Welcome to Learning Rhythms

- - - The Beat Bar MethodTM - - -

(Bridging the gap from rhythms to notes and back again)

This site is about teaching and learning
Musical Rhythms.

Dear Music Educator and Student:

If you or your students struggle to figure out rhythms from written notes and rests, I’d like to offer a simple learning tool that I developed when I started teaching music. I call it the "Beat Bar Method". This method is fully explained in my book Learning Rhythms. In the book I provide explanations, examples, and numerous progressive exercises that will help you or your students master basic rhythmic patterns.

Here is the background.

For years I observed music students struggling to learn basic rhythms through the Western notation system. When I started to teach music, I created a simple intermediate system for rhythmic learning to help my students bridge the gap between the notes they saw and the musical rhythms they were trying to create. I call this approach the "Beat Bar Method". Ideally, the "Beat Bar Method" should be employed before the students are introduced to notes and rests so they can master basic rhythmic patterns before being confronted with (and often confused by) notes and rests. However, since this is usually not possible, the Beat Bar Method is best used in conjunction with conventional music instruction.

The Beat Bar Method uses rhythmic symbols to provide a framework for understanding and mastering musical rhythms. Once the rhythms are mastered, notes and rests are superimposed over the Beat Bar symbols. This method enhances comprehension of basic rhythmic patterns, including triplets, quintuplets, and sextuplets. Additionally, it speeds understanding of rhythmic expression when notes of different values are used to represent one beat. Once this foundation is laid, you or your students can reverse the process and produce rhythmic expression from the notes.

If you are already familiar with music notation, the Beat Bar Method is an excellent tool for strengthening comprehension of rhythmic patterns.

Click on the "Who Can Benefit", "What is Covered", "Sample Text ", "Sample Exercises", and "To the Teacher" navigation links to learn more about Learning Rhythms.

Learning Rhythms is available in e-book format for $5.00. Contact me by email to place an order. [Note: I can also provide soft cover editions upon request. Please contact me regarding price and availability.]

Music Educators can evaluate Learning Rhythms free of charge. Please click on Music Educator Book Evaluation in the navigation bar for more information.

Click View of Book Cover to see the Learning Rhythms book cover.

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Ordering, Payment & Shipping Options


E-books are $5.00. There are no shipping fees and presently no tax. There are no refunds for e-book orders (see below).

Soft-covered books are no longer stocked. Please email if you would like to special order this item and I will provide price and shipping information.


Please contact me by email if you want to place an order for either an e-book or soft-cover book (stns@comcast.net). You can make payment through PayPal or by sending a check or money order to Learning Rhythms, P.O. Box 688, McHenry, IL 60051.
If you choose to pay by check or money order please include --
(1) your name
(2) email address (to send e-book edition or should I need to contact you concerning a problem with your order) and
(3) delivery address (if ordering a soft-cover edition)

(Note: If payment is by check, orders will not be filled until the check clears the bank.)

Information about the e-Book Format

The e-book version of Learning Rhythms is in PDF (Portable Document Format). You will
need a PDF file reader on your computer, such as Adobe Acrobat or Nuance PDF Reader, to view and print pages from this e-book. If you do not have a PDF file reader on your computer you can download Adobe Acrobat for free from the following web site http://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/. (Note: Please bookmark this Learning Rhythms page so you can easily return to it after downloading Acrobat Reader.)

I will email you a copy of the e-book version of Learning Rhythms upon receipt of your
order and payment.

E-Books are not refundable. See “Ordering, Shipping, Canceling, Returning”.

Information about the Soft Cover Format

The paper copy version of Learning Rhythms is a soft-covered book with a comb binding so that it can be opened flat for ease when doing the workbook exercises.

Information about using Paypal

If you choose to make a payment using PayPal, click on the “Make a PayPal Payment” button. (This is temporarily out of service. Please email me and send PayPal payment to the email address: stns@comcast.net) You will be automatically transferred to the PayPal website where you can make your payment. I you are not already signed up to use PayPal, you will be able to do so at this time. I have no access to your financial information if you use PayPal. Once you have made payment, please email me to let me know that you have made a payment so I can fill your order. I do not receive automatic payment notifications from PayPal.

Paypal is an independent funds exchange company. To use PayPal you must register with them. There is no cost to you, as a purchaser, to register or make payments. If you are not currently registered with PayPal you can do so by completing the application on the PayPal web site (as mentioned above). Registration requires that you connect your PayPal account with your bank account and with a credit card. The address that you give to PayPal during registration must match the address to which your credit card company sends your monthly statements. Once PayPal verifies that the addresses match they will provide you with “Confirmed Address” status. When you make a PayPal payment, PayPal will notify me that a payment has been received and whether or not the address is confirmed. If your address is not confirmed, I will contact you and request that you establish a confirmed address or withdraw the payment and cancel the order. I will only ship to “Confirmed” PayPal addresses on account of insurance restrictions.

Information about Checks and Money Orders

I will accept checks and money orders but please expect delays due to slow mail and the time required to cash the check or money order. Items will be emailed or shipped upon verification from my bank that the payment has cleared.


Please contact me by email regarding special order soft cover editions and shipping.

Music Educator Book Evaluation

If you are a music educator and would like to evaluate this book to determine how it
can be best added to your teaching curriculum, I would like to offer you a special
evaluation edition of the e-book version of Learning Rhythms free of charge.

To qualify for this offer, please email me the following information so I can verify
your music educator status. My email address is stns@comcast.net. Please
cut and paste the following six information prompters into your response and provide
your answers after each prompter. This will help me review your information.

1. Name

2. Email address (phone number optional)

3. School, institution, religious organization, business (i.e. music store), or other
private or public instructional organization where you provide music instruction or
music related activities. If you are a private music teacher please so state and indicate
your affiliation with any guild, teachers association, or professional music society.

4. Approximate number of music students you instruct or for whom you have

5. Professional Status – (place an “X” after all that apply)
Music Professor
Music Instructor (class room)
Music Conductor or Director
Private Music Teacher
Music Curriculum Developer
Music Program Administrator
Music Store Owner
Other (please specify)

6. Primary Area of Music Instruction - (place an “X” after all that apply)
Individual Instrument
Other Keyboard
Individual Voice
Other (please specify)

I would be interested in learning about common problems you experience in teaching
students musical rhythms. If you care to share these with me, please add your
comments to the email.

After you have completed your evaluation, I would appreciate hearing from you. I
would like to know if you think the material in the book is helpful or not helpful in
solving your instructional problems. I would also be interested in hearing your
suggestions for improving the book so that it might better assist you in teaching your

Thank you for your interest in Learning Rhythms.

Who Can Benefit from the Beat Bar Method

All music students and musicians need a strong foundation in rhythmic expression whether their interests lie in vocal (solo, choral, madrigal), instrumental (solo, band, orchestra, or ensemble), keyboard (piano, organ, keyboard, synthesizer), or composition. The Beat Bar Method can be a useful tool in all of these venues and can be applied through individual study, private lessons, home schooling, or in a classroom setting.

Beginning Music Students

The Beat Bar Method provides a great starting place for teaching rhythms to all beginning music students. It provides an explanation of time and shows how time relates to musical beats. Beginning students first learn by listening and copying. From there they can progress to “drawing” beats by using beat bars. This is their first lesson in writing their own music. In time they will progress to using notes and rests.

Intermediate Music Students

The Beat Bar Method provides an excellent remedial tool for intermediate music students who may already have an understanding of musical time and a basic understanding of notes, rests, and other musical notation. Often these students are still confused about the relationship of notes and rest to the underlying beat of the music. This is especially true when varying notes are used to represent a beat. The Beat Bar Method will help to clarify this “note-beat” relationship in their minds and provide practical exercises that will allow them to gain confidence in reading and writing rhythms using notes and rests.

Advanced Music Students and Seasoned Musicians

Advanced music students and seasoned musicians are beyond the need for an intermediate learning tool for understanding rhythms. Even so, the Beat Bar Method can be a valuable tool in helping experienced musicians decipher complicated rhythmic patterns.

Users of Music Authoring and Sequencing Software

The Beat Bar Method can provide an introduction and a sound foundation to the linear approach of musical expression that is more fully employed in the sequencing and mixing functions of numerous studio software programs. As studio programs become easier to use, and thus more popular, larger numbers of musicians will realize the benefit of having developed linear musical concepts at the beginning of their instruction through the use of the Beat Bar Method.

What is Covered


Here is a complete list of the topics and exercises presented in the book. Learning Rhythms.



Topic 1 - TIME, page 1

Topic 2 - BEATS, page 2




Topic 6 - IMPORTANT BEATS, page 5

Topic 7 - BEAT GROUPS, page 5

Topic 8 - BEAT NAMES, page 6

Topic 9 - COUNTING TIME, page 7


Topic 10 - DIVIDING BEATS, page 8

Topic 11 - RHYTHM, page 10


Topic 13 - NAMES OF BEAT DIVISIONS, page 10


Topic 14 - THE TIME SIGNATURE, page 14


Topic 15 - MUSICAL NOTES AND RESTS, page 17

Topic 16 - WHY WE USE NOTES AND RESTS, page 23




Topic 19 - TIED NOTES, page 45



Topic 21 - SYNCOPATION ACCENTS, page 52

Topic 22 - SWING (JAZZ) RHYTHMS, page 59



EXERCISES 11 – 20 DIVIDED BEAT BARS / NOTES AND RESTS (Comprehensive Note Exercises)

EXERCISES 21 – 40 DIVIDED BEAT BARS / NOTES AND RESTS (Comprehensive Note Exercises)

EXERCISES 41 – 50 DIVIDED BEAT BARS / NOTES AND RESTS (Comprehensive Note Exercises)

EXERCISES 51 – 70 NOTES AND RESTS (Comparative Notation Exercises Using Notes)

EXERCISES 71 – 90 NOTES AND RESTS (Comparative Notation Exercises Using Rests)




EXERCISES 107 – 119 NOTES AND RESTS (Comprehensive Rest Exercises)



Total length of the book is 258 pages.

Sample Topics

Click Sample Topics to see examples of the topics covered in the text portion of the book.

(Note: Clicking the Sample Topics link will open the sample topics page. Once open, click the browser "back arrow" on the top left side of the Sample Topic's page to return to this page.)

Sample Exercises

Click Sample Exercises to see examples of the exercises presented in the book.

(Note: Sample Exercises will open in a page. Once open, click the browser "back arrow" on the upper left side of the Sample Exercise's page to return to this page.)

To The Teacher (excerpt)

Music is made up of various sounds, which are more or less pleasing to the ear, and which are generally grounded in an underlying rhythmic foundation. Musical beats and rhythms do not exist without sound or motion moving through time.

From earliest times musicians have had a desire to remember and reproduce their compositions. They have also had the desire to sing or play compositions created by other musicians. As a result, a system of written musical notation (notes, rests, and accompanying markings and symbols) was developed. The traditional system of notation used in the Western world has been developed over the centuries to represent the rhythmic, melodic and harmonic aspects of music. This musical notation system adds the element of sight to the musical equation. However, music notation, which is visually static, and rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic expression, which is audible and sometimes shown as a dynamic visual (hearing sound and seeing movement through time), are two separate and distinct systems. Music notation is superimposed on rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic expression, as a glove over the hand. Thus, the person who understands the relationship of these two systems can produce music from the notation. But to a student who, at the beginning of his or her music education, does not yet grasp this “hand-in-glove” relationship, the concept can be eluding.

As soon as I started teaching music I became aware of this problem. While some students grasped this relationship very quickly, others did not. To bridge the gap between traditional music notation and audible rhythmic expression, I created simple pictorial images to represent beats. My desire in doing this was to develop a dynamic visual representation of rhythmic expression. Symbols expand and contract to represent the amount of time they occupy. This helped my students understand the relationship between rhythmic beats and the unchanging standards of time; the second and the minute. When I had my students use these images as an intermediate visual aid to learning, I found that their ability to grasp the concept of beats and rhythm was greatly enhanced. Once this concept was thoroughly grasped, my students began to superimpose the traditional notation system over the dynamic visual representations that I created. In time, the students progressed beyond their need to rely upon the intermediate symbols, and these were eliminated. However, they remain a tool that can be used to decipher complicated rhythmic patterns at any time.

Let me state the problem I observed in another way by providing an example. Imagine a half note. Now let me ask you, how long is a half note? That is, how much time does it occupy? You might answer this question in one of two ways. You might say (if you understand fractions) “It is twice as long as a quarter note and half as long as a whole note.” Or, you might say, “that depends on the speed of the music.” Both answers are correct. But the answers also make it clear that you can’t tell how much time a half note occupies just by looking at it. You need more information. The intermediate symbols that I have created attempt to provide the missing information. Although the symbols I have developed are not a perfect representation of time, they provide a better representation of time than does traditional music notation, and they provide a representation that more clearly presents the concept that the student is trying to learn.

Cancellations, Returns, Refunds, and Replacing Damaged Items

All sales of e-books are final. Once the e-book is electronically sent (via email attachment), these orders can not be canceled. There are no returns or refunds for e-book orders.

Soft-covered books are special order items. These orders may only be canceled up until the time the document is sent for printing. Once special orders are sent for printing no refunds will be given unless the order is not shipped due to conditions beyond my control.

At my sole discretion I will replace books or pages that are damaged in transit at no cost to the purchaser, provided the damage is verified by the shipper. I may request that the damaged merchandise be returned to me prior to providing a replacement. You will be required to pay for return shipping and I will refund your return shipping at USPS Media Mail rates, only, upon verifying the damage of the returned item.

Copyright Restrictions

All material on this web site is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the author.

The book, LEARNING RHYTHMS contains the following additional copyright provision.

Copyright © – 2005 by Eben Greybourne. All rights reserved. The text and exercises of this publication, in any form, in whole or in any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any manner or by any means, whatsoever, without the express written consent of the author, except as follows. Reproduction is authorized (1) in brief excerpts for published reviews, (2) for e-Book purchasers to make a hard copy, and (3) for original purchasers to make additional copies of individual exercises for practice in learning this material.

Purchasers are not authorized to reproduce Learning Rhythms for resale or for distribution to classes of students or musical ensembles.

About Us

Learning Rhythms is the result of compiling numerous hand-written instructional notes into a cohesive workbook. I have accumulated the notes since the early 1970s. This project has taken me several years to complete, spurred on by the desire to offer a method for learning musical rhythms that might be of benefit to more than just my handful of students.

This web site adventure started in May 2007. At the present time this is a one person venture, added to an already full life. I will be as responsive as possible to your requests for products or information, and request your patience as I work to provide individual and personalized responses to each customer’s request.

Please feel free to email me with your comments and questions. I look forward to receiving your feed back.

In the future, I hope to expand the resources page to this web site. My goal is to provide quality references for enhancing rhythmic instruction and learning. Your suggestions are welcome.

Here’s to your rhythmic success.


About the Author

Mr. Greybourne was reared in a home that was always filled with music. His mother was an accomplished pianist and vocalist and his father sparked his interest in percussion instruments at an early age by taking him to the local community band rehearsals. Although a sempiternal student of the piano, he excelled in his study of percussion instruments throughout high school, where he earned recognitions by repeatedly winning first chair positions in the local All-State Bands. Mr. Greybourne holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education from Bridgewater College and a Master in Business Administration from Regis University. His musical education included extensive participation in choral and instrumental performance and a summer session at the prestigious Interlochen Festival for the Arts. While serving in the military Mr. Greybourne received the honor of playing with the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, stationed in Washington, D.C. Although his professional career has taken him away from musical performance he has had extensive experience teaching private music lessons. The explanations and exercises presented in this book are representative of the teaching approach he has developed over the years to aid his students. They are presented here with the sincere hope that they might prove to be useful to your understanding of musical rhythms.

Privacy Policy

May 7, 2010

Learning Rhythms, a publication of STN Solutions

Your privacy is important to us. To better protect your privacy the following notice explains the information we collect, how it is used, how it is safeguarded, and how to contact us if you have any concerns.

What Information Is Collected:

The following information will be collected, as required, to process orders.

1. Name, 2. Shipping/Billing Address 3. Email address 4. Phone number. Additional financial information may be requested by PayPal for processing your order (Please refer to PayPal’s Privacy Policy).

Educators who are making a request to evaluate this book will be asked for the following information as part of the educator verification process.

1. Name, 2. Email address (phone number optional), 3. School, institution, religious organization, business, or other private or public instructional organization where you provide music instruction or music related activities. (If you are a private music teacher who does not have an organizational affiliation you will be asked to indicate your affiliation with
any guild, teachers association, or professional music society.), 4. Approximate number of music students you instruct or for whom you have responsibility, 5. Professional Status, 6. Primary Area of Music Instruction.

How That Information Is Used:

The information collected on this site will be used to fill orders, to contact buyers if they have questions, or to send emails with special offers. Educator information will be used to verify the educator’s status.

Our Commitment To The Security of Your Data:

No information, other than that listed above will be requested. If anyone representing STN Solutions, Learning Rhythms or this web site asks for any information other than that listed above, they are falsely representing STN Solutions, Learning Rhythms or this web site and should be immediately reported by contacting Learning Rhythms (see the Contact
Page). No information collected on this site will be sold or shared with a third party. Credit card or other financial information provided to STN Solutions - Learning Rhythms will be routinely destroyed following the sales transaction. (Note: Currently, all financial transactions are handled by a third party; i.e., bank or payment processor. No financial information is
provided directly to STN Solutions or Learningrhythms.com.) Financial information given to PayPal or any other bank or payment processors will be handled in accordance with their respective privacy policies. Purchasers’ contact information will be securely maintained for the
purposes sited above.

Contact Us

Contact stns@comcast.net if you have any questions concerning this privacy policy.

NOTE: This site is hosted by Holistic Solutions. No information is collected by the hosting company.

Rhythm Resources


Please bookmark this site so you can return to it easily after exploring the
following resources.

1. Percussive Arts Society - http://www.pas.org/

2. Formedia Latin Rhythms - http://www.formedia.ca/rhythms/index.html.



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