Recently we have been working on music notation with my 5 - 6 years old students. I am always looking for some playful way to present the music notation. Until now, we have been working with the stick notation. This time some pon pons were introduced in the classroom.
Children got excited with the activity of writing the music notation with the pon pons. The most fascinating thing about this exercise was that I didn't introduce the exercise with guidance on what to do. I just set up a rhythm and I asked from the students to guess what this could be. And 'yes', in a few seconds they decoded the whole thing and start saying and clapping titi and ta!
Firstly I introduced some rhythms with titi (quavers) and Ta (crotchets) and I asked from the children to tap it and say the rhythmic syllables. Afterwards, I set up some 3 different rhythms and I played the one of them and I asked from the students to recognize which one I tapped and then to tap it and say it on themselves. Then the students created and played their own rhythms.
With this team we have not worked a lot the tikati, titika and tikatika (semiquavers) so I set some rhythmic patterns with the smaller pon pons and children immediately responded and understood the relationship with quavers and crotchets. In fact they were very creative and built the notes in pyramid showing the relationship between them (see the picture below).
Kids really enjoyed this activity and couldn't stop creating rhythmic patterns. I was really impressed with their creativity and collaboration.
At the end of the session children took their instruments and played the rhythmic patterns on the instruments. They played all together the same pattern. They created each one different pattern and played it one after the other keeping the same tempo. They even tapped a rhythm and other kids had to guess and 'write' the rhythm with the pon pons.
This is an activity that I would definitely recommend to use in your music class!