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Tuesday, April 12, 2022

3 Lessons to Teach Triple Meter

After working on triple meter with a few different grades recently I was reminded of how much fun it is to teach! If you're looking for some new, fun, engaging ways to teach triple meter, here are some of my favorite lessons.

1. Tinikling

I do a unit on music from the Philippines with my 3rd graders every year, and one of the reasons I do it is so they can review triple meter with Tinikling! If you haven't heard of it, Tinikling is a traditional dance from the Philippines that looks like this:

Obviously it's a great way to reinforce downbeat in triple meter and get that 3-beat feeling through movement for both the dancers and the people moving the poles! I do this with 3rd grade but it's a great way to review triple meter with older grades as well. You can read more about the unit I teach on the Philippines, including Tinikling, in this post.

2. Tititorea

I also do a unit on Maori music with my 2nd graders, and my students learn Tititorea, a traditional Maori musical stick game. 

This is another one that's great for feeling the downbeat in triple meter, and it's much easier than Tinikling for younger students. I love having students work with a partner to come up with their own stick pattern as well, to get them practicing creating in triple meter! And they are singing while moving the sticks so they're getting practice singing in triple meter too. You can read more about my unit on Maori music in this post

3. Sing Your Way Home

This song was a new discovery for me this year, actually, and I fell in love! Here's a recording, and here's the notation. It's just a lovely song that feels good to sing, and it's a great one for practicing things like phrasing, dynamics, and other expressive elements. I have students first sway with the downbeat while singing, then add a simple clapping pattern, then add some instrumental ostinati to further reinforce the meter. I used it with 2nd grade this year but it would work well with a broad range of ages.

Of course there are so many more great lessons for teaching triple meter but since we're talking triple I'm going to stop at three for now! If you have more favorite lessons for triple meter please share them in the comments below. And maybe we'll have to do a part 2! 


  1. Thank you for this! I love the stick games and the video is brilliant! Just out of interest, how long a lesson do your students get each week?

    1. Currently in my district each class comes to music twice a week for 30 minutes each.