Pass a Clap
Contributed by T. Scott Lilly
An introduction activity to build build student focus and class ensemble. Can also be used to introduce other musical concepts like rhythm and notes.
- First model this one by one with each of your students.
- Have students stand in a comfortable circle (sitting or standing).
- “Today we’re going to Pass a Clap”. Go into the circle and start and turn to the first student on your left. “Let’s see if you and I can clap together once at the same time” “We’ll take a deep breath in and open our arms, and then let our breath out and bring our hands in to try to clap together”.
- Do this one by one, go around the circle and clap hands once together with each student.
- Now let’s Pass a Clap around the whole circle. This means you’ll be clapping two times, once with the person on your Right and then, when you “pass” it, once with the person on your Left. I’ll start. Ready?”
- Pause for Reflection and build criteria for success after you pass it around the circle once:
- Have students comment on how well they did and what they could do to do it better.
- Encourage eye contact.
- Brainstorm ways you can signal each other without sound to do it together.
- A predictable Rhythm might emerge. Notice that and talk about rhythm.
- Notice the student who wasn’t ready and their partner who noticed that and waited till they were.
- Then, repeat for as many times as you would like or until the group feels focused and successful.
- VARIATIONS – You can adapt it to pass anything.
- Pass a phrase
- Pass a gesture
- Pass a handshake
- Pass a material – this can be a great way to introduce new materials to the class.
- Pass a note – ascending and descending. Pass – Solfege (Do – Re – Mi etc.).
- Pass a salutation “Hello” “Take Care” “So Long”. Get suggestions.
- Pass a vocabulary word, etc.
Transition into Activity
Creating a large group circle.
Transition out of Activity
Transition straight into a skill building or game that can be done in circle. Now that you have their group Focus.
Standing or sitting in a circle.
- Add visuals -Go, Stop & Clap Cards
- Give verbal cues “One, two, three, and CLAP”.
- A rhythm instrument can be used instead or to support the clap.
- Adapt to pass a handshake, high five, or fist/elbow bump.
Role of the Teachers and Paraprofessionals
- Join in the Circle.
- Make a mistake and handle it with grace and humor.
Say the person name of who you want to “pass a clap” to.