Poison Rhythm Game

Poison Rhythm Game


The poison rhythm game is commonly done in group settings, but here is an adaptation for a private lesson.

What You Need:

  • Paper
  • Writing utensil
  • Drums or other percussion instruments (optional)


  • None

How to Play:

  • Write out one measure of rhythm in 4/4 time and place it where both players can see it. This is the poison rhythm.
  • The teacher plays a measure in 4/4 time (not the poison rhythm). If you’re not using instruments, just clap the rhythm. The student should listen carefully and play or clap it back.
  • Repeat the call and response rhythms as many times as you like.
  • At some point, the teacher should play the poison rhythm. The student should NOT play back the poison rhythm. If they stop and do nothing, they have earned a point. If they are not paying attention and do play it back, the teacher earns a point.
  • Write a new poison rhythm and go again. The game ends whenever you run out of time.


  • To make it easier, use only basic rhythms, count out loud, and give the student multiple chances to play back each rhythm.
  • To make it harder, use more complicated rhythms or make each rhythm two measures long.
  • To make it more creative, switch roles so that the student is generating all the rhythms.


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