Games for group dynamics

1. Name game with square and triangle

The name game is always a good and simple choice when meeting with a new group. Fitting it inside a 4/4 or 3/4 bar is even more fun as it stimulates coordination and makes children think in advance about the division of the syllables. It is a good pre-practice before trying to fit the lyrics of the poems to the rhythmic or melodic motive. 

2. Take my rhythm game

We can also use a simple „take my rhythm“ game at the beginning of the class to warm up, especially if we have a bigger group. This simple activity is great when we are introducing the new people in the group or meeting the group for the first time. You can also use a square or triangle as a base like in the previous game. Here is one example from one joint workshop with the 2nd-grade children from primary music school „Vučković“, and Roma children from special primary school „Pešić'' in Belgrade. The first part of the class was taught by the teacher Mirjana Nedeljković. Of course, you can introduce more variety with different body parts, or keep it plain and simple like Mirjana and use only clapping:

3. Using predefined rhythmic patterns in other activities:


After introducing ourselves through a rhythmic pattern we can challenge our music memory to remember the rhythms so we can recognize and call out a specific person in the class. 

EXP 1 When a teacher wants to give a word to some student or call him/her out to do some exercise, instead of calling out their name, they can use their personal rhythmic pattern (this can, later on, be also used with short musical motive). Remember, the pattern can be used in any other game or class activity instead of the person's name, but be realistic – it will be hard to memorize everything if you have more than 15 students in the class.

EXP 2 We can use a specific rhythmic pattern to greet the class. In the next short clip, you will see how our smaller group practices their greeting pattern.

EXP 3 Also, we can choose simple rhythmic patterns to signal different things – give different instructions to our class like: please silence, or sit down/stand up. Here can be also used a call and response pattern.

You will be surprised, but it works way better than shouting: “Please quiet!”

4. Forbidden rhythm game

Forbidden rhythm is a great game for musical memory, and to strengthen teamwork in your class as children play against the teacher and collect points.  In the beginning, the teacher introduces a rhythmical pattern that represents the forbidden rhythm and children need to repeat every other pattern a teacher shows EXCEPT the forbidden one. If they repeat it, the teacher gets the point and if they don’t they get one. Here it is important that they work as a team to “beat” the teacher. Trust us, they will love it!

5. Sound circle

The sound circle is a nice game for a bigger group and it can be introduced right after you and your group explored sounds of the different body parts. You can also use this game to pay attention to the natural dynamic of your group and the roles participants will unconsciously take engaging in this game. The game starts with everybody creating one big circle. The teacher chooses one simple sound to be the sound base (like chafing the hands) and everyone starts creating that sound. The game begins with a teacher calling out a volunteer to enter the circle and start their own sound (any sound). Others have an opti<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>on to stay where they are creating the sound base or to enter inside the circle. The ones who choose to enter must take over the sound of the person inside the circle or could be the one to bring in the new sound. People who are already in the circle have to choose to take over the sound of the new person in the circle or to stay with the one they are already making. 

What is interesting?

You can expect shy ones not to enter the circle in the beginning. Natural leaders will try to enter with a new sound and show of, of course. But “the meat” of your team are the ones who choose wisely when and who to follow. Not everyone who wants to lead the way is the one that will necessarily be followed. If you, for example, would want to predict who can be a good sectional leader - it is usually the one that is followed by most. Also, true leaders will try to make their sound interesting but simple enough so it can be replicated by others. Of course, this is not a rule, just an observation. Each day is different and not everybody will show all they have in this particular game, but it is still a good way to subtly evaluate team roles and to know what to expect in other activities.

6. Game with a ball

A game with a ball is especially fun as a warm up for the orchestra before the rehearsal or during the break. We start with everybody forming a big circle. The teacher plays on the computer or a telephone a piece of music an orchestra has on its repertoire (recommended, in other situation it can be any piece of music whatsoever) and joins the circle with a ball (any ball will do, the smaller and bouncier it is - the harder the game will be). The other variation is not to listen to the track but to sing or whistle the piece of music together or to continue with passing the ball. The aim is to control the ball so it hits the ground on the first beat of the bar and then to pass it during the next bar to the student next to you so he/she can also “play the ball” on the next first beat. Once again - ball hits the ground on the first beat of the bar, the second bar you pass the ball, the next in line hits the ground with a ball (in the  third bar), and so on, so you will hear the beat of the ball every 2 bars. The one who is not with the beat goes out of the circle, or if you want your game to be more inclusive there is no falling out of the game, but trying to continue and keep the steady beat.

Last modified: Monday, 15 February 2021, 5:46 PM