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Rhythm Menagerie

(32 customer reviews)

Rhythm Menagerie is the first book in an exciting, reproducible PDF series that features fun and intriguing activities to explore new rhythmic concepts rather than boring rhythm worksheets. Rhythm Menagerie is much more than just a set of your typical clapping exercises! Watch the video to learn more:

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Rhythm Menagerie is the first book in an exciting, reproducible PDF series that features fun and intriguing activities to explore new rhythmic concepts rather than boring rhythm worksheets. Rhythm Menagerie is much more than just a set of your typical clapping exercises! Each unit showcases a unique animal and often incorporates some of the fun antics of that animal in the student’s activities. Students will learn about the crazy looking Tarsier, the beautiful Wing-tipped Nightjar, the Jerboa Jumping Mouse, the Javan Flying Frog and much more!

Rhythm Menagerie is designed to take away distractions like note reading so that students can focus on learning new rhythms. This 96 page PDF resource is a comprehensive approach to teaching and practicing rhythm and can be used alongside any method and in both private lessons, groups, and in the classroom! The reproducible rhythm worksheets are designed to be musical rhythms that are fun and have a grooverather than just random exercises.

Each unit in Rhythm Menagerie contains:

  • 1 introductory page explaining and experimenting with the concept
  • 3 one line rhythm pages (progressing carefully in order of difficulty)
  • 3 two-handed rhythm pages (helping with coordination)
  • 3 “Fun with Sounds” pages
  • 1 amazingly beautiful certificate of completion!

What rhythm concepts are covered in Rhythm Menagerie?

  • Quarter notes
  • Half notes
  • Whole Notes
  • Rests and Ties
  • Eighth notes
  • Eighth rests
  • Dotted Quarter notes

What is a studio license and how can I use this?

This comes with a studio license which permits you to use and print the PDF book for any student you directly teach. So it’s like getting an unlimited supply of this book for a very low price!

What kind of updates are in the 2017 edition?

We want our students to practice rhythm as musically as possible, so the rhythms themselves need to be musical. We revised about  25-30% of the rhythms in Rhythm Menagerie in the 2017 edition (that’s what you get when you order any Menagerie product now). We also added track numbers to every single page so that you never get confused with what tracks go with what pages.

Don’t forget the Rhythm Menagerie Accompaniment Tracks and Progress Charts!

Rhythm Menagerie Accompaniment TracksDon’t forget the beautiful music accompaniments for the rhythms in Rhythm Menagerie or you will really miss out on an opportunity to get music and rhythm even deeper inside your students! You can get a discount when you order the Progress Charts with the Rhythm Menagerie Accompaniment Tracks. Watch a video and hear samples of the Accompaniment Tracks here!

Plus, you can get an even better discount when you purchase Menagerie + Accompaniment Tracks + these Stunning Progress Charts! Choose the option to get all 3 of these as a bundle in the drop down menu above the Add to Cart button!

New Rhythm Menagerie Resources - Rhythm Menagerie Progress Charts

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32 reviews for Rhythm Menagerie

  1. Diane Hidy

    I love these! Each set meets a need for fun and rhythm. Seriously. They’re great.

  2. Sheree Naquin

    This is really a huge learning tool and lots of fun! EVERY elementary school should have this as a precursor to their band programs.

  3. Theodora Carr

    I have had so much success with the Rhythm Menagerie. It is hard to believe how eager they are to count out loud, tap, clap etc. It has been fabulous.

  4. Janette Rupert

    Thank you so much for your years of work on “Rhythm Menagerie” and “Rhythm Manipulations”.  They have greatly enhanced my studio.  The students are really enjoying them.  Your creativity is amazing!

  5. Leia Sharma

    My students are having SUCH fun with Rhythm Menagerie!

  6. Susan Hong

    The book is so well designed in so many ways.  I used it with students as soon as I downloaded and they are having a lot of fun.  Especially high fiving and counting during one of the lessons. That brought a lot of laughs….

  7. W. H.

    I would be tearing my hair out if it wasn’t for Menagerie and Manipulations. They have made my life so much better. After 6 months, two of my rhythmically challenged transfer students are beginning to play rhythms correctly the first time.

    Secondly, all my younger students now count automatically under their breath. It is amazing. No reminders needed; it is just part of their playing. I am amazed! Another girl, who had a serious rhythm issue, just couldn’t feel a steady beat even when walking, has a good internal beat

  8. Elizabeth

    A must-have resource in my studio, Rhythm Menagerie has helped all students become more rhythmically accurate. Because pitch is removed, beginning students who are not yet reading on staff or are insecure on staff don’t have any limitations. I highly recommend the whole package!

  9. Valerie A

    I’ve been teaching piano for twenty five years now and never really enjoyed teaching rhythms until now. The students are engaged. They enjoy the variety and how the rhythms are actually musical. They aren’t some random set of quarters/half notes. In my studio we love the new Rhythm Menagerie and accompaniment tracks. My only question is when are you coming out with an updated Rhythm Explorations?


  10. Kimberly Baker

    Wow!!! I LOVE the new Rhythm Menagerie book, tracks, and stickers! I’ve been teaching for almost 15 years, and have used another rhythm book for that whole time, but I recognized that it lacked some things, particularly for pianists, like two-handed rhythms, but I hadn’t found anything else better than what I had. I’ve also thought for a few years that I’d love to create my own tracks for students to clap along with so it would sound like they were “in a real band.” So when I received Wendy’s email announcing the new and improved Rhythm Menagerie, I was SUPER excited!!! She did all the work I’ve only dreamed of doing! I have about 60 students, and when I introduced it to them, almost every single one of them smiled! I’ve never had that high of a percentage of smiles with anything else I’ve introduced to everyone! I decided to go ahead and start with Unit 1, even with intermediate and advanced students, just so they’d have the opportunity to clap along with the tracks…And who doesn’t need more rhythm practice???!!! The older students enjoy it because it’s not too hard.

    Some of the comments from my students, while not overly verbose, are indicative of their attitudes: “Cool! That was the awesomest! (referring to one of the tracks). Fun! That’s helpful! This is so much better than [the other rhythm book]!” No one single student has complained so far. There have been lots of smiles, and a few cute giggles of enjoyment! One student said, “Thanks for showing me!” One student was shaking her hips/dancing to the beat! Another said, “That’s going to be pretty cool, actually!”

    All of the students have thought the stickers are super cool! I wondered at first if some would be silly and would want to put them just anywhere on the sticker page, but so far, they’ve all wanted to fit their stickers perfectly into the picture on the page.

    Some students and parents have looked for the tracks or asked me where they could find the tracks. I guess they’ll just have to wait for lessons to do rhythm with the tracks! They’re worth every penny I spent! I love the variety of music styles in the tracks. To me, the Unit 1 Page 2 tracks sound like French jazz music… I told one student that that’s what I thought (before she clapped along), and she said, “I like jazz and I like French music.” 🙂 So cute! Parents have also been enthusiastic about this whole new system!

    Thanks a MILLION, Wendy, for taking all the time (I can’t imagine HOW MANY millions of hours it must have taken you!) and sharing your creativity with us!!! I’m hoping that your next project is to create tracks and stickers for Rhythm Manipulations!

  11. Wendy Stevens

    Hi Kimberly! Thank you for your lovely and very thorough review! I’m thrilled that you are having such success with Rhythm Menagerie!

    Parents are welcome to purchase the tracks for themselves from this page: https://composecreate.com/product/rhythm-menagerie-accompaniment-tracks Though the ComposeCreate site is designed for piano teachers, anyone is welcome to purchase! 🙂

    Thank you again for your lovely review, Kimberly. I so appreciate it!

  12. Anne-Sophie

    I love Rhythm Menagerie, and use it in my music lessons. All my students love that there are so many funny rhythms to train. It’s a pity I can only use parts of it and have to adapt it because the order rhythms are learned is very different here (we begin with 2/4 with quarter and eight notes). But it’s a source of inspiration for me and I use it very often.

  13. Nancy Rath

    I can’t believe the student’s response to Rhythm Menagerie and the reward stickers ! They are simply crazy about it.
    I’ve made individual folders for most of them and it’s the first thing they pull out of their music tote bag. “Can we do this first?” is
    what I hear every day. Their rhythms have improved steadily…gotten much “tighter” and more accurate. And they’re having an
    absolute blast…me, too. One of the young girls asked me to thank my friend who made Rhythm Menagerie just for her and tell
    Miss Wendy that she loves it so, so much !!

  14. Flora Lim

    What a treat to have the use of Rhythm Menagerie! I am a big admirer of Wendy Stevens’s work which is pedagogically sound as well as engaging for students, audiences and teacher alike. With Rhythm Menagerie, students get to progress through increasingly challenging rhythms, helping them to build a strong rhythmic basis for all of their music-making. And now that Wendy’s also created terrific accompaniment tracks for each of the rhythms in the book, students get to practice their rhythms in an even more musically-rich context so that they can better appreciate the importance of being able to keep a steady beat. Such a thoughtfully created rhythm curriculum combined with an attractive layout make this a winning combination. Rhythm Menagerie has become an essential part of my teaching curriculum for beginners and intermediate students.

    Even though some of my older students have already gone through many of the exercises, I will be revisiting them adding ball play, percussion instruments and body percussion to add even more variety and challenges. I imagine we’ll be using this book fo a long time to come. I haven’t used the reward stickers and progress charts yet but am excited knowing that I have them all printed up and ready to surprise my students. I know they’ll love them!

    P.S. I too am casting my vote for accompaniment tracks, reward stickers and progress charts for Rhythm Manipulations!!!

  15. Louise

    I can’t thank you enough for this fantastic resource. It has transformed rhythm teaching into an extremely entertaining highlight of the lesson which both children and adult learners look forward to. Their learning and appreciation of note values and the speed with which they perceive them has improved beyond all recognition.
    Thanks so much for all the effort you have put into this Wendy, and for any potential customer who is reading this and still deciding whether or not to buy, go for it, I would say it is worth every penny.

  16. Alyssa Holtom

    Thank you so much for your wonderful resource rhythm menagerie! I’ve been using it with my student for the last few months and many of my students have improved their rhythm 100%!!

  17. Kay Lowry

    I have been using RM for about five months, and I have noticed that it really helps my students’ sight reading abilities. They have learned to hold long notes for full duration – which is a pet peeve of mine! It’s also a flexible resource. I use it to open a private lesson or a group lesson. It is a fun way to get their brains into a “musical mode.” Thanks, Wendy!

  18. Angela Michael

    I highly recommend Rhythm Menagerie to my fellow teachers. I started my younger students a few months ago and their rhythm abilities have improved tremendously. I smile watching them move their entire bodies why clapping, tapping, hooting and what not. They’re extremely motivated to get the weekly sticker for their progress charts. Who knew a sticker would be such a motivator? They often ask to start their lessons with Rhythm Menagerie. Honestly, this was a bit of an experiment for me. I wasn’t sure if it would take too much time away from other lesson activities; instead, it’s helped me teach more efficiently since my students feel the beat and catch onto rhythms more easily in their music.

  19. Jeanne Kent

    I am sold on your rhythm products! I will go back and see if I can find a video of one of my students who had no understanding of steady beat. Now she is so good at it! Most of it is due to Rhythm Menagerie. She is in unit 6 and always masters the fastest track. I can’t say enough good things about Rhythm Menagerie! I have even started saying, “Do Rhythm Menagerie with your piece before playing it”. It works!

  20. Jonna Ledyaev

    I love the rhythm products from ComposeCreate! I’ve had the Rhythm Cup Explorations for a while, but just recently purchased Rhythm Menagerie and Rhythm Manipulations. My first student is my own daughter. She is determined to become a drummer… but I have not been overwhelmed by her sense of rhythm! I told her I would be open to drum lessons once she could do some basic rhythm exercises and learn some drumstick control. She actually manages the sticks reasonably well, but the rhythm practice was dull and quickly lost it’s excitement. Then I discovered these books! We have been at this for a while, so we are rolling through the early exercises quickly… but we are having a blast! Even the early stuff has been fun! She’s not too eager for the animal sounds, so we have adapted those into different sections on a drum set. Now she works through the exercises, but she is learning to do the rhythms with a combination of hands and feet… great preparation for the drums. With the soundtracks, she loves practicing. This is the most enjoyable and most effective rhythm course I’ve ever seen. Thank you!

  21. Lori

    This is a wonderful resource to solidify every student’s sense of rhythm! I’ve just begun using it after thinking about it for a long time. I don’t know why I waited so long. My students are loving it and I know it’s helping them. Even students who have NEVER counted out loud before are doing so with Rhythm Menagerie.

  22. Linda Gondo

    I love the Rhythm Menagerie so far! I haven’t had a chance to explore it properly yet, however an eleven year old student of mine was complaining of being tired after a long day, and was reluctant to do her usual pieces, and so I thought I would try Rhythm Menagerie. I use a large gymnastics mat for all of my off the piano activities, and this makes a nice satisfying sound when hit. We didn’t use the backing tracks as I hadn’t planned for this activity, however she really enjoyed it anyway, and liked being away from the piano. We only did it for ten minutes, however it was enough to refocus her.

    I was wondering though about using percussion instruments with Rhythm Menagerie. Are there any videos of students doing this with percussion? Any suggestions regarding instruments?
    Also, what is the youngest student you have done this with? I’m guessing you could do it at any age, just as long as they know their note values????
    All in all, a fabulous resource.Thank you.

  23. Wendy Stevens

    Hi Linda,

    So glad to know that you are enjoying and loving Rhythm Menagerie and your students are too!

    I don’t know of any videos of students doing Rhythm Menagerie with percussion, but I do think that’s a great idea for some of the activities. Also, the 2-handed pages are particularly good for things like drums or mallet instruments.

    Yes, you can do this with any age and I think you’ll find even very young students can do this!

    Thanks for leaving your review and thoughts!

  24. Kerri

    This is an amazing resource! Thank you, Wendy!

  25. Sandy

    Thanks for the Rhythm Menagerie. I used two rhythm patterns from it with my vacation bible school campers (6-9 years) and they enjoyed them immensely. We had to do it many times before it flowed smoothly but it went well. Every day of the camp children wanted to know when we were going to do the cup rhythms again. They thoroughly enjoyed this new way of playing rhythms. Thanks again. I would give it 5 stars. Be blessed.

  26. Katie S

    I watched the live webinar about My First Rhythm Cup Explorations, and was excited to get it 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 saved.

    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 🙂

  27. Teresa Hermiz

    I have the Rhythm Menagerie series and rhythm cups and have found them most helpful. I rarely give a lesson without doing the counting page and if it is perfect they get the next page to practice for the week. Students love them and of course the rhythm cups are great in group lessons.

  28. Sharon Halverson

    My students are loving Rhythm Menagerie. They are hearing the music while they clap, tap, knock . . and we can work at 3 different speed if necessary. For my kids this is a great practice help for alternating left and right hands, plus counting out loud. Thank you Wendy! We are enjoying making music in this way.

  29. Barbara Lange

    Every year I try something new in my studio. Rhythm Menagerie is the best ‘new thing’ I have ever done with my piano students! The kids are loving tapping, clapping, knocking, etc. with the amazing accompaniment you recorded! One student asked today very excitedly…”what are we going to do next?!?!

  30. Jeanne Kent

    Rhythm Menagerie is the greatest! I use it with almost all of my students.

    I have one student who had no concept of steady beat. None at all. I worked with her for a long time, trying everything I could think of and asking help from others. Still nothing.

    Rhythm Menagerie changed it all. She very diligently practices and every week she came back with 5 or 6 days of practice marked. There were some she struggled over and took home again for more practice but even with that she was the first one to finish the whole series. She now understands steady beat and can count and clap every rhythm in the book along with most anything she comes across in her music.

    Now we are on Rhythm Cup Explorations. I have made a chart to help me keep the skills of each book in line with difficulty and we are working steadily through. This child also struggles with physical coordination so tapping cups with the fastest track is not usually going to happen but as long as she is understanding the rhythm and able to tap it more slowly I am happy. 😊 We have gotten to eighth note syncopation and had the same page several weeks in a row working together on each line slowly and even writing counts in as needed. This week I realized that she just couldn’t keep up with even the slowest recording. So I had a brainstorm of an idea. We took the recording more slowly. Counted each click as an eighth note pulse and only counted one measure before we started. She tapped the rhythm perfectly! The speed of the track was the only problem.

    Rhythm Menagerie has been a lifesaver for my student and for me. All my students enjoy it and are good at rhythm. We even use “Rhythm Menagerie” practice where they tap the rhythm of their currently assigned music right on the notes, sometimes one hand at a time sometimes both counting out loud. That is often the first step of practice in their lesson notes. I use all of the rhythm products: Rhythm Menagerie, Rhythm Cup Explorations and Rhythm Cup Explorations 2 and Rhythm Manipulations. If anyone if wondering if they are worth the price, they definitely are.

  31. Wendy Stevens

    Hi Jeanne! Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to write about all that. I can’t tell you excited I am to hear about how this student has now developed not only a steady beat, but also good rhythm! That’s music to my ears and just what the goal is for this series.

    I’m glad you mention this item with the tracks. The slow, medium, and fast tracks are not intended to be a “practice” “practice” and then “performance” tempo. ANY of the tempos is fine to be the “performance” tempo. So, use whatever beat is comfortable for your students and consider it “complete” when they are accurate with the rhythm and feeling the beat. Kids are capable of different tempos at different AGES and maturity levels, so you can alway come back and do the faster tempos when they are older.

    Thanks again for your lovely review. So happy for you and your student!

  32. Clara

    My students love practicing rhythm menagerie and earning the cute stickers! The accompaniment tracks are cool and engaging. All my students have made progress with rhythm counting in just a short time with this amazing tool! Thank you Wendy!

  33. 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.

  34. Rachel Kuske

    I couldn’t teach without Rhythm Menagerie. Besides kids not practicing, lack of rhythm is the biggest problem, and you make it fun and doable.

    And the backing tracks are indispensable. Technically you could do it without the tracks, but they add so much. Besides being in different styles, they really do help kids understand that the steady beat and proper rhythm go hand in hand with real music. I love that the tracks are at different tempos and that the slower ones have the claps included as part of the track. It helps support the beginners and those that are not as confident, but for the fast track those added claps are taken away so it’s not a crutch. Well thought-out pedagogically. 😉 And as we go on in the book, other styles of clapping and tapping are added to keep it fresh, As I said, it was one of my best investments!

    One of my all-time best investments!”

  35. Amber Saldivar

    At Adjudications earlier this month, the adjudicator/visiting artist commented on how well all of my students seem to be doing with rhythm and feeling the beat. She asked me what was helping, and I told her your rhythm cup and rhythm menagerie curriculum! 🙂 I think it’s really made a difference, and it’s also a fun activity that gives kids a break from other “normal” piano lesson activities, to change it up and make lessons even more interesting.

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