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toccata rhythm blocks

by Catherine Schane-Lydon
Community Voted
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  • the story

We've Got the Beat

This introduction to musical notation is sure to strike a chord with beginning music students and their teachers. It offers a simple and engaging way to learn to read and manipulate musical rhythms.

This Level 1 kit contains a series of sturdy composite tiles and two racks in which to display them. Start by placing one of the time signature tiles in the rack that matches its color. Arrange the rhythm tiles in any order beside it—each tile has a note on one side, and a rest of the same value on the other. The tiles are designed to visually represent the length of their notes: a whole note tile is twice as long as a half note tile, which is half as long as the quarter note tile, etc. Each rack is only long enough to accommodate the correct number of beats in a measure. Comes with a Rhythm Challenge CD for learners to practice listening and notating what they hear. In no time, music learners will be tapping, clapping and singing along to a new beat. Made in USA and China.

  • details
Community Voted
Item ID
23969
Ages
4+
Made from
cardboard, acrylic, compact disc
Measurements
bases 4.5" - 5.5" L x 1.5 " W x 1" H; tiles 2" L x 0.5"-4" W
Notes
Care: Tiles and bases are hand washable.

WARNING:
CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.

  • the maker

Catherine Schane-Lydon

Once upon a time, there was a music teacher named Catherine who wanted to make music rhythm and note values easier to comprehend for her students. After hand-drawing her 1,274th pie chart, illustrating how a whole note is like a pie, and if you cut it in half, you get 2 halves, and you cut those halves into half, you get 4 quarters, she realized she needed a better way to illustrate note values: something that kids could manipulate, intuitively understand, and once understood, it could grow more complicated to further challenge them. The idea of Toccata Blocks was born, the first rendition was constructed from pieces of wood and vinyl stickers in a garage, and it debuted on an online music education site. After filming, the blocks were promptly boxed up and forgotten. A few years later, our intrepid music teacher started teaching music in a school setting, where a little music studio with a piano was set up so she could teach children during school hours. She unearthed her box of Toccata Blocks, and used them with her students as a way to end a lesson successfully. The kids quickly grasped the musical concepts, and even the very young children were playing with whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, and eighth notes, correctly clapping or singing the rhythms. One day, a classroom teacher noticed these Toccata Blocks, and was so enthusiastic about them that she convinced the music teacher to try to get them manufactured. “Every school and every music student should have these!” she exclaimed. And after asking other teachers, parents, and students about how helpful these blocks could be, our music teacher decided to try to venture into the business world and get these blocks manufactured. And so, an entire adventure began! The Toccata Blocks here are the result of a couple of years of design, trial and error, and stubborn determination. The music teacher is still teaching, using Toccata Blocks every day, and finding new ways to enhance learning of music for all students.

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