Candy Bar Rhythms

I am so sorry for the lack of updates recently.  Lots of other things have been taking my time, and new posts got put on the back burner for awhile. 

This is a fun rhythm activity that I made up for one of my school classes.  The children practiced clapping the rhythms together.  After they had mastered them, each student recieved their own candy bar rhythm sheets.  They cut apart the cards, and glued them in whatever order they wished on a large sheet of construction paper.  Students them performed their rhythms for each other.  They then got to choose a candy bar to eat after the performances.  I have a sneaky suspicion that was their favorite part of the lesson. 🙂

As an extension activity, students could turn add notes to their candy bar rhythms.  They could be assigned to do so in middle C posision, or in a particular pentascale or scale that they are working in.  Older students could then add chords to their melodies.  The possibilities are endless!

Candy Bar RhythmsCandy Bar Rhythms

Rhythm Cards in 3 Quarter Time

I have had a couple of requests now to do some rhythm cards in 3 quarter time.  I don’t really feel like folding my laundry, so I thought this was a great time to do them. 🙂  Most of the cards only use quarter, half, and dotted half notes, but I threw in a few with 8th notes as well. 

These will work great for one of Cecilly’s new games.  She gives her students several cards with both 3 and 4 beats to a measure.  (Click here for the 4-beat rhythm cards.)  The students seperate them and make a line of music in each time signature.  They can them clap the lines they have created.  It’s a great way to introduce time signatures!

Rhythm Cards in 3/4 Time

If you just want to print out what you need for Cecilly’s Game, then this may be the file for you.

Cecilly’s Rhythm TIme Match-Up Race

Halloween Games

There has been some great discussion on the Yahoo Piano Teachers list about games for Halloween.  Well, thinking up games is much more fun than completing the homework for the class I need to renew my teaching certificate, so here you are! 

The first game is Trick or Treat.  Print off the Pumpkin Rhythm Cards, and place in a Halloween candy bucket.  If the student picks a rhythm, it is a “trick” and they must clap it correctly.  If they draw out a pumpkin that is says “treat” they get to pick a treat from the candy stash.  If you want to, you can print the reverse side on the back of the pumpkin cards, making for games that are a bit more commercial-looking.  That way, when you cut them out there will be an image on the front and back of each card.  There is also a blank pumpkin page so you can customize the game.

Pumpkin Rhythm Cards

Pumpkin Cards – Blank

Pumpkin Cards – Reverse Side

The next game is Candy Corn Note Match. Cut apart all of the sections, and have the students match up the note on the staff, note on the keyboard, and letter name. This can be done individually or in groups, and can be competitive or not in nature. Once again, there is a blank Candy Corn page if you’d like to make your own game. I think it would be great for terms – the abbreviation, Italian word, and definition.

Candy Corn Note Match

 Candy Corn Blanks

Now, I’m going to finish writing about the Flores Consent order and Lau vs. Nichols. Really. No more procrastinating…at least for today! 😉

Real Rhythm Cards

I made wood Rhythm Blocks of various lenghts to represent the different note values, and thought some paper ones would be good to have as well.  So I made some, and they have been uselessly sitting on my computer.  Today Cecilly posted a great idea about how to use these rhythm cards on the Yahoo Piano Teachers list, and I thought it would be nice to take a minute and upload them.  I am going to mount my cards on lightweight cardboard from cereal boxes, then “laminate” them with 2 inch clear packaging tape for durability.  Hope you enjoy them!

Real Rhythm Cards Black and White

Real Rhythm Cards Color

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!

Dotted Quarter Rhythm Cards

I had a request for some rhythm cards with the dotted quarter/8th note combination that so many students seem to struggle with. Well, here you are! 15 new rhythm cards online, and me sitting here wondering why I didn’t think to do this rhythm combination earlier. 🙂

Rhythm Cards Set 5

Quarter Note Royalty

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!

16th Note Rhythm Cards

I had a request for Rhythm Cards that included 16th notes. Well, here you are! This set of cards includes 16th notes, as well as 16th,8th and dotted 8th combinations. There are 39 rhythm cards in all, and they are color-coded for easy sorting and reference. Enjoy!

Rhythm Cards Set 4 Rhythm Cards Set 4




Rhythm Flashcards

Rhythm FlashcardsI used rhythm cards like these just about every lesson when I taught elementary general music. I think they will come in handy for piano teachers as well. None of the cards are duplicated, so you will have a good stack of rhythms when you are done. To use less paper, print on the front and back of a heavy card stock.

I used these as just basic flashcards, where I held up a card and the students claped it or played the rhythm on a percussion instrument.  Once they were secure at reading the rhythms, I would show them the 1st card for 4 beats, then have them clap the rhythm as I show them the next flashcard. This takes a lot of focus, but the students loved it when they realized they could do it!

I also used these for Rhythm Tic-Tac-Toe, having students identify which of several rhythms was clapped, and all sorts of other games and activities.

Rhythm Flashcards Set 1
Set 1 includes Quarter Notes, Quarter Rests, and 8th Notes. These were my staple in Kindergarten and first grade classes.

Rhythm Flashcards Set 2
Set 2 is perfect for the Primer – Level 1 piano student. It contains quarter, half, dotted half and whole notes, and quarter, half, and whole rests.

Rhythm Flashcards Set 3
Set 3 has eighth, quarter, half, and dotted half notes, as well as quarter and half rests. Every card includes 8th notes.

Rhythm Cards Set 4 This set has 16 notes, as well as various 16th, 8th, and dotted 8th note combinations.

Rhythm Cards Set 5 This set has dotted quarter/8th note combinations.

Magic Potion Game

This was a game I found on the internet that I modified to work for piano lessons. You can do it for an individual, but as it takes a bit of prep work, it is probably best in a group setting.


First, hang 6 rhythms on the wall. They need to be different colors, so I hung them on some balloon pictures I already had.



Potion PrepNext, fill 6 glasses with water, and 2 with vinegar. Place a spoon next to each cup. On the 6 spoons next to a glass of water, put a drop or two of food coloring to make the following colors: red, yellow, blue, orange, green, and purple. On the 2 spoons next to the vinegar, put no food coloring. Heap baking soda on each spoon.


Now, have a student pick a spoon, and mix it in the glass beside it. If the water turns purple, they clap the purple rhythm, and so on for whatever color the water becomes.




Small Magic

If they mix one of the spoons with the vinegar, they have discovered the “Magic Potion.” They clap any rhythm, and the other students, or teacher if playing with one student, identifies which rhythm was clapped.



All Potions

Keep going until all of the “potions” are mixed.