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Rhythm Resources

Rhythm Learning Sequence

I introduce rhythm skills approximately in the order listed in this Rhythm Learning Sequence document.


The flashcards below should be printed out on 8.5″ x 11″ paper. You can then enlarge them (129%) onto 11″ x 17″ heavy weight paper using a photocopier. After cutting the paper in half, the new and bigger flashcards should be 5.5″ tall. You may want to trim off the extra paper on the right hand margin.

I also have all of these cards in a format where they can be printed directly onto 11″ x 17″ and thus use the full 17″ width of the page. Please contact me if you would like to purchase flashcards in this format. The cost is $0.25 per card ($0.50 per page, which includes two cards) plus shipping. For example, a file that is 10 pages long will contain 20 individual cards for a total cost of $5.00 ($0.50 x 10 pages) plus shipping.

Simple Meter

Beat Unit = Quarter Note

Set DescriptionOriginal SetExpanded Set
Half, quarter, eighth note pairs; Quarter rests
Quarter, eighth notes; Eighth rests
Whole, half, quarter notes; Quarter & half rests
Dotted quarter notes & dotted half notes
Syncopations (eighth-quarter-eight)
Triplets (1 and 2 beats)
Sixteenth notes (basic)
Sixteenth notes: extension dots and syncopations

Beat Unit = Half Note

Set DescriptionDownload
Whole, half, quarter, eighth; half rests
Halfs, quarters; quarter rests
Dotted half & dotted whole notes
Beat subdivision
Triplets (1 and 2 beat)

Compound Meter

Many people have difficulty understanding the concept of compound meter signatures. Instead of the numbers representing beat unit as they do in simple meter signatures, the numbers in compound meter signatures represent the beat division. To help illustrate this difference, I created flashcards which I call “Orff style” they are similar to the meter signature style Orff used in music such as Carmina Burana. The “Orff style” cards feature dual meter signatures.  The meter signature on the left is the standard meter signature.  The meter signature on the right is the “Orff style” meter signature. The “Orff style” meter signature indicates the number of beats on top and instead of a number below, it shows the note value that gets one beat. The “Orff style” cards are the same set of cards as the ones with the same name, but without the “Orff style” indication.

Beat Unit = Dotted Quarter Note

Set DescriptionRegular Meter SignatureOrff Style Meter Signature
Beat unit, beat division & borrowed division
Beat subdivision & syncopation

Beat Unit = Dotted Half Note

Set DescriptionRegular Meter SignatureOrff Style Meter Signature
Beat unit, beat division & borrowed division
Beat subdivision & syncopation

Takadimi Flashcards

I highly recommend the TAKADIMI rhythm system. Learn more about it at

The pages of the files linked below print out to become 8.5″ x 11″ posters. I offer them here even though I don’t use these myself for reasons I explain below. Some teachers have found these posters useful for hanging in the back of the classroom (where students can’t see them!) so that teachers can use them as an aid to themselves while they’re still learning takadimi syllables. Keep in mind however, that while the takadimi rhythm system works for any beat unit, these cards are only correct for the beat units noted on the links below. With good sequential teaching and proper amounts of practice, I don’t think it is necessary (or desirable) for students to see these posters since they can become dependent on viewing the posters rather than actually learning the syllables and associated rhythm notation symbols.

Takadimi Rhythm Syllables: Quarter Note = Beat Unit

Takadimi Rhythm Syllables: Dotted Quarter Note = Beat Unit


Rhythm Composition/Dictation Flashcards

Composition/Dictation Cards; Simple Meter (updated January 2023)

Composition/Dictation Cards; Compound Meter

These cards can be used for students to compose rhythms. They can also be used for rhythm dictation (the teacher dictates a rhythm and the students show the rhythm using these cards). These cards should be printed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper. The notes should be cut so that the width of the paper is proportional to the length of time of the note. For example, when cutting the simple meter cards, the whole note should be 11″ wide. Half notes should be 5.5″ wide.  Quarter notes should be 2.75″ wide, etc.

11 thoughts on “Rhythm Resources”

  1. I love your cards: I teach special education music and it saves me a lot of time for creating resources for my population of students. Thanks again.

  2. Hi Mike!

    I love using these cards in my classroom. We recently introduced sixteenth notes as a group of four (not breaking them up yet) and I was wondering if there are any rhythms with quarter notes, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes where the sixteenth notes are one beat? (ex. 1 2 + 3 e + a 4). I found some where there are all three notes but the sixteenth notes are sharing a beat with the eighth notes. Trying to keep it a bit simplified in the beginning. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Tessa,

      Sorry for the LONG delay in responding! I don’t have any cards like that, unfortunately. I usually introduce sixteenths as a division of eighth notes. I use the takadimi system, so we first learn ta-di (eighth note pairs), then I introduce the division of the first eighth note into two sixteenths (taka-di) and the division of the second eighth note into two sixteenths (ta-dimi), which is why you see those rhythms mixed with eighth note pairs. I then introduce both ta and di divided (taka-dimi). I have Finale and Sibelius template files on, which you could use to create your own patterns. Hope this helps!

  3. Thank you for sharing these. I’ve been using them for a while now but have noticed there is no card in 3/4 metre with a single dotted half note. Any chance of adding that one in?

  4. Thanks so much for the free rhythm and tonal flashcards. I wanted to produce these myself but lack the Sibelius software to produce them. You have saved me time and energy which is a premium. I am a Music Teacher at a private school in Romania where funding for music is in short supply. Thanks again for this valuable resource.

  5. Thanks for your great website. I teach elementary music and I teach takadimi. The kids love it. I think its so much more expressive than other rhythmic solfege systems. I do, though, have trouble teaching the dotted quarter and eighth note rhythm (in simple meter). Ta _a-di are the syllables I’m using for this rhythm. Any tips? I’m specifically talking about 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.

    1. Hi Andy,

      First, it’s important to introduce any of these concepts aurally first. When I’m teaching simple meter rhythms (meters in which the beat divides into groupings of 2), I always have students keep the beat using an down-up arm motion (‘Ta’ is always down; ‘di’ is always up). For young kids, you might also consider a side-to-side swaying – anything that has a large body motion, particularly one in which the weight of the body shifts. The basic procedure is that I chant a beat pattern on takadimi syllables, and then the student immediately echo, all while maintaining the down-up motion. So if I want to teach dotted-quarter eighth patterns, I’ll chant lots of patterns that incorporate that rhythmic pattern. If the kids can successfully repeat what you’re doing, then try doing the same thing, but with you chanting rhythm patterns on a neutral syllable (bah, perhaps). See if the kids can correctly translate this to takadimi syllables. If so, they’re ready to be introduced to the symbols that represent these patterns.

      You’ll notice that in the set of flash cards with dotted quarters and half notes, for many cards there is a corresponding card with the same rhythm that uses ties instead of extension dots. Since students are more familiar with quarters and eighth-note pairs (I have already taught them this), I have students perform the “tie” card first without the ties. Then I explain how to perform it with the ties (carry the vowel of the first tied note into the place where the second tied note would be). Then I show them the card with the same rhythm pattern, but one that uses an extension dot and let them know that it is performed exactly the same. The concept of the extension dot is somewhat difficult for some kids to understand. You might try suggesting that the dot is just the notehead of the tied eighth note, which has been shifted next to the quarter note? Or maybe just stick with the “tie” cards for a while first, before trying to introduce extension dots…

      Hope this helps!

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