Praise to the Man: Clap Instead

If you clapped the beat to the first verse of Praise to the Man, you would clap on the following syllables.

Praise  to the Man  who com-muned  with Je-hovah

The steady beat of this song is ALMOST on every word, but not quite. (That’s what makes this next activity more fun<grin>!)

Clap the rhythm as you sing

Tell the children you are going to clap out the words to this song.  Ask them to clap with you.

(Sing and clap the words – which is the rhythm – to this song.)

At the end of the first phrase, call out “Freeze!”  Challenge the children to be really precise about the next line.  Some of the notes are LONGER than the rest of the notes.

(Sing and clap the words to the 2nd line, “Jesus anointed that prophet and seer.”)

At the end of the second phrase, call out “Freeze!”  Whisper to the children that you have a secret! Even though the words are different, your clapping will be the same as the first line!  Clap and sing to find out what it sounds like.

(Sing and clap the words to the 3rd line, “Blessed to open the last dispensation.”

Instead of calling out Freeze at the end of this line, go right into singing and clapping the fourth line. (The unexpectedness of not freezing at the end of the line wakes some of the children up!<Grin>)

At the end of the fourth line call out “Freeze!”  Ask the children to move their clap from their hands to clapping one hand on an elbow.

(Sing and clap the words to the chorus on your elbow.  You can switch to a different elbow in the middle.)

When you get to the words, “Mingling with Gods,” go back to clapping with your hands (to keep the children’s interest).

Clap Instead

When you have clapped the rhythm to the whole song, hold up a bell, or a rhythm stick, or a chime.  Tell the children that you are going to give a signal.  (Demonstrate.)  When the children hear the signal, instead of singing, they clap the words instead.  When they hear the signal again, they stop clapping and sing the words instead.


Begin singing the song (no clapping) and after a few words, give the signal.  Clap the words instead.

In another little while, give the signal and sing the words instead. Continue in this way throughout the whole song back and forth between singing and clapping once the signal is given.

When you have finished singing/clapping the whole song, choose a bishopric member, a birthday child, or someone else to give the signals to the group while you all sing and clap once again, seeing if you can follow their signals.

What the children don’t recognize is that you have sung the song through at least 3 times, yet it changed every time.  They don’t realize how their brain is ordering the words and pitches according to the beat they are moving to.  The children don’t realize how this helps them practice the skill of steady beat.  And it is fun!

I made a quick video of Clap Instead. You can watch it here –

16 Responses

  1. nancy

    This might be a lame question (but I’m going to ask it anyway – haha :D).

    When clapping rhythm do you clap once per word or once per syllable or once per note for a particular word? I don’t know if I said that very clearly so here are some examples:

    – for “man” do you clap once or twice? (once for the word or twice because the word is sung in two notes even though it’s a one-syllable word)

    – for “communed” do you clap once or twice? (once for the word or twice because it has two syllables)

    – for “open” do you clap once, twice or three times? (once for the word, twice because it has two syllables or three times because it’s sung in three notes).

    • Sharla Dance

      You clap once for each note. I just explain it to the children as “clapping the words” because they catch on more quickly that it is not the beat. Thanks for asking!

  2. nancy

    Oh, what about “vain”? (one word, one syllable, but 4 notes?)

    I read your other post “Review: Beat versus Rhythm” and tried tapping the beat with one hand while tapping the rhythm with the other and found that I naturally wanted to tap the number of notes rather than just once per word, if that makes sense. I don’t want to teach the kids the wrong way though so if rhythm is just one tap per word I’d better practice!

    • Sharla Dance

      You are on the right track. Vain is four notes, so four claps. I really appreciate you asking!

    • Janna Wells

      Walking the beat (or marching in place) while singing helps a lot. It’s one of the first things a drummer learns, and it helps a lot with coordination, like leading music.

  3. Renee

    I’m a little confused. Are you always clapping to the rhythm and never to the beat? In your last sentence of this post you said that they are moving to a beat, but the activity sounds to me like they are moving (clapping) to the rhythm.

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Renee, Thank you for this good question. Yes, they are clapping the rhythm, not the beat. The tricky part is that in order to clap a rhythm, you have to have a steady beat going inside. When I said they are moving to the beat, it is because that is the underlying foundation for them inside to even be able to clap to the rhythm. Thanks for asking. Yes, always clapping the rhythm (which is laid on top of the beat).

  4. Desiree Roberts

    Will you please show a video of you clapping to this song?

  5. Amy Barlow

    Do you do this activity with both verses, just the first verse, or both verses and the chorus? If I used your action word actions for younger kids to teach the first verse and chorus, would this be a good way to introduce the third verse? Or should I do something different? Also, do you have a song story that goes with the third verse? Thanks so much for all you do!! You’re amazing!!!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Amy, As I teach the children, I try to teach each verse in at least 3 different ways. (It’s better for their memory and their experience with the song.) So yes, use it to teach the a verse in addition to one or two other ways. I’m half done with the story for the 3rd verse. Thanks for asking.

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