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The Drumbeat Poem

Annabelle was Peter’s friend,
Peter’s friend was Tom:
Tom was very steady,
Tom was very strong.

Tom began to walk,
At a steady beat,
Peter hurried after him,
Tripping at Tom’s feet.


Peter quite liked Annabelle,
But Annabelle was fast,
Annabelle was hurrying,
Afraid of being last.


Annabelle’s big sister
Also came along,
Annabella hoped that she
Could also join this song.


Tom and Annabella
Tried to keep together –
But it was quite difficult,
They had to be quite clever.


Peter thought that Annabella
Ought to be his friend,
He ran along beside her
To achieve that end.


Now that they are travelling
In a little group,
See if you can keep them close
In an endless loop.



This poem is to teach basic rythm.

Tom is a one-syllable word, Peter is a two-syllable word, Annabelle is a three-syllable word, Annabella is a four-syllable word.

Chant the names together at the end of every verse. The most difficult rhythms usually involve the three-syllable word Annabella.

At the very end of the poem you really need four people, or if you’ve got a class, four groups of people.

Clapping in time with the syllables makes it easier. :-)

You can find a website dedicated to teaching children about rhythm at http://www.brianjharris.com/

9 Comments     0 Pings

By Lorna Thu Jan 3rd 2013 at 11:12 am  

Thank you so much for this! I am a teaching student about to start my final teachign placement. I have never taught music before and this is just what I needed! Thank you so very much for sharing your talent!

By Esther Sun Jun 24th 2012 at 7:36 pm  

I looked for resources to help with this question but found none. Can you explain: is the word “Annabelle” (3 syllables) a triplet figure in the poem? I would assume so, but wanted to make sure.

By admin Wed Jun 27th 2012 at 2:30 pm  

As far as I know (I’m not a musician, though I started learning drums a long time ago and then stopped) ‘Tom’ is a crotchet, each syllable of ‘Peter’ is a quaver and each syllable of ‘Annabella’ is a semi-quaver.

‘Annabelle’ would seem to be a quaver triplet (http://www.musicarrangers.com/star-theory/t11.htm)

By Anonymous Wed Feb 8th 2012 at 12:10 pm  

Admin, I don’t think the definition of “Hell for leather” was the point. Only that Hell is an inappropriate word for elementary students.

By admin Thu Feb 9th 2012 at 4:17 pm  

Okay Anonymous, thanks for the clarification, I’ve changed this:

Tom and Annabella
Tried to keep together:
Annabella sped along,
Going hell for leather.

to this:

Tom and Annabella
Tried to keep together,
But it was rather difficult –
They had to be quite clever.

By annonymous Thu Sep 22nd 2011 at 1:33 pm  

I love this poem- however- I just finished printing it out and saw “Going Hell for Leather?” Not sure what that meant, glad I saw it and not read that aloud to the second grade class- probably a typo?

By admin Mon Sep 26th 2011 at 3:09 pm  

hell-for-leath·er (h l f r-l r). adv. & adj. Informal. At breakneck speed: “The journey back he made along the coast road, traveling hell-for-leather”

By Anonymous Mon May 18th 2009 at 11:18 pm  

This is a cute poem! I like that you can chant to it.

By kins Fri May 8th 2009 at 4:11 pm  

A great poem!

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