‘Round We Go to the Beat

(This lesson is tiered for elementary/middle school, or for intermediate/advanced.  It is recommended  that Levels 3 and 4 be reserved for middle school students.)


Objective:                    The purpose of this lesson is to use concepts found in Terry Riley’s In C to practice and reinforce singing on the beat.


Standards:                  Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

                                        Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.


Materials:                    Copies of a familiar round ( “Row Row Row Your Boat,” etc.)


                                        In C sound clip (optional)


Prior Knowledge     

And Experiences:     Sing through the selected round as a class, first in unison, and then splitting into

                                                sections for the round.


1.             Warm up the class by reviewing their round.  Explain to students that they will be singing the round in a different way.  Divide the students into groups of 3-4.


2.             Assign each group a small section of the selected round.  The section should only be 2-4 notes long.  The sections do not need to start on beat 1 or end at the bar line.  Have students practice singing just their part as the teacher assigns sections to the rest of the class.


3.             (Level 1)  When all groups have a part, explain that they will sing their section over and over again once finished, just like in a round.  Move to the piano, and indicate the beat through tonic chords.  Count the students in, having all the groups singing all at the same time. 


4.             (Level 2)  Once they have mastered their small section all at once, try bringing in different groups at different times. 


5.             (Level 3)  Have each individual member pick a small part of the round.  Have the individual students sing their own parts all at once, then one at a time.


6.             (Level 4)  Have individual group members pick their own fragments.  Explain to them that they will begin singing their part whenever they wish, and that they may move on to the next few notes if they feel they need to change.  However, they must keep singing to the steady beat provided by the piano.


Assessment:               Students accurately sing their assigned parts on the beat.

                                        Students successfully stay on their own part.


    If the teacher wishes to discuss Terry Riley after completing Level 4 of this assignment, he/she may ask

the students to write  out similarities and differences between their own performances and the method of

Riley's In C.  If this is the case, click on the sound clip in the "Materials" section for an audio example of the