Rhythm Blocks

I have been wanting to make these for years, ever since I read about them in the book “A Galaxy of Games for the Music Class.” (A WONDERFUL resource, by the way!) They are great for showing the relationships between note values, rhythmic dictation, and are just a lot of fun in general. Here are the steps in making these blocks.

First, I bought 7 1/2 feet of 3/4 inch square pine. It was cut to the following lenghts:
8th note: 1 inch (cut 4)
Quarter note: 2″ (cut eight)
Dotted Quarter note: 3″ (cut 4)
Half Note: 4″ (cut 4)
Dotted Half Note: 6 inches (cut 4)
Whole Note: 8 inches (cut 2)

Next, I painted them. You wouldn’t need to do this, but I like the bright colors, and wanted easy identification of the different lengths of blocks.

Using a black sharpie marker, I drew notes and rests on each of the blocks. On the quarter note blocks, I drew a quarter note on 2 sides, a quarter rest on 1 side, and 2 eighth notes on the remaining side. The notes don’t show up well in the picture, but they do in real life.

Here are a few activities that can be done with these: (you may want 2 or more sets for group activities)

The teacher chants or plays a rhythmic pattern, and the student notates it with their blocks. This can also be done as a competition between 2 students or 2 teams.

The teacher gives a certain number of beats, such as 8. A student notates with the blocks the exact number of beats the teacher has called.

The teacher gives the student a set of parameters, such as 3 measures in 4/4 time. Student builds the set number of measures. This is fun for a group of students as well.

Another added bonus of these blocks – they are wonderful for entertaining little boys while their mommy updates her blog!