Run, Jump, Hit-the-Wall

Like Count Circle, this is a way to come up with new musical phrases, motifs, or patterns.

Form a circle and choose one person to begin.

The beginner invents a short rhythmic pattern with their noise maker or instrument. This sound pattern is called “Hit-the-Wall”. It will help if the rhythm of the phrase actually resembles the rhythm of saying, “hit the wall.”

Everyone in the circle plays the Hit-the-Wall rhythmic pattern a half dozen times until it is comfortable and you can do it easily.

Now the next person in the circle invents a longer rhythmic pattern. This rhythm is called “Run”. It is great if the pattern sounds and feels like running. Everyone needs to be repeat it back to you and do it over an over again, so make it a run where everyone can keep up. Maybe it’s a loping trot, not a crazy gallop, but it’s up to you. Teach the pattern to everyone, and play this new “run” all together a half a dozen times.

Now all together, play “Run” and then play “Hit the Wall”. Do it a half dozen times, “Run, Hit the Wall, Run Hit the Wall.”

Is it comfortable and repeatable? Make sure everyone is feeling good.

Okay, so now the next person in the circle invents a short exciting little rhythmic pattern that we will call the “Jump”.

Insert Jump between Run and Hit the Wall. Run, Jump, Hit the Wall. Run, Jump, Hit the Wall. Everyone play it together!

As you go around the circle, each person chooses what kind of pattern they would like to insert. A Skip. A Hop. A Beep Bop. They can insert it any place they like as long as it is after the Run and before you all Hit the Wall.

After each person invents their pattern and inserts it into the overall pattern, they teach it to everyone else, and the group practices again.

It gets difficult to remember the whole thing, but the fun part is to push the envelope for how long a sequence you can all play together! Play until you can Run, Jump, Skip, Flip, Woop, Flim-Flam, Double Back Flip, Swing, Bounce, Bop, Hit the Wall.

One way to end this game, is to slowly get quieter and quieter until you are repeating the entire rhythm silently but together.

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