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My First Rhythm Cup Explorations

(17 customer reviews)

My First Rhythm Cup Explorations is perfect for young students for developing a steady beat and rhythm. It’s easier than Rhythm Cup Explorations 1 and 2 and much of it can even be taught by rote. Watch the video and read the description below to see why it’s such a success with preschool, kindergarten, and early grade students!

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My First Rhythm Cup Explorations® is the perfect introduction to rhythm and the Rhythm Cup Explorations® curriculum. We are thrilled to be able to bring this new Rhythm Cup Explorations digital book and music to you as you work with younger students!

With what ages does My First Rhythm Cup Explorations work?

This resource is specifically designed to appeal and work with older preschool, kindergarten, and early level grade school students. My First Rhythm Cup Explorations® was tested in preschool, kindergarten, and 1st grade classes with overwhelming enthusiasm and excitement from the children!

What is covered in My First Rhythm Cup Explorations®?

My First Rhythm Cup Explorations® covers early level concepts like:

  • Steady beat
  • Quarter notes
  • Repeat signs
  • Quarter rests
  • Half rests

What is different in this book and Book 1?

My First Rhythm Cup ExplorationsIn addition to the introductory games that help establish a steady beat, My First Rhythm Cup Explorations differs from the other books in the following ways:

  1. Each page contains only one rhythm, taking out the distractions of other notes.
  2. Each page features larger rhythm notation.
  3. The accompaniment tracks are so fabulous and integral to the program that they are included.
  4. The accompaniment tracks feature a variety of styles.
  5. The accompaniment tracks are slower to meet the needs of younger students.
  6. Many of the rhythm patterns can be taught by rote so students don’t need to read the rhythms.
  7. For students reading rhythms, level 2 rhythms are included.
  8. Triple and Duple meter are included throughout the book.
  9. It’s just easier!

What are some unique features of My First Rhythm Cup Explorations®?

  • There is an activity at the beginning of the book (which uses included flashcards) to ease students into cup tapping and introduce steady beat in 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 meter.
  • When introducing two signature Rhythm Cup Explorations techniques (passing and tapping your friend’s cup), we included 1 page devoted to just doing that over and over again so that students can focus and become proficient at this. The tracks for these pages are even slower than all the other tracks.
  • Large print pages when something new is being introduced. For example, when introducing the quarter note, there is 1 large quarter note in the middle of the page to help focus attention.
  • Scripted directions – For teachers who like to know “just what to say,” we have included things you can say at the top of every page of rhythm pattern.
  • Tips for success – On page 5, we include 4 rules to share with the kids to ensure that they keep their cup in the correct hand and keep it under control.

What’s special about the accompaniment tracks?

These are amazing! The musicians that worked with us to produce these nailed it in composing music that appeals to young students and including a variety of styles. The children with whom we tested this absolutely loved the tracks and once we had used the tracks always wanted to do it “with the music!”

In addition, we made the tracks slower so that younger student are more successful with these.

Track Samples:

Here are samples of the 3 different tempos:

And here are samples of a few different styles:

What is the difference between the International vs. North American edition?

The difference between the North American (uses terms like “quarter, half, whole”) and International edition (uses terms like “crotchet, minum, quaver”) simply has to do with what kind of rhythm terms you and your students use.

What is a studio license? Why is it so amazing?

My First Rhythm Cup Explorations comes with a studio license which means that you only have to purchase it one time but you can use it for ANY student you are directly teaching! You can make prints of any of the pages of the PDF or print the entire book for your students! There is not limit to the number of students for which you can do this  – they just have to be students that you directly teach. You cannot send them the digital file in any way (email, on disk, or in any way), but you can always have them purchase it if they want their own digital copy.

This is NOT a multi-teacher license. Any teacher wanting to teach Rhythm Cup Explorations must own their own license.

For the tracks, the studio license means that you may use the tracks in your studio but tracks may not be distributed. Students will need to purchase their own tracks to use at home. We will make these available soon.

What are some ways to use My First Rhythm Cup Explorations?

My First Rhythm Cup ExplorationsRhythm Cup Explorations can be used in many different ways.

  • Private lessons – It’s super easy to do with just 2 people.
  • Group lessons – Cup tapping is tons of fun in groups
  • Classrooms – We tested My First Rhythm Cup Explorations in classrooms of up to 17 students with great success!
  • Recitals – Rhythm Cup tapping looks beautiful and impressive at recitals
  • Bring-a-friend lesson – Rhythm Cup Bundle is a great way to advertise lessons. Just have a bring-a-friend week and you can teach your student by reading then rhythm and then that student can teach their friend by rote. The friend will go way thinking piano lessons are awesome!
  • Preschool and Kids Day Out programs – If you are the music director, there’s so much fun you can have here!

Additional information


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17 reviews for My First Rhythm Cup Explorations

  1. Bonnie

    I started using this with my Preschool class today and they loved it!

  2. Michelle Strain

    I have been using My First Rhythm Cups in a Montessori school with ages 5-8. The students have absolutely LOVED My First Rhythm Cups. Even brand new beginners are able to “read” the quarter note rhythms with ease thanks in part to the “food” words and transitioned seamlessly into reading rhythm with no words. Kids have loved adding the “Bonk” and “freeze” options. The clear illustrations and large print is also helpful. I cannot recommend this resource more highly!

  3. Katie S

    I watched the live webinar, and was excited to get the My first Rhythm Cups because in my studio everyone works on rhythm cups during January-February and I always found those problems you mentioned with my littlest students who wanted to participate but the accompaniment tracks were too fast and there was too much on the page. I’d resorted to covering up everything on the page but one line and letting them try without the background tracks (but somehow it just wasn’t quite as fun). Thank you for filling the gap there and I cannot wait for January to try them out with my little guys.

    But, it doesn’t end there. I was revitalized by the webinar and decided to pull out my old cups materials with a teenage student who loves lessons but hasn’t been practicing. I’ve been struggling to come up every week with things to motivate her as we crawl along. But, she wants to get better at rhythm to help her with choir at school, so she was thrilled to do rhythm cups and even decided to make her Fall piano goal a rhythm goal to master a page of rhythms every week! Thank you. Lesson

    Then this morning, I introduced Rhythm menagerie to a kindergartner. The rhythm tracks were a hit, and a big motivator to practice this week so she can clap along with the “FAST” tracks next week at lessons. I think the Mom had the most fun out of the 3 of us just watching us!

    Forget about pupil savers, you’re creating teacher savers 🙂

  4. Beth Syverson

    I’m using your new First Rhythm Cups book for my college classes for students with intellectual disabilities. It’s just perfect for them. Thank you for creating it!  The new clear pages with just one line of music on it is much easier for them to deal with.

  5. Kate

    I’ve been using Rhythm Cups Explorations for a while, so I was looking forward to using My First Rhythm Cups when I bought it this summer. Overall I’m very pleased with it – nicely laid out, easy for small children to follow, they enjoy the words (thanks for the 2/4 Pumpkin sheet, much better than Bacon!) and the fun elements like ‘bonk’!

    At the moment I’m using it with 5 year olds, but I’ve been including an older sibling where possible (when they have lessons one after the other) so it’s often in pairs of 5 year old plus 8 year old – the older child gets some revision (and by the way seems to really enjoy First Rhythm Cups anyway!) and could help the younger one at home; and with me and the parent taking part too that gives us four people when it comes to tapping your neighbours cup! I’m plannng on asking the younger child to explain how it works to their parent!

    There are a few reasons it’s not 5 stars: each page is very short – best for 3 year olds, but disappointing for the 5 year olds I teach -there’s a pause each time while we re-start the music, and then it’s over in a flash – maybe a second optional page which repeats would be good?; 4 bar phrases would make more sense in my opinion (then 3 bars plus ‘bonk’); the food cards don’t seem to go down very well, they don’t make sense to the students (I’m in the UK, maybe that’s it?)

    All in all a great resource which I’m happy to ‘adapt’ slightly to fit my newbie 5 year olds 🙂

  6. Melissa Bethel

    I was able to use the My First Rhythm Cups with a preschool music class today. (We have a preschool at my church…and I used it with the oldest group: 4-5 year olds.)

    They had a lot of fun! Not only is it gonna help with their rhythm, but also knowing R & L! We did all of the watermelon pieces today. Planning to review those next week and venture on to — pineapples! 🙂

  7. Pamela Tehuiotoa

    I use My First Rhythm Cup Explorations with 1st and 2nd grades. They love it! My only issue is investing in solid plastic cups. My doubled-up disposables are doing OK, but I would love to have something that will last for a long, long time. The Watermelon Bonk! is a big hit. Haven’t gone past that yet, but will get into Pineapple next. Love this resource!

  8. Jennifer Parra

    I am using My First Rhythm Cup Explorations with my 3rd and 4th graders as a rhythm review and working together to make our sound seem as one player instead of popcorn popping. I did not print out the pictures that go with “Bonk”, just told the students that they are now a unicorn. Unicorns are a huge thing at my school right now. They love it.
    This is truly a resource that I will keep using, hopefully we can get to the book 1 soon.
    Thank you for creating this great resource.

  9. Megan Gilles

    I purchased My First Rhythm Cup Explorations this summer. I have used it with four students so far ages 5-9. It would be nice to have the repeat sign as an option earlier than it is introduced. The children are enjoying the different ways of creating the rhythms with their cups. The backing tracks are creative and fun to use. The nine year old is a beginner and has dyslexia so this has been a great help to her as she continues to develop her rhythms. The younger students enjoy the change from their lesson material. Good change of pace and they are excited to see what food will be introduced next. The webinar was a great intro on how to use it and a reminder to dig out my other rhythm cup programs that I have. Thank you for this fun resource for our youngest students.

  10. Susan Fortin

    I have been using Rhythm Cup Explorations for my piano studio with success, but after purchasing the MY FIRST Rhythm Cup Explorations for my kindergarten and preschool classes at my elementary school, I am finding success using both packages as part of my curriculum for grades PreK-5 so far. I seat students on floor in 3 rows of 10 and display on a smart board. Still trying to coordinate maneuvering the tracks with my smartboard easily, but the students have been engaged and tell me it’s a lot of fun. Thank you for the seminar last summer to jumpstart my ideas for the very young. I found sturdy cups at DOLLAR TREE – 3/$1.00 for the older students and smaller ones at 6/$1 for the preschool size. PERFECT!

  11. Toni

    I have used the Rhythm Cups Explorations with my students already, so I was excited to try My First Rhythm Cups Explorations with the six 5-year-old beginners I have this fall. Wow! Do they ever love it! We do it at the end of the lesson as a reward type activity, and they don’t even realize they are learning at the same time. Starting out with a closed fist was a great idea! I love the food words: Watermelon, Pineapple, Bacon, to teach 4, 3, and 2 meter. The kids especially like the “bonk” and “freeze” moves. But the best activity of all is using the food cards at the end of the book. Place them face down on the table and each time we “bonk” we say “WHAT?” and draw a card. Watermelon cupcakes? Watermelon pizza? Their favorite is Watermelon toothpaste! There are lots of giggles at the table and they love it. I also teach a Down Syndrome student and where I had adapted the original Rhythm Cups for her to tap only one line at a time, now she has a book that is just suited for her level. I cannot say enough about the quality of the music on the tracks. The kids say “This music is cool!” They begin to “dance” as they tap and we all sway to the beat. What a great teaching tool! I wish there were some pages perhaps at the end of each section where longer sections of music notation, and longer tracks were included. The kids don’t want the music to stop. I know this book took you a long time to create, Wendy, but we will be ready for My First Book 2 soon! Could we have a My First Jingle Bells perhaps? Thank you for creating a resource that is geared to the younger child and for special needs, too. Table, tap, friend, pass…..BONK!

  12. Peggy

    What fun for piano students nowadays! Gone are the boring, agonizing lessons that I grew up suffering through and now students can find out how much fun it is to PLAY music! I have used your Rhythm Cup books for a few years now and even had my college students (Piano 101 classes) doing the Cups in a music department recital at the end of the semester! They especially liked the patriotic and summer arrangements of familiar tunes. My private students have done one of your three holiday tunes for a recital and this year we will do a second. This Fall I have a large influx of youngsters from 4 and up who are having fun with the “My First Cups” book in our group lessons. The Cups are on alternating weeks with Boomwhackers so there is never a dull moment! We are planning on performing with both “instruments” (but separately!) for our pre-Halloween recital at a local nursing home…..yes, we will play piano, too!

    Thanks so much, Wendy, for your well-thought-out books at all levels. Hoping you expand to more holiday music….Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s, St. Pat’s, etc., and other popular tunes and folk songs!!

  13. Lynette McMechan

    I recently bought My First Rhythm Cup Explorations with the backing tracks and my students love them! I am using them in preschool classes as well as in individual lessons in my studio. It is working well for ALL my students from preschoolers to teens!

  14. Leah B

    My students ( ages 4 and 5 )absolutely love My First Rhythm Cup Explorations!!
    They have the best time following the directions especially freezing or bonking their heads with their cups at the end of the songs!! You truly make learning rhythms so fun!!! The accompaniments are fantastic too!! We also have thoroughly enjoyed using cups with “We Three Kings”. They can already play this perfectly and our program is not until Dec 2nd!! Your ideas and the products I have purchased have totally inspired my students!! They look so forward to this every week!! Definitely 5 stars!!!

  15. Jeanette A Krenzin

    I used the My First Rhythm Cup Book for my group lessons ages 6-8 plus my 5 year old granddaughter. She loved being included with the other kids and kept right up. It was fairly easy for the 8 year olds; but they liked it anyway and we will move on next group lesson. Judy Blauer and I plan to use the We Wish you a Merry Christmas piece with our audience and students at the Christmas Recital. I am sure it will be a hit.

  16. Joan Witte

    I have been using regular Rhythm Cup Explorations for a few years, and most of my students have loved it, but I have a few with dyslexia, autism, or other reading and learning difficulties who have struggled to follow the music or keep up with the beats. My First Rhythm Cup Explorations has been perfect for them! Even though they are not very young students, they have benefitted from larger print with less on each page and a slower tempo to the beats. They love the music and are often disappointed when we have to quit and go on to something else! They especially loved the food cards and wanted to keep using them even when it wasn’t part of the page!

  17. Katie Spjut

    Every winter we do a rhythm challenge. This year I used Rhythm Cups, My first rhythm cups, and rhythm menagerie to create level appropriate packets for each student based on their goals. One of my little guys saw your name on the mp3 and got so excited to know rhythm cups were from ‘his composer’ Wendy Stevens. The fact that I can get all my students to dust off the metronome and be excited about rhythm is priceless.

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