Chants · Lesson activities

Proverb rhythms

  • “It takes | two to tango”
  • “There’s | no smoke without fire”
  • “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
  • “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
  • “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
  • “Birds of a feather flock together.”
  • “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
  • “The early bird catches the worm.”
  • “Never look a gift horse in the mouth.”
  • “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
  • “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
  • “Good things come to those who wait.”
  • “Two heads are better than one.”
  • “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
  • “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”
  • “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
  • “If you want something done, do it yourself.”

Learn a proverb, passing it around the circle in strict meter. On a signal, change from chanting to clapping; and on the next signal change back to chanting. Or, have the class perform the proverb as an ostinato. At a given signal, say it inside (internally), keeping strict rhythm. Next signal, say it out loud again.

Or decide on four different “modes” of performance and divide the class into four groups:

  1. clap
  2. chant
  3. improvise on instruments
  4. step rhythm.

At signal, move on to the next “mode.”

This can be done by setting up actual stations in the room, or it can be done in place as long as students remember the sequence of modes.

Related to the example of two contrasting rhythms above, find two proverbs with rhythms that complement each other. They can be the same meter. They can fill in the silences of the other rhythm. At the signal, change proverbs!