Introducing The Quarter Rest

Rests on printed scores are often ignored – especially by beginning piano students. I have my own ideas about the reasons why. At the top of this list is the fact that in today’s fast paced society silence is so rare that it has become a foreign concept to many. For others it is something to be feared and avoided at all costs! Musicians, however, know the value of a well placed rest. The well placed rest can convey a range of emotions and create magical moments in the music.

Here’s a quick way I introduced the quarter rest with my beginners last week.

Starting from a familiar place – quarter notes drawn on foam flash cards. (You can purchase foam paper at the dollar store or a local craft store.) The student can play or stomp the rhythm. Younger kids may even like to do the Dinosaur Stomp!

Here comes the quarter rest silencing the last beat!

What happens to the sound if the quarter rest moves to a different spot?

Finally, what happens if we get rid of the quarter rest?

App of the Week: Beat Sneak Bandit

Thanks to one of the teachers in the Music Teacher’s Group on Facebook, I learned about this great music game! Wonderful for working on rhythm without even realizing it! Available on iTunes. I used it with my rising 6th graders in Music Camp this week (all boys) and they loved it!!!

Rhythm Toss Game

 Summer is a great time to play even more games in the music studio. If you teach piano during the summer, you know that the absence of a set daily routine such as the one kids have during the school year makes it a little more difficult for them to focus during lessons. That doesn’t mean that the music learning has to suffer! This Rhythm Toss game is perfect to get them up and moving in the name of music!

What You Need:

A toss set (I purchased mine from Oriental Trading Company. You can also find these at Party stores)

Numbers that can be taped to the toss set to represent beats. (1,2,3,4)

Candy or other trinket for prizes.

Cutout notes: Quarter notes, whole notes, half notes, quarter rests

To play the game:

Have the student toss a bean bag into one of the holes. If they make it into the hole, they must “pay” for the prize inside the hole using the appropriate notes or rests to match the number of beats indicated. Students may use any combination of notes as long as it equals the desired number of beats.