Rhythm Practice Patterns

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Practice Suggestions for Learning How to Play Dotted Quarter Notes

The patterns in Lesson 5 introduce dotted quarter notes. Read the Lesson 5 Introduction to make sure that you fully understand how to play these note values.

Like the patterns in Lesson 4, these patterns require us to subdivide the beat. Just like the eighth note rhythms in that lesson, you should count each beat and every subdivision (“and”) of the beat while clapping. Count loudly and strongly!

When playing these examples on your instrument, make sure to play each long note for its full value. Count the rests carefully, too. These patterns are more difficult than the ones from the last lesson. Concentrate and repeat these patterns at a comfortable tempo until they become effortless and accurate.

Patterns 501 through 503 demonstrate how we can subdivide dotted quarter notes to play them the accurate length. In each pattern, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th measures will sound exactly the same because a dotted quarter note is equal to the length of three eighth notes tied together, and it is also equal to a quarter note tied to an eighth note. The notation used in the 2nd and 3rd measures of each pattern is very rare. It is much easier to read dotted quarter notes than to read three eighth notes that are tied together. The tied notes are used here simply to demonstrate the length of dotted quarter notes.

To feel the beat better, lightly tap your foot on every beat.

Like the patterns in Lesson 4, it is helpful to begin practicing these patterns with a duple subdivision metronome. When you are comfortable with the eighth notes, use a standard metronome that clicks once on each beat.

For more practice tips and suggestions, visit the Practice page.

Practice Pattern Table of ContentsPractice Pattern Table of Contents

IntroductionLesson 5 Introduction to dotted quarter notes

Practice Pattern Table of Contents Lesson 5 Practice Patterns Table of Contents



Get the Book

The Fundamentals of Rhythm, book by Kyle Coughlin

Fundamentals of Rhythm book

If you would like all of this information in book format so that you can put it on your music stand and practice it wherever you go, get The Fundamentals of Rhythm, by Kyle Coughlin. The book includes all of the lesson information and practice exercises found on the website.


Use MetronomeBot for a fun online metronome!

MetronomeBot, the talking online metronome

The online metronome that counts the beat, subdivides, and offers encouraging practice tips.

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