Rhythms Chapter 2

This week, we are going to practice rhythm patterns that include all of the durations we have learned so far: whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, and eighth notes all mixed together.

Here is Rhythm Worksheet 2.

If you’re the kinda person who likes to start at the beginning, see Foundations and Twelve Named for an intro to rhythms and the first Rhythm Worksheet.

Happy learning,


“Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
sing praise to his name” – Psalm 135:3

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Note Reading Lesson 3

This week we will be learning the pitches in the treble clef C, D, and E.  Counting from the bottom up, C is on the 3rd space, D is on the 4th line, and E is on the 4th space of the treble clef. 

Here are 3 worksheets to help you memorize the location of C, D, and E on the treble clef.

Lesson 3 Worksheets



“Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
sing praise to his name” – Psalm 135:3

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“On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around [Jericho] seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city!  . . . When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed.” – Joshua 6:15-16,20

The number 7 is used throughout the bible to represent completion.  God created the earth in 7 days; Jericho fell in 7 days after 7 trips around the city; Hebrew slaves were to be freed after 7 years; and in Revelation, 7 angels delivered 7 plagues of God’s wrath to the earth, and then proclaimed, “It is done!” –  Rev. 16:17

The musical significance of seven is found in major and minor scales and keys. A major or minor scale is a series of 7 different notes played consecutively, and finish with an 8th note – the starting note an octave above.  For example, a G Major scale looks like this:    G  A  B  C  D  E  F#  G

The notes in a scale are at fixed intervals apart from each other to create the major or minor tonality (tonality = the relationship of the notes in a scale).

[note: chromatic scales among others are a whole different ball game.  We’ll address those later.]

A key is defined by a starting note, called the tonic, and consists of the notes in a scale beginning with the tonic.  Within a key, one note (the tonic) is more important than the other notes.  Consider the key of C.  Try playing the first 7 notes of the scale without playing a C at the top : C  D  E  F  G  A  B.  Do you feel that you really want to hear that final C played?  The scale gravitates you toward the tonic, thus defining a key.  There are 12 keys in all, one beginning on each of the 12 notes.

The Bible makes over 500 references to the number 7.  Here are just a few:

  • Genesis 2:2-3
  • Genesis 29:18
  • Genesis 41:29-30
  • Exodus 13:6
  • Exodus 21:2
  • Exodus 22:30
  • Exodus 23:11-12
  • Deuteronomy 15:1
  • Joshua 6:15-16,20
  • Daniel 9:24-26
  • Mark 8:20
  • Luke 17:4
  • Acts 6:3
  • Hebrews 11:30
  • Revelation 1:4
  • Revelation 1:20
  • Revelation 5:5
  • Revelation 11:13
  • Revelation 16:1

Note reading and rhythm lessons are coming soon.  Enjoy playing around with scales this week.


“Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
sing praise to his name” – Psalm 135:3

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Lesson 2 Quiz

If you have been practicing note reading, here is the Lesson 2 Note Reading Quiz.  Test yourself to see what you’ve learned. Print out this page and complete the quiz in 2 minutes.

Lesson 2 Quiz

Best of Luck!


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The Twelve Named

“There were twelve stones according to the names of the sons of Israel; according to their names, engraved like a signet, each one with its own name according to the twelve tribes.” -Exodus 39:14

Just as the twelve tribes have names, each of our twelve notes have names.

The names of the 12 distinct pitches are displayed here on piano keys:

The names of the notes on their respective guitar strings are shown here:

(Shown are the first 5 frets, mirrored for convenience.  If you prefer a diagram from the perspective of looking down at the guitar, click here: Layflat Fretboard.   Let me know: which one is more helpful? To see a map of the whole guitar, click here: Full Fretboard Map )

To help with your music reading skills, it is best to be really familiar with you instrument.  Strive to know how to play any single note on demand.  This may be most difficult for guitar players – as you can see in the two images above, the guitar map is so much more complicated, and has no “black key landmarks”.  Quiz yourself on being able to play single notes on demand, or ask friends or family members to just yell out letters A – G randomly while you practice.


We learned last week that pitch is the frequency of the audible sound wave, and that pitch is represented by the vertical placement on a 5-lined staff.  Today we will see what the ranges of each instrument look like on the grand staff of printed music.  The grand staff is simply the treble clef:

and the bass clef:

Stitched together to make the grand staff:

The guitar range on the grand staff looks like this:

*in standard tuning on a standard 6-string guitar- longer necked guitars may play higher.

The piano range on the grand staff looks like this:

Our note reading turns to the bass clef this week.  We will be learning B, C and D in the bass clef.

Here are your practice worksheets:

Lesson 2 Worksheets


This week, we will be practicing on our instruments the durations we learned last week.  Here are the 4 durations we will use:

Tap out these rhythms on your instrument, or any percussion instrument of your choice.  Feel free to use chimes, drums, pots, pans (with Mom’s permission), sticks, pencils, or pretty much anything that makes noise.  Practice each line by itself as a separate exercise.  For a challenge, try the playing whole thing through as one piece.  I recommend that you tap out four beats before you start practicing each line to set the tempo.

Printable Rhythms Page

Here is one of the sample rhythm lines:

Thank you all for reading this week.  Please email me or comment with any questions.

Enjoy the music,


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First Note-Reading Quiz

If you have been practicing note reading, here is your first quiz.

Lesson 1 Quiz

Best of luck!


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“The Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…it had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel…the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

-Revelation 21:10,12,14

The bible is rich with numerical symbolism, and possibly the most prevalent number used is twelve.  This verse from Revelation conveys elements of the past – 12 tribes of Israel; present – 12 apostles of Jesus; and future – the construction of the new Jerusalem.

The musical significance of twelve is the twelve distinct pitches used in Western music. On the piano, a pattern of 12 keys repeats to form octaves.  As many of you guitar players know, if you move your hand position up 12 frets, you will be playing the same chord.

The pattern of 12 repeating keys on a piano:

Each of these 12 notes are spaced equally apart from each other, and the name of the interval, or pitch distance between each successive note is called a half-step. These 12 different pitches are the most basic building blocks of music.

You may find other references to twelve in these and many other parts of the bible:

Gen. 42:13     
Gen. 49:28
Exodus 39:14
Numb. 7:87
Numb. 33:9
Josh 4:20
Mark 3:14-15
Mark 6:43
Luke 3:42
Acts 19:7
Rev 7:5-8
Rev 22:2


Music can be learned in a few different ways: by ear, by reading chord charts, or by reading sheet music.  You are most likely more familiar with the first two ways, so let’s begin with sheet music.  Standard music notation (found on sheet music) conveys three elements: pitch, duration, and volume.

Pitch is the frequency of the audible sound wave.  Pitches are named by letters A-G, and may be sharp (e.g. G#), which is higher in pitch, natural (e.g G), or flat (e.g. Gb) which is lower in pitch. On a standard piano, the first pitch on the far left is a very low A, followed by the black key Bb, the white key C, the black key C#, the white key D, and so forth, becoming progressively higher in pitch as you move to the right.  On a stringed instrument like the guitar or bass, the shorter and/or thinner the string, the higher the pitch.  The pitches on guitars become higher as you move along the fret board getting closer to the body of the guitar.

Pitch is displayed in music notation by a note’s vertical location on a 5-lined staff, like this: 

The lowest C displayed here corresponds with the 10th white key from the left on a piano.  The lowest E displayed here corresponds with the lowest string on a standard-tuned guitar.  Note that the pitch names on the top staff, indicated by the treble clef (𝄞), are different than those on the bottom staff, the bass clef (𝄢). We will refer back to this graphic many times, as the ability to instinctively know the letter names of each note when you see it is key to reading music.  To help simplify your memorization of these notes, we will work in groups of three pitches at a time.  Here are the first notes we will learn:

To help you learn and memorize these pitches on the staff, I have attached three worksheets and directions on how to use them.  In a few days I’ll post a quiz to help you test your progress.

Lesson 1 Worksheets


Now that we have a better idea of what note to play, our next pursuit is to figure out how long to play it.  Music notation also tells you the important character of duration.  Duration is conveyed by the shape of the note, and not by its location on the staff.  In common time (also known as 4/4 time), there are 4 beats in a measure. Therefore, in common time, use a whole note (which counts as 4 beats) to fill a whole measure with one note:

Split a whole note in half, and you get two half notes, each counting as 2 beats:

Divide the notes yet again, and you get 4 quarter notes, each counting as 1 beat:

Finally, divide each quarter note, and subsequently each beat, in half to make eighth notes, which each count as half a beat:

Here is a picture to help you visualize how the different durations relate to one another:

These distinct durations combine together to make rhythms.  In future lessons, we will cover some simple rhythm combinations and how to calculate the way they sound.  Once we have an understanding of how to “work out” simple rhythms, complex rhythms will come much easier.

Thanks for reading this week!  I know this was kind of a lot to throw at you, I promise to make shorter posts in the future.  Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions at all, I would love to help.




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