Rhythm in Music Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

Use this lesson plan to help students grasp the basics of rhythm and music notation. Group instruction will help students develop rhythm and syncopation, and a guided activity will allow students to apply the knowledge.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Recognize the basic symbols of music notation and the rhythm they represent
  • Perform the beat of most basic music compositions


1 hour

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.


Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.


  • Copies of sheet music to basic songs (e.g., nursery rhymes, college fight songs, or other well-known songs)
  • Metronome (optional)

Key Vocabulary

After this lesson, students should be able to define the following vocabulary terms:

  • whole note
  • rest
  • whole rest
  • half note
  • note head
  • stem
  • half rest
  • quarter note
  • quarter rest
  • flag
  • beam
  • eighth note
  • eighth rest
  • sixteenth note
  • sixteenth rest

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