Unit A04 – Pulse and Metre

By the end of Stage A, students should be generally confident in the following concepts:

  • what pulse is
  • what a time signature is and where to find it
  • bars and bar-lines including the final bar line of a piece
  • playing in 4 crotchets to a bar
  • being able to clap 2, 3, or 4 beats to a bar with a strong beat on the first beat (they don’t need to be explicitly aware of what or why they are doing this but it is a good set up for later work).


  • Discuss what pulse is. Do they know what their own pulse is?
  • Clap a pulse by demonstrating a pulse to your students (start with a simple 4 in a bar pulse). Ask students to try on their own. Get them to do this at the start of learning each new piece. Some students may need you to clap with them for confidence and security. When they are ready ask students to emphasis the first beat, some students might find it helpful to count along with themselves.
  • Use call and response by asking students to echo your rhythms in time. You can use flashcards for different rhythms or get students to improvise rhythms if they need an extension.
  • Clapping to music. Play them their piece while they clap. This can be a helpful way to get students to concentrate when you are playing to them. You can switch this around by clapping along to their playing. Reinforce this by using unfamiliar pieces. Students could also march or do other movements in time.

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A4 Time Sig Quiz 1.JPG

Stage A: 4 Crotchets in a Bar Time Signature
Introduces the concept of time signature, specifically 4 crotchets in a bar