Rhythm Exercises For Beginner Students

Looking for some rhythm exercises for beginner music students. Well this music lesson will help you with learning some of the very basics about reading rhythm (vital to music) and understanding how to count (also vital to music).

Timing is essential to playing music with others and playing along with your favorite songs. Without proper rhythm and timing skills, you will most likely get lost very quickly. All you will need for this rhythm exercise is to be able to count to the number 4. 

For this article, there are a couple terms I would like you to know.

Beat – Known as the pulse of the music, or what you tap your foot to.

Tempo – The speed at which you play music (kind of MPH in a car)

For this article, we are going to be using examples that have 4 beats or 4 counts. We will count by saying the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and then repeating that same count again and again. Each beat will be represented by a quarter note. A black ball with a stem sticking out of it (see below).


In the below rhythm exercise, each quarter note has 1 beat. So we could count 1, 2, 3, 4.


You can clap your hands along to this rhythm and clap each time you count a new number. This is a very simple and basic quarter note rhythm pattern. This is the foundation for the majority of rhythms you will learn.

The below example is what we would call 4 measures of quarter notes. Think of measures as blocks of music that connect together. They are separated by a vertical black line. In the below example, count a steady 1,2,3,4 and repeat 4 times for a total of 4 measures. Clap along as you count.


Taking A Break In Your Rhythm Playing – Quarter Note Rest Rhythm Exercises

When playing rhythm, we sometimes have to take a break. This is called a rest. And since we are talking about simple quarter note beats, we will reference a quarter note rest (shown below). You still count to 4, but whenever you see the rest symbol, you will not clap.


In the example below, you could clap on 1 and 3, but not on 2 or 4. Give this a try.


You can try clapping along with the quarter note rhythms in the following PDF which has various rhythms with rests included. Click the link below to download the Quarter Note Rhythm Exercises PDF.


Mike Doyle