PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

1st & 2nd Grade Music

1st and 2nd graders are reading AND WRITING music now! This week and last they were tapping/clapping various rhythms using combinations of whole, half, quarter and eighth notes. I wrote a few examples for them to play, and they even helped me finish writing a few bars of music.

Students were introduced to the idea of a time signature. We will be using common time: 4/4. Students know that the top number of the time signature means that in every measure, before the bar line, we count to 4. We also introduced a double bar line (“railroad tracks” mean STOP) and a repeat sign.

1st and 2nd graders then had time to work on their own rhythms using our “music math”. Each measure needed to equal four beats, and the combination of notes that they used was up to them!

I was really impressed with how quickly they caught on! Their musical vocabularies are also growing rapidly. Words we are regularly using are: lyrics, verse, chorus, notes, whole, half, quarter, eighth, rest, beat, tempo, rhythm, bar line, measure, repeat, double bar line.


1st Grade:

Class 101, Chart –


Class 102, Chart –


Here is our musical math menu! Each measure just needs to add up to 4!


Student samples –

Students at work –


2nd Grade:

Class 201, Chart –


Class 202, Chart –