Body percussion is a type of music-making that involves using different body parts, such as your hands, feet, and chest, to create rhythmic sounds and beats.
It’s a unique way of making music without the use of traditional instruments, and it has a long history in many different cultures around the world.
What are Body Percussion sounds?
Body percussion sounds are rhythmic sounds produced by different body parts without using any external instruments.
Body percussion sounds can be used in various forms of music, dance, and theater, and they are often used as a form of entertainment or communication.
Some standard Body percussion techniques and sounds
Clapping is one of the most basic and standard body percussion techniques. You can change your claps’ rhythm, intensity, and location to create different patterns and sounds. For example, you can clap your hands together, your thighs, or your hands against your chest.
Snapping is another common body percussion technique that involves using your fingers to create a sharp, clicking sound. When you try to snap, just place your thumb and middle finger together and quickly pull them apart.
You also have a choice, like you can alternate the pace and intensity of the snaps to create different sound patterns.
Stomping is a powerful body percussion technique that involves hitting the ground with your feet to create a deep, booming sound. You can fluctuate the rhythm and power of the stomps so that you can create different patterns and beats.
For example, you can stomp on the downbeat to develop a strong, driving rhythm or stamp on the offbeat to create a syncopated flow of sounds.
Chest percussion is a well-known technique that involves using your chest to create a thumping sound.
The proper way to do this is to hit your chest with your hands or use your voice to make a sound that resonates in your chest cavity. Chest percussion can add a powerful and resonant element to your body percussion rhythms.
Like the name, vocal percussion involves using your voice to create percussive sounds, such as beatboxing.
With beatboxing, you can create a wide range of sounds using your mouth and vocal cords, including snare drum sounds, bass drum sounds, and hi-hat sounds. Vocal percussion can add a dynamic and versatile element to your body percussion performance.
Tapping and Slapping
Tapping and slapping involve using your fingers or hands to tap or slap different areas of your body, such as your thighs or arms.
These techniques can create a variety of sounds and rhythms. This rhythmic pattern can be combined with other body percussion techniques to add texture and complexity to your performances.
One of body percussion’s most exciting aspects is combining different techniques to create unique and complex beats.
By experimenting with different combinations of claps, snaps, stomps, and vocal percussion, you can create intricate and dynamic beats that are both challenging and rewarding to perform.
Introducing Body Percussion to Kids
Teaching kids about body percussion can be a fun and engaging way to introduce them to rhythm and music.
With the help of Body Percussion, kids can learn to distinguish different sounds and patterns. They can also recognize and create rhythms and develop their auditory discrimination and attention span.
When teaching kids about body percussion, it’s essential to start with simple rhythmic sounds and techniques, as mentioned above, and gradually build up to more complex patterns.
Body Percussion songs and activities for kids
Kids were and always will be practical learners. So when you are at the helm of teaching Body percussion to kids through the art of music and activities, you may need some suggestions.
Below we will discuss some body percussion songs and activities you can use with kids to help them explore the world of body percussion.
“We Will Rock You”
“We Will Rock You” is a classic rock anthem perfect for body percussion activities. Kids can use their hands to clap, their feet to stomp, and their voices to chant along with the iconic rhythm of the song.
Start by teaching kids the simple rhythm of the music: two claps followed by two stomps. Once they have mastered this rhythm, you can add vocal chants like “We will, we will rock you!”
Encourage kids to experiment with different volumes and rhythms as they chant and clap along with the song.
“Pat-A-Cake” is a classic nursery rhyme for introducing young kids to body percussion. Begin by gathering the children in a circle and clapping your hands while reciting the verse: “Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man.
Bake me a cake as fast as you can!” Encourage the children to participate by joining in with the clapping and recitation.
Once they have become comfortable with the basic rhythm, introduce additional body percussion techniques, like tapping their thighs or stamping their feet, to enhance the activity.
Stomp and Clap
“Stomp and Clap” is a fun and energetic body percussion song that is perfect for getting kids moving and grooving.
The song features a simple rhythm of claps and stomps, and kids can add in their vocal chants and dance moves to make it their own. Initiate by teaching kids the song’s rhythm: two claps followed by two stomps.
Then, please encourage them to add creative variations, such as changing the rhythm or adding vocal chants.
Body Percussion Symphony
Body Percussion Symphony is an engaging and stimulating activity that can aid in the development of children’s musical abilities and coordination.
Here, the kids can be grouped and assigned unique body percussion techniques, such as clapping, snapping, stomping, or vocal percussion. Each group can then be given a specific rhythm or pattern to practice until they can perform it with ease and precision.
Once they have mastered their respective techniques, all the groups can come together to perform their rhythms and patterns, resulting in a harmonious ensemble of body percussion sounds.
Body percussion with Musical Chairs
Musical Chairs Body Percussion combines body percussion and movement to make a fun twist on the classic game. Kids choose a body percussion sound in this game and move around a circle clockwise.
They freeze and perform a specific body percussion sound when the music stops. The last one to perform is out, and the game continues with a new sound and round of movement. It’s an excellent way for kids to improve their rhythm and coordination while having fun.
The Cup Song
“The Cup Song” is a popular body percussion song that has become viral content in recent years.
The song incorporates a distinctive rhythm produced by tapping and slapping a cup, which can be accompanied by additional vocal and body percussion elements to generate a lively and individualized presentation.
To initiate the activity, teach the children the cup-tapping rhythm and then motivate them to include their own vocal chants, claps, and stomps to produce a more intricate and captivating performance.
Boomwhacker Body Percussion
“Boomwhackers” are colorful plastic tubes that can be used to create musical tones when struck against a surface.
In this body percussion activity, kids can use Boomwhackers to develop various musical styles and rhythms and then add body percussion techniques to create a fun and engaging performance.
Start the activity by giving each child a different colored Boomwhacker and assigning them a specific rhythm or pattern to play.
The Rhythm Game
“The Rhythm Game” is a fun and interactive body percussion activity that challenges kids to create and perform different rhythms using their bodies.
Kick off the game by sitting in a circle with the kids and clapping out a simple beat. Then, go around the circle and have each child add in their own unique rhythm, building on the previous rhythm to create a longer and more complex performance.
Encourage kids to experiment with different body percussion techniques and collaborate to create a cohesive and engaging performance.
Body Percussion Jam Session
A “jam session” is a well-known music event where musicians gather to play and improvise music together.
Children can participate in a similar interactive activity by using their bodies as instruments to create a fun and engaging jam session.
To begin, the children can be divided into small groups, and each is given a different body percussion technique to experiment with, like clapping or stomping. They can then collaborate and improvise with one another, utilizing their bodies to generate a distinct and lively performance.
Body Percussion Storytelling
Kids can use their bodies to tell a story through sound and movement in this body percussion activity. First, choose a simple story or nursery rhyme, such as “The Three Little Pigs” or “Jack and Jill.”
Then you shall encourage kids to use their bodies to create different sounds and movements representing other characters or actions in the story.
For example, they might use stomping to describe the sound of the big bad wolf or to clap to express the sound of the rain in “Jack and Jill.” This activity encourages creativity and imagination, as well as developing musical and storytelling skills in kids.
Name rhythms are a fun way for kids to create rhythms and beats using their own names. Initiate by having the kids say their names out loud and then clap or stomp out the syllables.
For example, if their name is “Sarah,” they could clap twice for “Sa” and then stomp once for “rah.” You can then have the kids combine their name rhythms to create a group rhythm.
Body percussion call and response
Body percussion call and response is a fun and interactive way for kids to practice rhythm and timing. You can begin by demonstrating a simple call-and-response pattern, such as clapping twice and then waiting for the kids to clap back once.
You can then shift the pattern by adding different body percussion sounds or changing the tempo. For added fun, you can have the kids take turns being the leader and coming up with their own call-and-response patterns.
Benefits of Teaching Body Percussion to Kids
Develops auditory discrimination
Body percussion helps kids develop auditory discrimination by exposing them to different sounds and patterns. They create sounds using their body and learn to distinguish rhythms and patterns others make.
It also helps to recognize repeating patterns, match sounds with others, and improve listening skills while improvising with sound experiments.
Improves rhythmic development and motor skills
Kids engage in body percussion and use their whole bodies to create rhythms. This helps develop coordination between their hands, feet, and other body parts, an essential skill for rhythm development.
Body percussion requires kids to use different parts of their bodies in coordination to create rhythms and sounds. Such movements can develop their gross and fine motor skills, as well as their hand-eye coordination.
Improves attention span
Body percussion requires kids to listen carefully to the sounds they are creating and the sounds made by others, which requires them to focus their attention on the activity.
This also involves repeating patterns and rhythms, which can help them develop their ability to sustain attention over time.
Furthermore, using different parts of the body to create sounds can improve coordination and concentration, while improvisation encourages them to explore and experiment with different sounds and movements. As a result, kids maintain their interest in the activity while improving their attention span.
Improves social skills
Body percussion is an excellent way for kids to work together and develop social skills. By practicing and performing together, they can learn how to communicate effectively, collaborate, and support each other.
This can be particularly helpful for shy or introverted kids struggling with social interactions.
Develops musical skills
Body percussion is an excellent way for kids to learn rhythm, tempo, and musical structure. By practicing different techniques and rhythms, they can better understand how music works and how to create their own compositions.
This can be particularly helpful for kids who may struggle with traditional music lessons or instruments.
I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.