Student tend to have one area of musicianship that is more difficult for them. For some it is note reading and for other it is counting. Learning to keep a steady beat can be something of a challenge. It takes practice and patience. In the paragraphs below, we will look at different ways to check the student’s counting.
Counting. The dreaded exercise of making sure the notes fall on the correct beat. Counting starts in a very simple way of having 3 or 4 beats in each measure. A measure is the grouping of notes between the bar lines. We have whole beats of 1-2-3-4. Almost everyone can tap their foot in time to a song on the radio. You should be able to tap your foot in time to the student’s music. It might be very slow, but you should hear a steady beat. What if you don’t hear that beat?
a. Have the student break the piece into small sections. Work on each section of the piece until the entire piece is mastered.
b. Help the student identify the types of notes in the measures, Quarter Notes, Half Notes, Whole Note, or Eighth Note is appropriate.
c. Write in the beats to the music. Usually I will have written in the first few measures if not, have the student write in the number of beats each note receives.
d. Have the student say the beats or note values out loud while playing the section of music. When you can tap your foot to learned section, have the student move on to another section.