How to Master Rhythm By Isolating It

master rhythmAre you having trouble reading and understanding certain rhythms in your music?

The most effective way for you to truly master rhythm is by isolating it.

Here’s how you do it:

1) Find a measure in your music with a rhythm you are having trouble with.

2) Isolate it by ignoring the actual notes on the staff.  Only pay attention to the rhythm itself.  If you can’t do this, then get a sheet a paper out and re-write the rhythm.

dotted quarter note eighth note

Now it’s time to problem solve!

[Read more…]

Reading Music Lesson #47: Dynamic Signs

reading music lessonHow loud or soft you play music is represented with dynamic signs.

These symbols appear as 1 or 2 letters combined together in your music.

Each sign represents a musical term in Italian.

Why Italian?

Some of the first composers to write these types of directions were from Italy.

What they first wrote down in manuscripts has been around for centuries.

Everyone basically adopted this as standard notation and we still use it today.

Here are some of our most common dynamics and their meanings: [Read more…]

Reading Music Lesson #46: Dotted Quarter Notes

reading music lessonYou know you’ve found a dotted quarter note when you see a quarter note with a dot beside it.

dotted quarter note

Just as you might suspect, the name itself describes exactly what it looks like.

Let’s Figure It Out

What we already know is that a quarter note receives 1 beat in the 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 time signatures.

quarter note value

Okay, so a dotted quarter note has to be worth at least 1 beat.  However, there is a dot included that must increase the value somehow.

In order to find out just how much, we need to review the dot rule. [Read more…]

How To Practice Your Music Flash Cards

music flash cardsIf you’re having trouble recognizing the notes on the staff, one way of learning them quicker is by using music flash cards.

Here’s what you do:

3 Good Ones In-A-Row For Flash Cards

1) Pick 3-5 cards you want to focus on first.

2) Start trying to name the notes on each card until you get 1 full “good” round with no mistakes.  Make sure you shuffle the cards in between each round. [Read more…]

Reading Music Lesson #42: 1st And 2nd Endings

reading music lessonAnother way repeat signs are found is with the use of 1st and 2nd endings.

This area usually has bracketed lines drawn over the top of the measures with a number “1” and a number “2” inside.

1st & 2nd Endings


Here’s What You Do

1) Start at the beginning and play or sing through the first ending until you hit the repeat sign.

2) Once you are at the repeat sign, go back to the beginning and replay or sing all of the material again until you run into the first ending.

3) Now, instead of taking the first ending, you are going to skip to the 2nd ending.

4) Go ahead and play or sing through the 2nd ending. [Read more…]

Reading Music Lesson #40: Slurs And Ties

reading music lessonSlurs and ties can be easily confused with each other since they look very similar.

So, what’s the difference?


A slur connects two or more different notes together using a curved line.


This means we are to play or sing the notes very smoothly (or legato) with no break in the sound.  There should be no silence in between the notes. [Read more…]