How to teach body percussion

Body percussion is a remarkable and long-lived art. It’s so special in part because it is a form of music-making that anyone can practice, without any prior experience or special equipment. 

So, what implications does this have for how you teach it? 

Introducing the wonders of music-making 

As the term implies, body percussion is all about using your own body to create percussive sounds – in other words, making your body a musical instrument. It has a long and glorious past, dating to when South African miners would communicate with each other through body sounds and rhythms.

Your own teaching of body percussion may involve familiarizing your students with some of that past. But you’ll also probably wish to quickly start demonstrating how they can produce their own sounds through simple actions like finger clicking, hand clapping, patting their chest and thighs, and stamping their feet on the floor. 

Much of the appeal of body percussion, after all, is that it’s really easy to begin doing, but much trickier to master. Whether you teach body percussion as part of an online or offline class, or even something less conventional like a team-building event, your initial focus is likely to be on everyone feeling included and releasing stress. 

The effective teaching of body percussion is not about instilling competition and dividing participants into ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ – and it’s even less about humiliating anyone. What it’s about is making everyone feel that they can be part of the music – and something bigger than themselves. 

Spreading the word of body percussion, the Soul Clap Fitness way 

Such is the lack of external resources required to practice body percussion, that you don’t even necessarily need to teach it with accompanying music. That’s what Soul Clap Fitness’s ‘Become the Music’ package allows you to do, by ‘going a cappella’. This ties in neatly with the earliest days of body percussion when music instruments may not have been available or even yet invented. 

An a cappella body percussion class can be a great way to encourage students to freely invent their own rhythms or melodies, with no influence from background music. 

Alternatively, you might wish to teach body percussion more like a cardio dance class that puts students in mind of the greatest music of yesteryear. The Soul Clap Fitness program can cater to this, too, combining the creative possibilities of all of that stomping, clapping and clicking with remixed ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s soul hits from legends like James Brown, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. 

A body percussion class can therefore be about paying homage to a rich music-making tradition, as much as it is about giving participants the confidence to make their own. 

The exact emphasis that you place when teaching body percussion is very much up to you. Become a certified instructor with Soul Clap Fitness, however, and you’ll be well-placed to teach the full range of basic, intermediate and advanced body percussion combinations and choreography. 

Becoming one of our elite-level instructors will enable you to mix up how you teach your classes to suit the experience and capabilities of your students, ensuring that they are always adding new flavor to their fitness. So, why wait any longer to commit to teaching body percussion with us?

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