Practicing Rhythm Skills With Rhythm Cat
I like to start my students on recorder in 3rd grade. The first year we keep a lot of focus on a narrow range (BAGC), tone and technique. In 4th grade, however, we begin to branch out! Our range is extended to an octave or more and we begin playing longer pieces that are more difficult rhythmically. I lead up to this by doing both a review of 3rd grade recorder skills and including some practice time on our pitch and rhythm reading. The Rhythm Cat app is their favorite. My students would play this app all day if they could!
Rhythm Cat Lite is available for free and honestly, the first time I checked it out I was hoping it would live up to this image. How cute is that! Fortunately it did.
The object is to keep a steady beat and tap the blue button to ‘play’ the rhythm notated. Background music helps give the rhythm context and the levels gradually increase in difficulty. After a level is played, incorrect areas are highlighted and if the level is passed, the score is ranked from 1 to 3 stars. My third graders will work on a level steadily for a half hour to get to 3 stars and hate to put the pad down to line up. Last year it was such an ordeal to get several students off this app at the end of class that I had to take it off the classroom pads for a while. Many students do get this app to play at home. In all, it has made a measurable difference in their rhythmic accuracy.
Rhythm Cat is available for iOS and Android. The Lite and HD versions are both free, while the Pro is currently $4.99.