I was so excited this morning! I have a beginning student that was going to be introduced to quarter notes today. I got everything ready, and waited, and waited…but he didn’t show. I didn’t want to waste the preparation, so I enlisted my daughter to show everyone our incredibly fun and memorable “Introduction to Quarter Notes” lesson.
To begin with, I put a bit of tape on the back of 4 or more quarters and stick them to a white board. I explain to the students that every time we see a quarter, we will clap and say “ta.” I will often let the students use boomwhackers or other rhythm instruments for this activity.
Then, I magically change the quarters into quarter notes by adding stems. I make a big deal of turning the quarters into quarter notes. We then clap and ta the quarters again. I ask the student many times throughout the rest of the activity what kind of notes we are playing.
Next, I have the student take a quarter away. I erase the stem, and replace it with a quarter rest. We then clap the rhythm again, saying “sh” on the rests. We continue taking quarters away until we are left with only quarter rests. I ask them at every turn what kind of notes they are clapping. It’s not too hard for them to remember it is a quarter note or quarter rest!
Next, I tell the students that if music publishers actually put quarters into all of the books, not only would they be very heavy and cumbersome, but also SUPER expensive! To fix this, they just use black dots instead of actual quarters. I then draw quarter notes on the board, and we clap them just the same as before.
Finally, they have a test. They have to tell me which symbols are quarter notes, and which are quarter rests. They clap several rhythms all by themselves. If they are successful (which they all are after all of that) I dub them the Quarter Note King or Queen. I crown them with a Burger King hat, with a quarter or two taped to it.
The students are so excited to show their parents the honor they have earned, and they NEVER forget the name of a quarter note!