Takadimi is being used successfully from Kindergarten to advanced college courses. At all levels some fundamental concepts apply.
1. Sound before sight. Rhythmic concepts should be taught and thoroughly explored aurally and orally before notation is introduced. Teach with lots of call and response exercises. Teacher should chant a short rhythmic pattern, to which the student respond on takadimi. [Hear call and response]
2. Play with rhythm. Learning is natural. Infants begin to learn only moments after birth. As children grow older, they learn through play. We should continue to learn the same way. How can we “play” with rhythm? Improvise, make up call and response games, have a “takadimi conversation” with someone, translate music and sounds from our environment into takadimi syllables. These are only a few ideas. Be inquisitive and be creative. [Hear an improvised takadimi conversation.]
3. Multi-task. When learning to read rhythm always try to “multi-task.” Conduct, walk or sway to a steady beat, tap the beat or a related pattern--anything to involve your body in the learning process.
4. Be expressive. Speaking rhythm is a far more musical and expressive than clapping it. Never speak rhythm in a monotone. It is hard on the voice, and is terribly unmusical. Speak expressively, using the patterns and contours to suggest a musical interpretation.
[Listen to a boring interpretation]
[Listen to a expressive interpretation]
5. Don’t forget compound meter. Compound meter (like 6/8) is becoming lass and less common in popular music. It is critically important that children experience and learn to improvise in compound meter. Children who miss out on this step may have a difficult time learning it later as adults.