Counting Simplified!

“My students are struggling with counting. Especially understanding eighth notes. How can I help them?”

Short Answer: Simplify It!

No Really! Make it simple.

I made this change in my piano studio a few years ago….. And. It. Was. MIND-BLOWING!!!

My students’ rhythm improved, and they were able to figure out complicated “pop” music rhythms with ease.

The basic idea is to assign a word to the different types of notes.

We’ve all used this idea, right? But only temporarily. Then it’s back to the …1+ 2+ 3+ 4+ business.

The past little while I threw out all the numbers and used the WORD concept permanently.

I think it gives the kids something to associate specifically with the melody. Kind of like words to a song. Each word is a beat in the music. If the time signature is 3/4 then you’ll be saying 3 words, 4/4 would be 4 words… etc.

I got this song from one of my favorite websites for FREE SHEET MUSIC –  Check it out! {clicking here}

Any words will do but this example shows the words of the rhythm in the right hand. HOW SIMPLE! Plus, students will even learn the name of the notes they are playing.

Here is another example:

I got the sample sheet music from Purchase the whole song by {clicking here}

It’s fun to get creative and personal with the students:

  • Use SPORTS words – base -ball, bask-et-ball, shoot-the-ball, touch-down, etc.
  • Use SUPERHERO words – Spi-der-man, Sup- er-man, Thor, Won-der-Wo-man, etc.
  • Use FRUIT words – peach, ap-ple, straw-ber-ry, wat-er-mel-on, etc.

Here are some fun examples I found online. Click on the image to link to the source.

Music Notes

This one is hilarious! I tried to find the original source and couldn’t….DANG IT! This person deserves some recognition. My teenagers will love it!

Hope this idea helps your counting woes! Let me know if it works for you!



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