will be able to identify which measure the student chose.
  2. Switch parts.
  3. Repeat challenge one using a percussion instrument instead of clapping. If you’re not using percussion instruments, just clap.
  4. Switch parts and percussion instruments.
  5. Return to clapping. This time choose two measures. Again, count a preparatory measure. Then clap the two measures in succession. Hopefully, the teacher can identify both measures.
  6. Switch parts. Many of my students found one measure easy to identify, but two measures very difficult. Repeat the clapping as many times as necessary to ensure success.
  7. Add in the percussion instrument.
  8. Switch parts and percussion instruments.
  9. Return to clapping. This time choose three measures.
  10. Etc.



  • To make it easier:
    • Limit the rhythms to quarter notes, half notes, and whole notes.
    • Put out fewer cards to choose from.
  • To make it harder:
    • Include eighths, sixteenths, triplets, etc.
    • Put out more cards to choose from.
    • Start with two or three measures to begin with. Or go on up to six or seven measures.
    • Put out mixed time signatures so they may have to switch in the middle.


Spot the Rhythm

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