Practice dotted half notes, whole notes, and whole rests along with quarter notes and rests in 3/4 and 4/4 time signatures with the Unit 4 Time Lines rhythm exercises. If you haven’t already done so, read the Unit 4 Introduction: How to Play Dotted Half Notes, Whole Notes, and Whole Rests. Select a link below to play along with each video recording. The videos for the exercises include the written music and Time Lines Color Blocks that indicate the relative length of each note and rest. There is also an animated vertical line that moves across the screen to show you where each note and rest begins and ends.
Clap and count the exercises with a metronome or with these videos before playing them on your instrument. Practicing that way will ensure that you are feeling the beat, that you are also feeling every downbeat (beat 1 of each measure), and that you are playing the notes and rests the correct length.
Remember to clap and count each exercise before playing it. That will help you develop your sense of rhythm and tempo, and it will ensure that you play the notes and rests accurately. A reminder about clapping and counting - it is a great way to improve your rhythm skills, but it does have one shortcoming: when you clap your hands, the sound stops almost immediately after it is produced. Therefore, if you are clapping a whole note or a quarter note, they sound exactly the same. The sound of the clap cannot sustain for four beats.
However, clapping and counting rhythms is still extremely useful for feeling the beat, feeling where the downbeat is, knowing where you are in the measure at all times, and starting each note in the correct place. To simulate the length of longer notes, hold your hands together for the entire length of the note.
Once you have practiced and repeated these exercises accurately, visit the patterns and melodies pages for more examples to play:
Unit 4 Patterns: Dotted half note, whole note, and rest rhythm patterns in 3/4 and 4/4.
Unit 4 Melodies: Dotted half note, whole note, and rest melodies in 3/4 and 4/4.