Unit B04 – Pulse and Metre

A metre of 3 crotchets per bar is introduced in Unit B4. It is likely students will approach this before they have completed Stage A of our curriculum. With this addition students should begin to develop some understanding of the implications of the time signature (where the strong beat is).


  • Sound a pulse in 3 or 4 crotchets a bar by clapping or stomping feet (clicking fingers, etc.) or using percussive instruments (e.g. tapping on a table). Place greater focus on emphasising the first beat in this unit.
  • Clap/sound rhythms in the relevant metres. Get students to echo your rhythms or swap round and echo theirs. Use rhythms the student encounters in their pieces.
  • Compose rhythm pieces using relevant rhythms (use our Flash Cards in Unit B2 as inspiration).
  • When learning a new piece start by identifying what and where the time signature is and establish a pulse away from the piano by using clapping or other percussive sounds.
  • Play music to your students in the above metres. Ask them to clap along and to identify how many beats per bar. You may need to help them to establish the pulse.
  • Clarify the difference between pulse and rhythm with your students. Ask them to clap the pulse and any tricky rhythms. Get the student to clap a pulse while you clap a rhythm, and then swap over.


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Stage B Time Signature Quiz Duo

  • 1 worksheet introducing 3 crotchets in a bar (and recapping 4 crotchets in a bar)
  • 1 worksheet on the two time signatures above, but students are also asked to clap the rhythms.