What Students Will Do:
- Explore vocal performance through a analysis of beatboxing and vocal improvisation
- Analyze rhythm as produced by language and sound, and by modern recording techniques
National Music Education Standards Addressed:
- Standard 6: Listening to, analyzing, and describing music
- Standard 7: Evaluating music and music performances
- Standard 9: Understanding music in relation to history and culture
- 15-20 minutes
- Digital media player or computer access to the Internet
We are all "vocalists" to one degree or another, as human speech requires complex vocal mechanics. Beatboxing, in which the human voice imitates percussive instruments, such as drums, encourages musicians to create, arrange, and improvise vocal sounds in new and innovative ways. Explore how beatboxing uses the percussive potential of language to create exciting sonic textures. In this activity, students will listen to examples of beatbox vocalization and explore how speech and language can create rhythmic patterns. The activity also examines the role of technology in the development of innovative sounds and new recording and music composition techniques.
Download Audio Activity and Worksheet:
Click on the link below to download and listen to this activity. Print the student worksheet and distribute to students; instruct them to input their answers while listening to the activity.
Click here to download this podcast
Click here to download Student Worksheet
Click here to download Teacher Worksheet (Student Worksheet with answers)
beatbox vocalization: using the voice to imitate a drum
Additional Teaching Strategies
compression: reducing the dynamic range of an audio signal, making quiet sounds louder and loud sounds quieter
onomatopoeia: a word that somewhat imitates the sound associated with the action or object to which it refers
percussive: featuring instruments that derive their sound from being shaken or struck, such as the drum
pitch: the highness or lowness of sound determined by its frequency vibration
plosive: a consonant produced by stopping the flow of air at some point and suddenly releasing it
rap lyricist: the writer of the words of rap songs
reverb: an effect that resounds in a succession of echoes, produced in recorded music by electronic means
Use the activity vocabulary and Web link resources as a discussion motivator, or the extension activity as an engaging, in-class project.
Beatboxing is a form of vocalization strongly associated with rap and hip-hop music. It represents an art form that emphasizes creativity and innovation with minimal dependence on expensive technology or recording equipment. Have students bring to class and discuss an example of beatboxing, rap, spoken-word poetry, or any suitable musical composition that illustrates the power and flexibility of the human voice.
Web Link Resources: