Follow the Beat

Follow the Beat text
Image credit: Kate Ter Haar via Flickr

Follow the Beat is a fun rhythmic activity to do

in a Music class or a Music therapy session.

This activity offers participants the chance to be heard and the chance to listen to others. It encourages leadership and also promotes following the directions of others.

I have always had a great response when I do this activity, as it is a really fun and often evokes a lot of laughter and positive energy.

What you need:

A Drum or another percussion instrument

What you do:

This game is very similar to “Freeze Dance”. It can be done in a group or one to one.

The leader will play the drum or other percussion instrument and the other participants will move their bodies to the leader’s rhythm/beat. When the leader stops, the other participants stop.

It is best if you start off as the leader when doing this activity for the first time.  That way you can “model” how the activity is done. You can even shout out “Freeze” every time you stop playing the drum, for the first little while, but gradually extinguish saying “freeze”, so that the participants really have to listen to the instrument. When modelling, play fast/slow, loud (encourage stomping or “loud” movements) and soft (soft movements like tip toeing). You can also incorporate rhythms that encourage different movements like running, skipping, stomping, galloping, etc.

Once the group understands the object of the game, choose a leader. 


Instead of moving to the beat of the leader, you can hand instruments to the other participants so that they can play along. Same idea, when the leader stops, the other participants stop.


Social: Maintaining/increasing ability to take turns and share.

Social: Communicating with others through music/drumming.

Social: Increasing awareness of others.

Social: Being the leader/follower of the group.

Behavioural: Increase ability to control impulsive behaviour.

Communication – Receptive: Improve listening skills, following directions.

Cognitive: Increasing/maintaining understanding of prepositions such as fast/slow, loud/soft, etc.


**Please Note: If this activity is being used as a Music Therapy Intervention, it should be performed by a board certified, accredited Music Therapist or under the supervision of one.**