Count Circle

My fourteen year-old daughter wanted to know how to invent musical phrases, motifs, and patterns. This comes in handy for games like Hey, Over and Over and lots of the other games in this book.

Count Circle can help people make up a new musical pattern, even if they have no previous musical experience.

Quietly count evenly from one to eight. When you get to eight, start over with one. Keep counting from one to eight over and over again.

To create a sound pattern, choose two or three numbers between one and eight Clap your hands, tap your percussion, or play your instrument only when you say the numbers you chose.

For example, a nice pattern that leave room for others to fill the quiet is to tap on 1 and 3.

Another good one is 1, 3, 4.

A fun little pattern is 1, 3, 6.

Or you could choose five numbers between one and twelve. A surprisingly tricky one is 1, 3, 6, 9, 12.

While you are all quietly counting from one to eight together over and over, if you like, everyone can take a moment to think about the numbers they want to play on. They try out the numbers they chose, and they can make a change if they want something a little different. Give people a moment to explore.

Once everyone has found their Count Circle, play the count cycle at least a dozen times, until the ingredients feel like they have been mixed together and fully baked in the oven.

Also, if you want to go around the circle and have each person explore one at a time, you can do it that way.

Also, as you get better at playing this game, the moment of exploration can also be a time when everyone is listening to everyone else, so that their choices evolve with everyone else’s choices.

Also, don’t be afraid to let people make a sound in between counts, for example on the two and a half. This is stealing a bit of freedom within the game. The respectful thing is just to make sure that you are actually trying to settle into a Count Circle, and that once you find your pattern, you repeat it the same way each time through, so that others have a stable sound space in which to hear their own circle counts and everyone else’s.

Also , if you are really great at this game and really listening, then if someone says, “Just Go Start know my beat,” and pointed at you, you would be able to play their pattern for them.

Also, try counting absolutely silently. What happens if you don’t count at all?

Also, you might be inspired to make a little adjustment or ornament to your pattern sometimes as you repeat it. We call this a “dangle for the cat.” It’s like dangling a string to get a cat’s attention. It’s a small gesture, a tiny solo, a flick of the wrist if you will. Leave space for others do dangle for the cat as well, and delight in them.

Also.  You might try speeding up or slow down a bit if that feels more natural.

Now that you can play Count Circle, all kinds of Circle Music becomes open to you.

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