Try a music or art class at January Demo classes

Of course, you want to try a Kindermusik class with Ms. Debbie, or an art class with Ms. Carolyn, but you are worried about the cost, or whether your child will like it, or whether they will disrupt the class, or whether you will have to dance or sing.  Well, don’t worry so much, you can dance and sing when you want to, just like your child is encouraged to participate in their own way.  Your child may not be ecstatic about it the first day, but will grow to love it in just a few weeks (when they become familiar with the routine), and we can work through the cost issue (I’ve got my ways.)  But first, just come and try it out a class.

Demo Days Logo

THIRD Week of January:    17 – 21st

at InTune Studios

Enroll Online:   FREE DEMO Class Schedule 

Invite a friend: See you then !               Enroll Together and each get FREE music !

 

Demo classes reflect the programs offered by Music Connections and InTune Studios

Spring 2012 Semester

starting First week of February:            Jan. 31 – Feb. 2

leaf play

Babies: infants up to 17 months

– Kindermusik Village: Cock-a-Doodle Moo

– Kindermusik Playdates: Winter Wonderland
– Kindermusik Sign & Sing: Unit 1 (6 – 30 m)

 

Peek a boo Darcy

Toddlers: 1 1/2 – 3 1/2 yrs

– Kindermusik Our Time: Away We Go

– Art & Literacy: Pee Wee Picasso’s (InTune)

 

IT Boats

Preschoolers: 3 – 5 yrs.

– KM Imagine That: Toys I Make, Trips I Take

 

Ole'

Elementary: 5 – 7 yrs.

Kindermusik for the Young Child (5 – 7 yrs)

Art’Sing: Singing, Drama, Art (6 – 13 yrs) (InTune)

 

Family Lap bounce

Families:

Kindermusik Playdates: (one time events)

Jan: Winter Wonderland

Feb: Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Mar: It’s Your Lucky Day

 

These Playdates are offered one Sat. a month, as well as a variety of times of other times.

 

Be a part of a wonderful musical experience with your family this Spring !!!

 

For any Kindermusik classes,  Enroll online   or contact Debbie Mondale.

Email  musiconnx@att.net ,  or call: 863-816-8835

 

For any InTune Studios classes,  contact Tiffany Stokes

intunestudios@gmail.com , or call  863-937-7782

I hope to see you at the studio this week.  Until then, be well.

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Appalachian Music is Front Porch American Heritage

In the Appalachian Mountains – a strong part of our American heritage was wrapped up in songs and music that were birthed on the porches and back yards and shared only from person to person. 

Much of this music and heritage may have been lost, except for a select few who saw the beauty, and the history, and the cultural significance of this music.   David Holt took it upon himself to seek out those musicians who remained, and patiently interviewed and learned all they had to share.   In just under 30 minutes, David Holt sums up generations of real history with stories, songs, music, and people that fill out the history of this part of our world, of our country.  28 minutes may seem a bit long to consider, but this is riveting storytelling with music, and it is WELL worth watching.   I LOVE the story about the cotton fields which leads into the introduction of some of our African American music as well. 

To learn MORE about the people and music of the old Appalachian music, there are LOTS of videos on You Tube of interviews with these original musicians.  Search under David Holt, and banjofolk.  Or just check out his website, www.Davidholt.com 

You may also enjoy two of my previous blog posts in relation to this style of music:

Melodies and More on a Mountain Dulcimer  –  see different ways dulcimers are played

Got Spoons? Play Them !   –  see a video of a spoons player and get some ideas for fun at home !

The students in the second year of Kindermusik for the Young Child study Appalachian folk music as they continue their music studies, while learning to play melodies on their own two string dulcimer.  We LOVE exploring these fun songs with nonsense words and silly animal stories, and making up our own new verses to sing in between playing the chorus on our glockenspiels.  We LOVE using our musical memory to pick out familiar songs on the dulcimer.  We LOVE exploring REAL instruments that are used in this folk music, like washboards and spoons, as well as the banjo, guitar, fiddle, and the mountain dulcimer.  And we LOVE hearing the masters of this music and their stories.  That is one of the reasons we LOVE David Holt and what he has done to make this part of our culture accessible to us. 

This Appalachian music helps us learn how making music becomes part of a person’s daily life, part of a person’s heritage, part of a person’s soul.

Melodies and More on a Mountain Dulcimer

The Mountain Dulcimer is a unique stringed instrument that was born in the Appalachian mountains.  The fact that it is already tuned to a known chord,  AND that is that it is played on the lap, makes it easier for young children to learn than the ukulele or the guitar.  With 4 strings tuned typically in the key of D, the melody is played on the 1st string, with the other strings droning the D chord as it is strummed.   At least that’s how we START to play it.  Those who continue to play, learn to use more and more of its unique abilities. 

In the second year of Kindermusik for the Young Child, our students get to build and decorate their own dulcimer before the rosewood fret board with 2 strings is attached.  Although OUR two strings are both tuned to C, so we can easily play many of the songs we learned on our glockenspiel.   During this time, we are studying music from the Appalachian Mountains. 

Here are some video examples of mountain dulcimers being played by musicians as various stages of development. 

In this video, a man plays Amazing Grace – only the melody is played with noter on first string, while the D chord is strummed.   This is much like the Young Child students play familiar melodies on their own dulcimer.  We also give them the opportunity to use their musical memory to pick out familiar songs on the dulcimer. 

This fun folk song, Turkey In the Straw, is played amazingly well by a 7 year old using his fingers and more of the strings to add harmony.   I’m inspired !

A folk musician at a dulcimer festival uses “All the fingers, and ALL the strings” to play Eight More Miles to Louisville.

THEN, for another step up, to the modern world of dulcimer playing, Bing Futch introduces us to the Double Dulcimer.   I actually got to watch him play locally at a folk music festival, and I was blown away.

So, I hope these musicians will  inspire my young musicians, in our ongoing musical adventures, as well as maybe a few other friends along the way.

You may even want to listen to some LIVE dulcimer music.   Search your area for Dulcimer festivals or live events, and you may find a lot more than you expected.  If you live in Polk County, Florida, we are fortunate to have a Dulcimer Night on the FOURTH Friday night of every month, starting at 5:30 pm in the Central Park of Winter Haven.  Don’t look online for it… just show up !

Please share if you know of any websites that list festivals or events that feature live dulcimer music, or even if you are familiar with a video that would also be inspiring.

Party with the Pumpkins – Fourth year

WOW !  Pumpkins have such a wide variety of possibilities !  I’m SURE the first person to find a pumpkin never imagined how much fun they could be.    This is our FOURTH year to Party with the Pumpkins and Mrs. Debbie !    With a review of my blog postings of the past, I have found a treasure trove of fun pumpkin play for everyone.  But for my special Pumpkin Parties,  I love to keep things fresh, and I have a lot of new material to add to the mixture of music, activities and crafts to share.  

First, enjoy some pumpkin fun, and get pump-ed up for the season’s best by reviewing the music, activities, and links on my previous posts:  Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween

pumpkin patch

Then, Enroll right away for our pumpkin event.  Plan to Plump up with your favorite pumpkin wear (even if it is just a pair of pumpkin decorated socks), and join us for:

The Annual Pumpkin Party, on Saturday Oct. 8th

at InTune Studios, 1037 S. Florida Ave. Suite 125, in Lakeland

9:30 am. – For BABIES up to 2 years old 

10:30 am.  For FAMILIES with children from 1 – 7 years old (age flexible, just ask)

I am so excited to add the new “pumpkin party” just for babies.  I have not had them separate before, and the typical family party is not BEST suited for the little ones.  I’ve been having so much fun developing a curriculum with songs, activities, and crafts that will make this a special celebration of the season for families with babies – during the class, and for many weeks to follow.

AND, the Pumpkin Party for families is getting totally re-plumped with new material.  Kindermusik’s music download site, play.kindermusik.com, has been inspiring.  There are not necessarily a lot of songs specifically about pumpkins, but Mrs. Debbie’s brain just starts buzzing with ideas as I pour over the wealth of music found there !  The songs we use will be fun with the themes I have planned for our pumpkin play, and the music will outlive the pumpkin phase, offering fun and memories with the ever evolving themes of childhood.  The crafts will be a fun addition to your season’s decorations, and will become props for continued play at home.

The themes planned for this year’s Pumpkin Party include:

  • Planting and Growing Pumpkins
  • Pumpkin Patch Creatures
  • Pumpkin Play
  • Dancing Pumpkins
  • Pumpkins in the Kitchen, from carving, baking seeds, and making pumpkin pie
  • Pumpkin Head Scarecrows
  • Decorating Pumpkins
  • The beautiful glow of pumpkins at night

Of course, I always plan too much for our limited time, but our party evolves according to the people who come to play.  Whoooo will come and join me???

Enroll right away so I can prepare effectively for our fun event.  PLUS, as soon as you enroll, I will send an email with a Playlist, and a download code, so you can start listening to the music right away.  You and your children can become familiar with the songs by the time the class starts, making the event ever so much more engaging. 

Enroll ONLINE for the Pumpkin Party for Babies, just $20.   While there, you might also take advantage of the discounts for an extra class, and enroll for the November Winter Wonderland as well.

Enroll ONLINE for the Pumpkin Party for Families.   $20 for first child,  $10 for each sibling 1-5 yrs.  includes craft items.  Again, while there you might take advantage of the discounts for an extra class, and enroll for one or more of the upcoming events:  November’s Winter Wonderland (snow and holiday play); or December’s GingerBread Party.

You can also enroll by contacting Debbie at musiconnx@att.net

How does YOUR FAMILY  have fun with pumpkins during this season ???  Please share !

Benefits of Beats for Babies and Beyond

Why do I need to spend time with my child focusing on Steady Beat?  There’s an old adage, “With age comes wisdom”.  And then there’s the comedy trailer, “… and sometimes age comes all by itself.”    The same is true for steady beat. 

Most people don’t understand its importance:  in an international study by the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, the majority of 2,000 teachers and 5,000 parents indicated steady beat was only of moderate importance, and that no teaching was necessary for it to occur.  (Weikert, 1999)

BUT, a steady beat does not develop along with the ability to walk.  Just because we have a steady heartbeat does not mean everyone can match the beat of recorded music.  There are plenty of adults who don’t have this ability.  How many of you KNOW someone with “two left feet”?   It doesn’t mean they can’t learn it.  It just means they haven’t…  yet.     

Steady Beat, at any age, must be experienced fully.   And “developing a sufficient level of competence requires support from knowledgeable adults and plenty of opportunities for active engagement in targeted learning experiences.”  (Weikert, 2003)   In other words, get with someone who knows what they are doing, who can provide a wide variety of activities that can help that skill develop.

If this worries you as a parent (if you feel you have two left feet), be comforted.  For one – please realize that parents do not have to dance with a perfect beat, or sing with a perfect pitch.  Your joyful musical interactions with your child are beneficial across so many developmental realms – the musical benefit is just one of them.  Just KEEP making music with your child, even if you can’t “carry a tune in a bucket”, or you avoid skipping rope like it’s a snake!

In Kindermusik, a licensed educator facilitates the class, providing the “knowledgeable adult” who will help both you and your child to experience and develop this skill.  Even in class, we offer a variety of options, allowing each individual to find their own “best way” for beat development.   It’s never too late to learn !

So WHY is it so important to teach it to my child NOW?

Like learning a language, steady beat, rhythms and pitch of music are best learned through immersion at a young age.  As we talk, sing, and interact with our children throughout the day, they are naturally learning and using the same skills that are somewhat more difficult to learn later in life.   With each repeated steady beat activity in childhood, the early neural networks are laying a solid foundation upon which MUCH MORE information will be connected.   As the child is developing the concepts and skills, the benefits start working right away !

The consequence of insufficient steady beat experiences in early years can result in poor physical coordination, halting speech (in some cases, stuttering), and even weakness in thought flow. 

 So, really, how important is  steady beat competency?

Of course, there is the fact that a good steady beat is required for any musician to play an instrument effectively, as a soloist, or as part of a larger group of musicians;  and the sooner they learn it, the better.   Formal music instructors on any instrument, including the voice, can guide the child’s progress so much more effectively if the student has already have mastered steady beat.  Just ask a music educator.  You will get an earful.

But if someone is not planning to become a musician, how much does it really matter? 

Steady beat is an organizer for the child, purposeful and calming.

This skill is required for many physical abilities, both large motor skills, like walking, skipping, and bouncing a ball, as well as fine motor skills, like using a pair of scissors, or chopping vegetables quickly like a master chef. 

Because beat, rhythms and pitch are also a part of language, the addition of rhythmic and music experiences in their daily routines also supports the child’s development of speech, communication, and writing skills.  Actually, we KNOW that steady beat can help those who stutter to speak more clearly.   Some Scientists believe that a poor sense of rhythm could be the cause of dyslexia.  “Researchers concluded that an awareness of beats can influence the way young children assimilate speech patterns, which may in turn affect their reading and writing abilities.” These examples underscore the importance of steady beat in helping children make sense of their world and organize their responses.”  (Education Tuesday, 23 July 2002).

Feeling and moving to steady beat develops a sense of time, and the ability to organize and coordinate movements within time.   (A sense of time… what a great gift to give your child. )

The research carried out by High/Scope Educational Research Foundation (Timing in Child Development,  Kuhlman & Schweinhart, 1999) shows a positive correlation of steady beat to many academic and school skills, as well as physical coordination. 

“Standardized testing shows that children with steady beat independence are better readers and more successful in mathematics.  Further, teachers report that children with better abilities in steady beat are more well behaved in class and have less aggressive physical contact with other students.  Steady beat seems to help in these areas because it contributes to children’s ability to concentrate, to understand space and distance, and to have better control of their actions.”  (Weikert, 2003)

Wow !  All that can come from learning to keep a steady beat !?!   How can that be?

Well, let’s take a look at which basic skills are involved in developing true competence with steady beat:

They must LISTEN – intentionally listen – well enough to feel the beat in their head and in their body.  That, in itself, takes training.

They must OBSERVE – to watch closely enough to match the actions of others;  from the early stages of learning to keep a basic beat, to when they become involved with ensembles (playing music with others in a group).

They must CONTROL their movements, not just for a moment, but over time -coordinating their actions according to what they HEAR and SEE – repeatedly and consistently.

These are a fabulous set of skills to continually practice and develop for any aspect of life (and they do not necessarily develop in the natural course of aging.) 

Fascinating, isn’t it?   Now that you know WHY, let’s move on to WHAT &  HOW:

A Parent’s Guide to Beats and Rhythms –  includes games to help clarify these topics

Developmental Progression of Steady Beat – how the skill develops over time

The best teaching methods for parents to use, with links to a wide variety of ideas specific to each age group;  babies, walkers, preschoolers.

References

Insights on the value of music and steady beat  article by Phyllis S. Weikart   This article helped me round out a lot of my thoughts on this topic, and is referred to regularly in this review.  It is well worth your time to read the whole article, which also includes other musical skills such as pitch. http://www.childcareexchange.com/library/5015386.pdf

BBC News Education. (Tuesday, 23 July,2002). “Poor Rhythm ‘at heart of dyslexia’.“ pg. 1.

www.highscope.org/Research/Timing  Paper/timing study.htm

Weikart, D. P. (1999). What Should Young Children Learn? Teacher and Parent Views in 15 Countries. Ypsilanti, MI:  High/Scope Press.

A Parent’s Guide to Beats and Rhythms

For the non-musician, sometimes musical terms can be a second language.  For many parents, some terms may be familiar, especially with the brilliant musical teachings of The Little Einsteins (Thanks Disney).   But it might not be easy to explain it to someone else, much less understand these concepts well enough to help your child develop these skills, or to know why it is important to do so.

Before we start, I need to clarify that this is for the parents.  PLEASE don’t feel compelled to try to use words with children to explain these concepts.  From birth to around 5 – 6 years old, they must simply feel each of the concepts in their bodies.

 

What is Steady Beat?  

 Steady Beat is the most fundamental property of music

and life.

It is the underlying, unchanging, repeating pulse. 

We each have our own internal steady beat, our heartbeat.

“… it starts as a heartbeat, and sprouted a rhyme”    – Village Do-Si-Do

 

You may feel this as you tap your foot or dance to a piece of music.

To illustrate a steady beat, tap with each underlined syllable as you sing the song.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,

How I wonder what you are.

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,

How I wonder what you are.

The taps should have continued at an even pace throughout the song.

 

Make it a GAME:  Let the child choose a favorite song.  The adults clap the steady beat while the child sings the song, or as you sing it together.  Once it becomes easy, try tapping the beat on your child’s back, or on the bottom of their feet.

There are LOTS of ways to experience and practice steady beat:  See my blog posting:  “Catching a Beat” with very young Children.

 

TEMPO

The steady beat of a particular song may be fast, or slow; this is called Tempo.

The tempo of the steady beat may even change during a song.

Physiologically, beats that are slower than the heartbeat calm the body, allowing it to slow down and relax.  Beats that are faster than the heartbeat engage the brain, getting it ready to learn, and engage the body, getting it ready to move.

Make it a GAME:  First, the child and adult should FEEL each other’s heartbeat.  Choose a favorite lullaby song, sing it together several times, or listen to the recording while rocking to the beat.   Then feel the heartbeat again. 

Do the same with a favorite upbeat song while “dancing” the way it makes you feel – sung or recorded.  Feel the heartbeat.  Wow ! 

 

How does Steady Beat relate to Rhythm Patterns & Melodic Rhythms?

Rhythm Patterns

Within the steady beat of most ALL music, there is steady underlying pattern of a stronger beat followed by less strong beats.  In music, these are often carried by the percussion instruments, and help to keep the rest of the musicians playing together.

 At the most basic level, our human perceptions often “recognize” rhythms in a series of identical sounds, such as dividing clock-ticks into “tick-tock-tick-tock”. 

That is a basic 2 beat pattern.

 

MOST popular music from the Western side of the world has a 4 beat pattern, including marching songs, and folk songs like 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,           How I wonder what you are

    1             2              3          4                  1           2              3                4

 

Make it a GAME:  Holding your child, or holding their hand, step forward 4 steps with the beat of “Twinkle Twinkle”.  Then walk backwards on the next 4 beats.  Continue forward and back throughout the song.  Make it more fun by standing in front of a mirror watching yourselves.  Or march toward and away from another favorite adult who is making funny faces when you get close.  Got it?  Try it with another song.

 

Waltzes and many lullabies contain 3 beat patterns, and have more of a swooping feel, such as:

 “Rock -a-  Bye    Ba—- by,  In the tree    top———”

      1  –  2  –  3      1 – 2 – 3      1 – 2  –  3       1  –  2  –  3

Make it a GAME:  Standing and holding your child, sing “Rock-a-Bye Baby” while swaying side to side.  Start moving the opposite direction on each count of ONE.  Feel the swinging motion.  Once that feels natural, change the way you are moving.  Try swooping the baby up to one side, then down and up on the other side.

 

Musicians around the world have enjoyed working with these familiar rhythm patterns in new and different ways, as well as exploring unique patterns of strong and weak beats.   Cultural music from Africa often includes a variety of beat patterns even within the same song. 

 

Melodic Rhythms

follow the melody of the music,

it is the beat of the words in the song

that are unique within each measure of that underlying rhythm pattern.

To illustrate this, clap along with each syllable in these songs  (with the X): 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

    1         2          3          4  

   X     x     x     x    x   x   x

 

Notice that sometimes you clap TWICE for each beat (twink-le)

 

“Rock -a-  Bye    Ba—- by,  In the tree    top———”

      1  –  2  –  3      1 – 2 – 3    1 – 2  –  3       1  –  2  –  3

      x  –  x  –  x       x – — – x    x – x  –  x        x ———–

Sometimes you DON’T clap along with the steady beat (top).

 

These rhythms are unique within each set of beats.

A melody is a combination of pitch and rhythm, and is sung with the voice,

or played with a melodic instrument.

Nursery rhymes are basically melodic rhythms without pitch.

 Make it a GAME:  Find a book full of nursery rhymes.   Tap along with each syllable as you chant the rhyme.  The fun is to find new ways to tap.  Tap on different parts of the child’s body.  Tap on an upside down cooking pot.  Use a stick to tap on a tambourine as the child holds onto it.  Tap on the table of the high chair they are sitting in.        

For older children, play “Name That Rhyme” using just the beats of the words.  To make it easier for preschoolers, just make it a choice between TWO familiar rhymes that are in the book.  This makes it more concrete.

Experiencing beats and rhythms, repeatedly, in new and different ways,

is the best way to build a foundation for these skills.

 

Every class of Kindermusik is filled with beats and rhythms: in the rich recorded music, in the songs we sing together, in the Hello song we sing for each child, in the lap bounces that make us giggle, with the instruments we play, in the circle dances we share… in so many ways.

Kindermusik makes it easy and fun.  Come join us.

 

Find out WHY this is important for a child to learn at such a young age.

Learn about the developmental progression of steady beat.

Learn about the best teaching methods to help your child progress

Explore LOTS of ideas for each of these age group:  babies, walkers, preschoolers.

 

How do you share beat and rhythm experiences with your child?

Developmental progression of Steady Beat

Help your child develop a Steady Beat

Learning to keep a steady beat is more about ability than age, because you can improve this ability at any age.  And it always starts with experiencing it fully FIRST.  But during the earliest years, there are developmental milestones that must be met in order to progress to the next level.  It is important to understand the basic progression that a child goes through to develop a steady beat during the first 7 years of life

The ability to react to the beat in music is an important learning process.  This beat is basically a walking pulse.  Many young children are able to steadily tap to an “inner beat”.   Yet they may have difficulty changing their “inner beat” to correspond to the pulse of music or a drumbeat.  Encourage, but don’t impose an external beat too early, it may result in tension, resistance, or loss of confidence in their abilities.  Experience it, and Encourage practicing a beat in a variety of ways (see the linked posts for each specific age group).  Realize that children will progress through these developmentally appropriate stages as they grow and develop their abilities: 

#1        First a child must  experience a steady beat.  They can feel the steady beat by having someone tapping on their knees (or a variety of body parts).  Sing, play music with a strong beat.  “Catch” the beat with their hands on yours while you sing.  This is pretty much what is appropriate for a baby before they are comfortable with walking.  Even as they begin to gain abilities, it is good to continue to just EXPERIENCE it repetitively.  There are plenty of ways to continue experiencing this all the way through their elementary years.

#2  Watch for Repetitive Movements, like hand clapping, tapping a chair like a drum, tapping Dad’s head like a drum.  Sing or dance along AS IF they have the best steady beat that makes you move.  For babies, the focus is the joy of making the sound, as they are not able to keep a steady beat yet.  But they can still experience it through your interactions.

#3  Around 1 ½ to 2 years old, start your own beat and verbally encourage them to imitate different ways to keep a beat. With your hands over theirs, start the beat… but remove hands after a few beats.   Encourage them to continue throughout a short song or piece of music with a good steady beat.  We are only encouraging continued movement, and looking for signs of the next step.

#4  –  Have them walk or march (without recorded music), and watch carefully for their “inner beat”.  It usually is more apt to occur first with these large motor movements.  Then will progress to using their hands.  Imitate their beat with your own hand movements, drum, sticks, or tongue clicks, and keep the same pace while singing a familiar rhyme or song to their own “inner” beat.  

Expand on this by practicing with variety of hand movements and body movements.  Take enough time to process even just one movement for a whole “short” song.  This repetition is necessary for their development.

#5  While singing, practice with percussion instruments – continuing to match their inner beat.   AFTER they have mastered a steady “inner” beat with their hands and body, is a great time to start working on steady beat with an instrument.  Until then, when they play an instrument, the focus is to explore how to make sounds with that object.

#6 –  Once they feel confident with their “inner” beat, encourage them to slow down their beat, or speed up their beat.  Then finally, encourage them to Match YOUR steady beat.  “Watch my hands and try to tap your knees at the same time as my hands”.  Praise any effort on their part to watch your hands, or if they try to adjust what they are doing.  They don’t have to be perfect to make progress. 

#7 – Eventually, they will be able to keep a beat with recorded music, and practice the beat with movements and non-pitched instruments.  Just so you know, that doesn’t usually happen until around 3 – 4 years old.  But those children with more guidance and experience in their life are likely to develop it sooner.    It is a major focus of our Kindermusik Imagine That program for preschoolers.

#8  And finally, they will be able to keep a steady beat to play simple accompaniments on melodic (pitched)  instruments, ie. xylophones.  These are skills we work on with the 5 – 7 year olds in the Kindermusik for the Young Child program.

One of the most popular postings on this blog offers some of the best teaching techniques for parents while “Catching A Steady Beat with very Young Children”.

For a wide variety of ideas of steady beat activities for a specific age, see the following posts:  Any of the ideas for the younger children can also be used for older children (if it captures and engages them).

Ways to Catch a Beat with Babies

Ways to Catch a Beat with Walkers

Ways to Catch a Beat with Preschoolers