Unit A4 – Pulse & 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).

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Visit: Unit A1, Unit A2Unit A3, Unit A5, Unit A6, Unit A8, Unit A10, End of Unit
Go To: Stage A, Stage B, Stage C, Stage D, Stage E, Stage F, Stage G, Stage H


  • Echo rhythms – clap (or otherwise sound out) rhythms in 2, 3, or 4 beats and ask students to echo them.
  • General rhythm work – using rhythms of 2, 3, or 4 beats ask students to clap them emphasising the strong/weak beat pattern. You could use flash cards or aural work, or get the students to write their own rhythms of a specified number of beats.
  • Body percussion – using body percussion (e.g. clicking, clapping, tapping the head, stomping feet) ask students to perform a pulse making the first beat of the ‘bar’ different to the other beats – e.g. a stomp for beat 1 and claps for beats 2/3/4.
  • Clapping along to music – ask students to clap along to a piece of music you play. This could be a piece they are working on.
  • Stave work – ask students to identify on the page the bars/bar lines/time signatures.

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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