Rhythms for Ages 7 and 8: How to Discover Half Notes

Today we're learning all about half notes. We started our learning by listening to Aase's Death by the composer, Edvard Grieg.

Get ready to create some awesome music as we:

  • Sing

  • Compose

  • Dance

  • Keep Time

  • Discover a new rhythm

Half Notes for Kids

The Song: Here Comes a Bluebird

Listen to this recording while you tap a steady beat on your lap: 

Here comes a bluebird in through my window
Hey, diddle dum-a day day day. 

Pick a little partner, hop in the garden
Hey, diddle dum-a day day day. 

Let's Sing

When you're ready, sing the first line and have your child sing the "hey diddle dum-a day day day" part. 

Sing together a few times as a call and response song, still tapping the steady beat. 

Let's Create

Why stop at singing the original words? Use this time to create some songs as a family about your day. 

Choose one family member to make up the new words and everyone else will respond "Hey diddle dum-a day day day"

For Example: 

Your child might sing something like, 

Child:   "Feeding the dog so she won't be hungry"
Family: "Hey diddle dum-a day day day"
Child:    "Pet her on the back, rub her on her tummy"
Family:  "Hey diddle dum-a day day day"

Enjoy this time to create and make music together! 

The Game: 

Once you've learned the song, you're ready to play the game! 

This game takes a group of four or more.
(Tip: Grandparents and neighborhood kids both make excellent participants. Enlist some help if you need more people.)

How to Play:


Pick one person to be the bluebird. Everyone else stands in a circle, holding each other's hands up above the heads to create "windows". 

As you sing, the bluebird will weave in and out the windows.

At the words, "pick a little partner, hop in the garden" the bluebird will take the hands of whoever he or she is closest to. The bluebird and partner will stand in the middle of the circle and hop together. This partner now becomes the new bluebird. 

The old bluebird will take his or her place in the circle and the song starts again.


The Rhythm 

By now you've sung, created, and danced to Here Comes a Bluebird. 

The whole family should know the song pretty well!

Allow your child to discover the new rhythm on her own by asking if she can find the word in the song that lasts the longest. Sing together while you tap the steady beat and listen very carefully.

The "hey" from "hey diddle dum-a day day day" is the longest note. 

Sing again while tapping the steady beat and notice that it covers two whole beats. 

Our beat is steady. 

Our ears are tuned to discover new notes. 

We're ready to read.

Next week we'll name this note and learn how to read it. Maybe we'll even use it to create some family music of our own.