The Iron Rod – 3/4 versus 4/4 for Younger Children

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Younger Children

Prep – put bundles of 20 rhythm sticks (2 for each child in the class, plus the teacher) under the teachers’ chairs.

Ask the children, “Can your hands follow my hands?” Show them the 3/4 pattern of patsch, clap, clap (repeated again and again) and have them follow you. As you continue to do the pattern, begin singing “To Nephi, seer of olden time, …” When you reach the words “…iron rod,” call out, “Freeze!” Stop doing the pattern.

Ask the children “Can you follow my hands now?” Show them the 4/4 pattern of patsch, patsch, patsch, clap (repeated again and again) and have them follow you. As you continue to do the pattern, begin singing the chorus, “Hold to the rod, …” Continue singing and doing the pattern until the end of the song.

4/4 pattern for Hold to the Rod

Challenge the children to do the first pattern with you, but turn to the back of the room (you will move to the back in order to be in front of them). Sing the verse of the song and do the 3/4 pattern facing the back of the room. Call out “Freeze!” as you come to the chorus. Ask the children to turn to the side of the room and do the other pattern (demonstrate the 4/4 pattern). As you continue to do the 4/4 pattern, sing the chorus. Half way through, call out “Freeze!” Ask the children to turn to the other side of the room. Do the 4/4 pattern and sing the rest of the chorus.

Pick up a pair of rhythm sticks. Ask the children to pick up some pretend rhythm sticks and follow what your are doing. Do the 3/4 pattern with the rhythm sticks (patsch, click, click). Sing the verse of the song.

Ask the children if they would like to use rhythm sticks just like you. Have the teachers give two rhythm sticks to each child while you immediately start into the 3/4 pattern and ask the children to copy you. Sing the verse of the song while you are doing the pattern with the rhythm sticks.

Call out, “Freeze!” Tell the children to copy your new pattern with their rhythm sticks. Patsch, patsch, patsch, click. Continue to do the 4/4 pattern and sing the chorus of the song.

The children experience the change between 3 and 4 beats per measure with their body while you sing. They hear the song going on in the background, but the most important thing they are experiencing is the foundation of the different beats that they eventually will hook up with the words. And it is fun!

2 Responses

  1. JeVonne McDonald Tanner

    Love it! Doing both the older and younger version tomorrow. THANK YOU!! SO grateful for your ideas and willingness to share

  2. Judi Harrison

    Can’t wait to try some of these great ideas with the kiddos in my new calling as Primary Music Leader.

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