Key Stage 3 Learning Zone - Get Going Reading Music

                      Lots of people think that there is something difficult or magic about reading and writing music on a page. Of course, some things are more difficult than others,

but the language of Music is not really any harder than a foreign language or the language of Maths or Science.

If you were teaching someone English, you wouldnít start with something like     


                              ďThe role of the Philosopher in the latter part of the twentieth century centred on the juxtaposition of the empirical and the existential,Ē


you would               you'd start with something simpler and more useful.


                              Starting to learn to read music has lot in common with Maths. It is made up of different length notes which fit together like this:



Semibreves                                                              last four beats


  Minims                                                     last two beats




Crotchets                                                        last one beat

(Americans call them WHOLE notes)




Quavers              last half a beat

                    ( Americans call them HALF notes)

                                 Semiquavers                    last 1/4 of a beat (quarter notes, or sixteenths)




The b                  The biggest note was a Breve, II0II, that lasted eight beats, unsurprisingly they donít get much use these days. There are shorter ones too, but these are the main



Now HANG ON !!!!!!! I know this is getting complicated, itís time to get your foot out. Yeah, your foot. On your leg.

Tap your foot over and over and count to yourself like this:


1          2          3          4          :           1          2          3          4          :           1          2          3          4


(I know you feel daft, but stick with it because this bitís brilliant)


Musicians call these beats of your foot CROTCHETS. They are the basic building blocks of Music. (Now donít tell me that was hard!)


OK, so youíve sorted crotchets Ė here come quavers. For this you need your hand and that nifty footwork you just did.

Tap your foot again. Now tap your hand twice as fast (and twice as many)Like this:


Hand: 1  &  2  &  3  &  4  &  :  1  &  2  &  3  &  4  &  :  1  &  2  &  3  &  4  &  :  1  &  2  &  3  & 4 &


Foot:   1      2       3        4       :  1       2       3        4         1       2      3         4      :   1       2       3      4     


Congratulations, youíve just played your first load of quavers. Easy, huh?


Now itís time to go for the burn. Here come SEMIQUAVERS.


Tap your foot with that excellent skill that youíve just been using. This time, youíll need BOTH HANDS, because you need to play

FOUR bangs on the table for every ONE tap of your foot.Like this:


Hand: 1e&a2e&a3e&a4e&a : 1e&a2e&a3e&a4e&a : 1e&a2e&a3e&a4e&a : 1e&a2e&a3e&a4e&a :


Foot:   1     2       3       4        :  1      2       3      4        : 1      2       3       4        : 1      2       3       4


OK now youíve sorted that lot out, can you work out how these rhythms go?


                                                                                                                        Tell me the answer!

                                                                                                                                                Tell me the answer!

                                                                                                                                                Tell me the answer!

                                                                                                          Tell me the answer!

                                                                                                         Tell me the answer!

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