World Music Qtorial: Random Rhythm Selector

by Abby @ Quaver on May 29, 2012

in In the Quaver Classroom!,Qtorials

Welcome back to Quaver’s World Music Month – where we are digging into a different category of World Percussion Instruments every week of May!

Each week, Quaver will be giving you a quick Qtorial project to try in the classroom. This week is all about MEMBRANOPHONES! Check it out . . .


Quaver Says:

Membranophones are any instruments that create sound using a stretched skin or ‘membrane.’

The sound can be created by hitting, scratching, rubbing, rattling against, or even blowing across a membrane (in the case of the kazoo).

Here’s a fun idea for exploring Membranophones with your class:

Quaver’s Random Rhythm Selector

  • From your Online Quaver Classroom Lobby, Click Quaver’s World Music, Membranophones and then the Djembe.
  • Watch Quaver’s Video Introduction of the Djembe to get started.
  • Have students practice the three simple techniques displayed by Vinay on the “How to Play It” tab:
    1. Bass tone
    2. Slap tone
    3. Open tone
  • These techniques will easily transfer to other types of Membranophones if you do not have access to Djembes in your classroom!

Next, create a classroom box of 1 measure rhythms written on note cards and try one of these Options for a fun activity:


  • Create 2 boxes with different levels of rhythm difficulty and give groups the choice to challenge themselves by choosing a difficult rhythm or to play it safe with a choice from the more basic box.
  • Give out Membranophones to all your students.
  • Have them divide into 4 groups with one person from each group in turn selecting a random rhythm card.
  • Have each group practice and play their rhythm to your steady beat.


  • Have the 4 groups play their different rhythm measures one after the other to your steady beat using one of the Djembe techniques until all groups can play accurately one after the other.
  • Stack the rhythms of group 1 and 2, and groups 3 and 4.
  • Experiment with stacking the rhythms in different combinations.
  • Add the 3 different techniques into their one measure rhythm pattern  – note how the timbre of the group’s rhythm will change radically.
  • Experiment with dynamics from pp to ff!
  • Work towards a performance by the end of the lesson that has an A section, a B section and a C section using all of the practiced options of solo groups, stacked groups, dynamics, and techniques.

If you have time, PLEASE post a video or short post with your lesson thoughts to so other teachers can see how it goes!

As the school year winds down I just want to say –
CONGRATULATIONS and Boom Chicka Boom!

To enter to win our month-long contest for the Quaver DVD of your choice – try Quaver’s Rhythm Activity and let us know you think in the comments below.

If you aren’t able to access the Online Quaver Classrooms via the Bus Stop at

  • Quaver’s World Music is FREE with any Online Quaver Classroom Access!
  • You can sign up for a free preview at The Access Code you receive will give you a Sneak Peek of Quaver’s World Music as well! Details in this post.
  • Or you can purchase any Online Quaver Classroom for just $8 a year and get Quaver’s World Music included!


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