Submitted by Rebecca Green and Margaret Rehder, Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools

Lesson Title:
Teaching Rhythm and Pitch Reading

Grade Level or Course:
Instrumental Music Grades 6-8 (Objectives are from Grade 6 SCS, can be adapted to Grades 7 or 8)

Time Allotment:
Per assignment: ten minutes

Targeted Goals and Objectives from the 2000 North Carolina Arts Education Standard Course
of Study and Grade Level Competencies, K - 12:

Music, Grade 6:

  • 5.01 Read whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth, and dotted note and rest durations in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8 and 2/2 meters.
  • 5.04 Identify standard notation symbols for pitch, rhythm, dynamics, tempo, articulation, and expression.
  • 5.05 Show respect for the reading and notating efforts of others.
  • 8.02 Describe ways in which the concepts and skills of other content areas taught in the school including English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies are related to those of music.

Targeted Goals and Objectives from the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and Grade
Level Competencies, K - 12
for other content areas:

Mathematics, Grade 6:

Use variables to describe numerical expressions and relationships;

English Language Arts, Grade 6:

Interact appropriately in group settings by: listening attentively, showing empathy, contributing relevant comments connecting personal experiences to content, monitoring own understanding of the discussion and seeking clarification as needed. Explore informational materials that are read, heard and/or viewed.


Alignment with NC High School Exit Exam:


2- use main ideas and supporting details to organize and communicate information.
4- listen carefully and thoughtfully to understand, record, and synthesize information.

Processing Information

9 - analyze information by comparing, contrasting, and summarizing to make informed decisions
11 - synthesize information from several sources to apply that information to a new situation.

Problem Solving

15 - plan logical steps and organize resources to accomplish a task within a given time frame.

Using Numbers and Data

22 - apply real number operation and relationships (e.g., absolute value, radical expression, exponents) to solve problems related to home, work, and the environment
26 - use relationships among fractions, decimals, and percents to demonstrate understanding of mathematical and scientific concepts


Lesson Objective(s):

Student will visually follow linear progression of musical notation and identify pitch and rhythm.

Materials/Equipment Needed:

Printed music (method book)


Lesson Procedure:

  1. Teacher explains quarter, half, dotted half, whole notes and rests. (This should be a review for all students who have had music K-5).
  2. System for notating pitches must be taught, specifically the pitches used in the assignment.
  3. Have students call out names, (A, B, C, etc.) in correct rhythm.


After establishing beat, when a student calls out any note longer than a quarter note, they add the words that go with the additional beats. For instance: F#, E, D, E, F#, F#, F#2, E, E, E2, etc.
After establishing the beat, sing the note names, accenting additional beats where appropriate. For instance, F#, E, D, E, F#, F#, F#, E, E, Eeee, etc..
Use any or all of the following variations until students demonstrate proficiency: clapping, pizzicato, air-bowing, silent fingering.


Written tests: matching, note identification - pitch and rhythm, short answer.
Performance task: Give blank manuscript paper to students and have them notate pitches and rhythm, or compose their own short melodies using combinations of pitches and rhythms given.

Special Considerations:

Can be adapted to general and choral music classes as well as instrumental. Can be adjusted easily to the learning abilities of the students.


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