Using these rhythm cut-outs is a great hands-on way to teach rhythm. If students are confused about rhythm values, it could be that verbal explanations didn’t work. How many times have we thought students understood a concept only to discover later that they were really confused but didn’t want to tell you? I remember when I was a young piano student just nodding my head in agreement when I really had no idea what my teacher was talking about. I started parroting back her definition of time signatures because I was a good at memorizing. But I didn’t understand what I was saying and I didn’t want to admit I didn’t get it. I liked her and I wanted to make her happy!
One of the first and most important rhythm concepts students have understand is that a note with a dot is equal to three of the of the next shorter note. That is the key to understanding dotted half notes and dotted quarters. Theses rhythm shapes are great for that because they are proportional in size; so two eighths are the same size as one quarter.
Print this page on card stock and glue it to a sheet of thin craft foam before you cut them out. If you are crafty, even better is to glue the page to foam board (also called tag board), which will make them easier for students to move around but a lot hard to cut out!
I made this printable years ago, but today’s post is updated to make the notes easier to read. Plus, I fixed a note that was orientated wrong. So if you have the old file, you can replace it with this one.
Another way to explain fractions is to use my Rhythm Pizza printable. It is a very helpful first step to teaching rhythm values. Then to teach counting dotted notes, use this helpful visual, Rhythm in the Grid.
I know you can come up with many ideas for students to learn with these!
Rhythm Review 1-3
Rhythm Review Levels 4-6
I’ve mentioned before that a lot of the theory worksheets I post are for the Texas MTA theory exams. These exams are in twelve levels, one for each grade. The early grades are not hard and they are a great way for teachers to discover if their students are really remembering all the theory we teach in lessons. If you are in an area that offers theory exams, consider them!
Last year, after several years of hard work, the TMTA theory tests were revised. In my studio, that means I need to revise all my theory worksheets. It is a daunting challenge, but I’ve been slowly trying.
Today’s post contains rhythm questions for grades one through six and up to about level 4 in most method books. In the top left corner of each page, I numbered the tests with the TMTA level to keep them straight, but teachers can certainly use these sheets to reinforce rhythm concepts at any grade. You all know I love silly cartoons, but I tried really hard to make these pages friendly looking, and not cartoony. They use less ink than the originals, and they can be used with any age.
See any mistakes? Let me know!
The Grand Staff from G to F
In this worksheet, students write the name of the note inside each note. You can also have them draw lines to the corresponding piano keys if you have time. It can even be inserted into their binder as a handy guide.
Typically, piano students are taught the notes on the treble staff and the bass staff. But many times students don’t realize the logical continuity of the grand staff. We know the grand staff is more than two separate entities, one for right hand and one for left. However, there is just so much to teach in so little time that it is easy to have short cuts to learning concepts in order to get everything covered. If you have ever had students who need to see the overall picture of the grand staff, this little work sheet might help. It shows clearly how the music alphabet continues from bass to treble staff.
Elizabeth Gutierrez suggests using A C E to learn the grand staff. My students find A C E easier than some other ways. It also helps them to learn the inner ledger lines. So I have students circle all the ACE’s on the grand staff. There is no reason you can’t use guide notes, A C E or FACE, or Every Good Boy Does Fine, or whatever you find successful with a particular student.
Learning note names will not necessarily make students good sight readers. Different parts of the brain are used to identify notes than to actually sight-read notes at the piano. However, learning notes will help our students become overall better musicians. Learning note names can be difficult for some students, but we have to keep trying!
Here is a little tidbit for your students. The phrase GRAND STAFF starts with G and ends with F. How is that for a coincidence!
Lady Bug Game Board
LadyBug Game Cards
This is one of my favorite games. It’s fast and fun and I think it’s a good game to play this time of year. I’ve revised it and remade the keyboard cards.
- I suggest printing the colorful game board on photo paper and then laminating it so the colors really come to life. It can also be taken to an office shop. MTNA members, use Office Depot/Max and receive a big discount.
- Before you print the cards, decide which pages you want to use. Please don’t print all the pages at once because the last page is the optional backs.
- Print on card stock. They do not have to be laminated.
- There are 5 pages of cards.
- Pages 1-3 are notes on the staff.
- Page 4 has keyboard cards.
- Page 5 is the optional back of the cards. After printing the cards on pages 1-4, insert the pages back into your printer to print the back of the cards. Please see my FAQ for a tutorial on how to do this.
- This game can be played with students or teacher and student.
- Each player has a token.
- The cards are placed face down next to the game board.
- The first player draws a card and moves their token forward along the path to the closest letter that matches the note on their card.
- The next player draws and moves in the same way.
- The game is over when someone draws a card that takes them to the last G or any note after the last G at the end of the path.
- There are many games you can play with this game board. Use your own ideas and I hope you have fun!
- To learn the music alphabet.
- To learn to recognize notes on the grand staff or keys on a piano keyboard.
- To reinforce learning steps and skips.
- Early childhood and elementary ages.
Why I like this game
- It’s fast, under 3 minutes, students always like it.
- Children learn faster if they are having fun.
- It’s a great game for beginners to learn piano key names.
- The game is so fast, you can play more than once.