Elementary Music Lesson Plan on Reading Note Values - River Beats Dance
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Elementary Music Lesson Plan on Reading Note Values

Learning to read music not only involves a note’s pitch, but also its length. A simple music lesson will help students read music notation in both respects.

One of the basics of music theory involves recognizing the pitch of each note at a glance and understanding musical scales. But the melody is meaningless without some knowledge of how long each note lasts. The experts from essaywriter.nyc say that to develop fluency in music notation, students must learn the difference between quavers, crotchets, and semiquavers, which all last different lengths in music.

But firstly, the students must understand the value of one beat, which is the fundamental measurement of musical time and will affect the pace of the time signature of a piece (how many beats there are in a bar).

What is a Semibreve?

Pitch is a fixed value, but the rhythm is not, and a beat may have a slightly different meaning for each student, or even occasion. A beat, when heard repeatedly as a pulse could be the intervals between the ticking of a clock or a slow clap or a flashing beacon.

The important thing is that a beat must be equal in length, or its value will be meaningless as a yardstick from which the other notes can be measured.

Music Theory Training on Rhythm

To develop a sense of tempo in music, students may listen to a metronome or similar device and clap in time with it. The teacher may then mute the sound for ten seconds whilst the students continue to clap. Development in rhythm at music lessons may be required if the clapping is no longer in time with the metronome when the sound is turned up.

Able students may be challenged further by continuing to clap over a longer period. Less able students may practice their rhythm skills over a shorter period until the clapping remains in time with the metronome.

How to Read Music Rhythm Notation

Once students understand the value of one beat and can keep time, the music teacher may introduce the students to how one beat is subdivided in music notation. One beat is represented by a musical note known as a semibreve. There are six simple rhythm values in music:

  • semibreve: one beat
  • minim: a half-beat
  • crotchet: a quarter of a beat
  • quaver: one-eighth of a beat
  • semiquaver: one-sixteenth of a beat
  • demisemiquaver: on thirty-second of a beat

A dotted note, which is a note with a dot after it, adds one-half of the note’s value. So a dot following a semibreve, means the note should last one and a half beats.

Music Exercise in Rhythm Development

A further challenge can be added by playing a series of notes of varying length, beginning with seven or eight notes and seeing if students can echo accurately the timing of each note. The teacher may then increase the number of notes as well as increase the variety of note lengths.

Crotchets and Quavers

To give meaning to how long each musical note lasts, the teacher may show students simple music theory notation, consisting of semibreves (one beat) and another musical symbol, such as a crotchet or minim. Forgetting pitch, students may clap or play a musical instrument to the time of the music rhythm notation. Assessing each student individually within a tutorial will enable the teacher to assess each student more accurately and devise exercises for development where necessary.

Learn Music Rhythm Notation

A fundamental part of reading music is an understanding of how long each note lasts in a melody. Students must demonstrate they know how long a beat or semibreve lasts (as well as express one beat consistently) before learning about the other notes. Fluency in rhythm notation as recognizing crotchets, semibreves, and quavers can then be measured against one beat. This will enable students to read rhythm notation as well as pitch in a piece of music.

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