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!
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.
I almost didn’t print this new game, not because it is embarrassingly simple since that has never stopped me before. No, the problem is that in the easy version, the player who goes first always wins. But then I remembered that the reason we play these games is to reinforce music theory in a hands-on way, not to learn a life lesson. 🙂
Besides, as I played it with my younger students, I didn’t tell them and they didn’t notice. If they did, it didn’t bother them because I always let them go first anyway.
When I played the harder version with my older students, we usually tied, and that is fine, too.
I also want to share how I made the printed dominoes strong and sturdy so they will last a long time.
So here is my version of Rhythm Dominoes, a simple way to reinforce or even teach, rhythmic values in 4/4 meter.
Page one is for early elementary and the second page is for late elementary.
White card stock
Two different colors of colored card stock
Glue Stick (I used Elmer’s Xtreme®)
Optional: Laminating film
Use sturdy card stock to print the page you plan to use.
Spread glue on the entire back of the printable. I used a liberal amount of glue stick. Do not leave any spots glue-free.
Carefully glue the printed page to a blank sheet of colored card stock.
Laminate the pages that are glued together and cut out the dominoes.
Repeat with the second level of the printed page, using a different color of card stock to help you keep the levels separate.
If you want to use this in group lessons, consider printing 2 pages of each level.
Mix up the dominoes and divide them between the players.
The youngest player goes first and places a double domino on the table.
The second player places a matching domino next to the domino on the table, connecting the two. Players may match with a note, number, or rhythm pattern.
Two numbers (inside the colored circles) cannot be matched together.
If a player doesn’t have a match, he/she skips a turn.
Continue taking turns placing dominoes on the table, snaking them around the table.
The first player to run out of dominoes is the winner. If neither player has a match, the player with the fewest remaining dominoes is the winner.
You can certainly make up your own rules to this game. Variations include passing out 5 dominoes to each player and putting the remainder in a pile to draw if the player does not have a match.
Students will learn to quickly identify rhythm patterns and notes of equal value in 4/4 meter.
Students will match rhythmic note values in 4/4 meter.
This is a remake of a very old game because I wanted to add a page of 6/8 rhythms and also update the art. This is a very fast activity with very simple instructions and good for older students.
There are 3 pages in this PDF. The cards have one beat missing in a measure and students have to identify the missing note.
Have you ever had an adult tell you they took music for years and never learned how to figure out rhythms? This happens not only to students who take performing classes such as band and choir, but also students in private lessons. Many times we think our students can count when actually they are just really good at learning rhythm by ear. This game will identify students who need some extra help.
To review 4/4 meter
To review 6/8 meter
To reinforce counting rhythm
Shamrock Rhythms game board, printed on card stock
Rhythm cards printed on perforated business card paper or card stock
Place the cards upside down near the game board. The student will draw a card and place it on the note or notes that are missing in the measure.
If a quarter note is missing from a measure in 4/4 time, students may put it on either 2 eights or the quarter note.
Use your phone clock and time the student.
Print more game boards and cards and use at a group lesson.