As a younger student begins his or her journey into the world of reading music we must understand that it’s an entirely new world. It’s a new language with different meaning than the one we were taught to speak. Each note has a specific value, a duration of time, and for each subdivision we have rests that take the place of those notes. And let’s not forget about all the bells and whistles, time signatures, repeat signs, etc…
Over the past fourteen years I’ve been teaching I have had the pleasure to teach many different ages and skill levels. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t with certain students and with reading rhythmic notation there are ways to make it easier to retain. There isn’t just one way, or “The Way”.
Above I have sketched out different note phrases that you will see along your way ranging from quarter notes to sixteenth notes along with eighth rests, dotted eighth rests, and sixteenth note rests. The objective is of course to first have the proper understanding of each note value and it’s purpose then to speak it.
This chart is meant to help you retain the symbols as words just as the words that I’m typing have specific meaning and sounds. The best method is to go through each measure playing the given notation while visually and verbally memorizing it. Have fun!