The role of rests in Music Theory

The role of rests in Music Theory

As we have discussed the note value in time signatures. It is also important for each student to know what does the word rest mean in music theory.

Rests are symbols of silence. You must be aware of the fact that when a song is composed, rests are also mentioned on the grand staff for the musician to read so that he can play in harmony with other musical instruments. Look at the picture below to understand the value of rest.



Now as a drill, it is recommended that students should draw 4 of each rest. Remember that this drill is very important too.


Counting and Clapping


1.  Check Time Signature

2.  Set up a steady pulse by counting and tapping the four beats for  a   full measure before you begin to clap.

3.  The first time you clap, say the name of the note value in the rhythm.  The second time count the beats. Remember quarter note gets a clap, the half note gets a clap and a squeeze, the half dotted note gets a clap and two squeezes whereas the full note gets one clap and 3 squeezes.  On rests throw your hands open for the correct number of beats.


Stemming Notes

The stems on notes go up on the right or down on the left.  Notes that are on the middle line of the staff or above the middle line are stemmed down on the left.  Notes that are below the middle line of the staff are stemmed up on the right.




The students must draw notes on the staff sheet and stem them according to the instructions given above. First write quarter notes on or above the middle line and stem them, then write half notes and repeat the exercise, also continue this exercise with half dotted notes and whole notes.  This exercise will refresh the memories of the students and they will be able to remember the names of the notes in a better way.

Stem whole note. They will become half notes. now change these notes to quarter notes by adding  stems and blackening the heads. So it means when note is stemmed its value becomes half.


Sharps and Flats

Sign of Sharp



Sign of Flat



A sharp sign placed in front of a note tells us to play the very next key to the right. Now draw 8 sharp signs by looking at the pic.  The vertical lines for sharps are drawn straight. The cross lines are at an angle. Now write sharp signs on the staff sheet on different lines and spaces to grasp better knowledge. The box of the sharp must enclose the individual line or space. when we see F sharp sign at the beginning of a piece, we call it a Key Signature. F sharp is the Key Signature of G Major.

pic of signature of G Major





A flat sign placed in front of a note tells us to play the very next key to the left.  Now see the pic of Flat and try to draw is yourself. First draw a downward line and then add the head on each Flat. The head of the flat must enclose the individual line or space.  When we see a B flat at the beginning of a piece we call it a key signature. B flat is the key signature of F Major.


pic of key signature of F Major


Time Signatures & Music Theory

Time Signatures & Music Theory:

music notes


music theory

In the previous article we described the method i.e. moving up from the middle ‘C’. Which of course, you must know that it is known as Treble Clef or G Clef which is played by right hand.
Now we shall discuss about reading music down from middle ‘C’. These notes are written on Bass Clef or F Clef. These notes are played by left hand.

The musical alphabet goes down in reverse alphabetical order. Middle ‘C’ is written on the added line above the F Clef. Remember this is to be played by left hand. See the pic of note above:

‘B’ note is above Bass Clef or F Clef.

See the pic above:

‘A’ note is on the fifth line of the Bass Clef.

See the pic above

‘G’ note is in the forth space of the Bass Clef. See the pic above

‘F’ note is on the fourth line of the Bass Clef. See pic above

‘E’ note is in the 3rd space of the Bass Clef

‘D’ note is on the third line of the Bass Clef. See the pic above

Bass ‘C’ note is the Guidepost note and is in the second space of Bass Clef.


Time Signatures-Music Theory
Knowledge of Time Signatures on grand staff is very important for every student. Without knowing this, music cannot be played. The numbers found the Staves at the beginning of a piece give us the time signature. Se the pic above of time signature on the staff.

2 as mentioned above or in the demonstration below means 2 beats per measure. Whereas 4 which is mentioned under means quarter note. A quarter note receives on beat (4 stands for quarter note).
Note values in:

2 3 4 5 or 6

4 4 4 4     4

music notes

See the pic of notes above

How to Play Piano Lessons 2 understanding music theory

how to play piano lessons 2 understanding music theory:

How to Play Piano Lessons music theory


music notes

Middle c is written on the added lines between the Bass Staff and Treble Staff. If middle ‘C’ is closer to the Treble Staff, it must be played by right hand. When middle ‘C’ is closer to the Bass Staff it is played by the left hand. It is recommended tat students must practice playing middle ‘C’ by both the thumbs, First by right hand thumb and then by left hand thumb over and over again. It is very important. When you start reading music, it will play vital role.

Note there is drill for you. Just look at the pic of Grand Staff below and try to draw it yourself, then write note on the small added line. See the pic above:
Reading and writing up from the middle C

Now write the next note under the fifth line (the last line below). Remember the musical alphabets on Treble Clef are written from below. ‘D’ is written on space under Treble Clef.
E-note is written on the first line of Treble Clef as shown above.

‘F’ note is written in the first space of Treble Clef. See the pic above

‘G’ note is written on the second line of the Treble Clef. See the pic above:

‘A’ note is written in the second space of Treble Clef. See the pic above:

‘B’ note is written on the third line of the Treble Clef.


The students will be much benefited by this drill because they will write and read the notes themselves. So they will learn two arts i.e. writing music and reading music. As we proceed further we will learn more. Through experience I can assure that if you follow my instructions carefully you will learn in amazingly short time. It will help understand the music theory..

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How to Play Piano Basics:

How to Play Piano Basics

How to play piano basics

Steps and Skips on the white keys of the keyboard:

It is very important for every student to know what steps and skips mean.

Like physical drills, playing organ also requires drills to acquire and grasp playing art. Moving by step means stepping on the neighboring white keys i.e. ABCDEFGA in either direction. It is highly recommended that students practice this drill for at least one hour everyday. It must be kept in mind that this drill will help the students in playing various songs with ease. In fact the fingers will become more and more smooth as the practice goes on. I have noticed that many students have been benefited with this drill.

Moving by skips on the white keys of the keyboard: 

Once the above drill has been mastered by the students, they may start the drill of moving by skips. In music term, the skips mean stepping over on white key in either direction i.e. “A-C-E’.

The above shows that keys ‘B’ and ‘D’ have not been played, but skipped over. Similarly the next skip would be as under.


Remember these keys are to be played in either direction. Now lets move to the next keys as mentioned below:


This is to be played in either direction as previously done. It can be seen that keys ‘D’ and ‘F’ have been skipped over.

Now we move onto next drill as follows:


It can be noted that ‘E’ and ‘G’ have been skipped over. Remember these notes are to be played in either direction. The next skips exercise is as follows:


In this drill ‘F’ and ‘A’ have been skipped over.

I can assure you on the basis of my experience that any student who does all these drills on daily basis, including the previous ones, will show progress in amazingly short time of learning.

I hope this post was useful about how to play piano basics..

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Music lesson plans-how to play keyboard:

Music lesson plans-how to play keyboard:


Keyboard drill is very important for the students in order to grasp better knowledge. This will help them to gain progress on daily basis. Make a routine to play the keyboard for at least one hour everyday. Keeping this in view, some drills are being mentioned here. Remember these drills will help you gain in confidence of keyboard playing art.

As you must have read on the previous posts about the location of keys on the keyboard. These drills will certainly help you. As you know there are seven musical alphabets. So I recommend that every student must practice the undermentioned exercises.
Exercise No.1 ‘A’ to ‘A’ (8 notes):

The first exercise will start from ‘A’ note on the keyboard. Play the undermentioned exercise..

A-B-C-D-E-F-G (play these notes in reverse order too)

Exercise No.2 ‘B’ to ‘B’ (8 notes):

The second drill will start from ‘B’ note on the keyboard as follows:

B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B (play these in reverse order too)

The Musical Alphabets-Clefs Keyboard-Music Theory

The Musical Alphabets-Clefs Keyboard-Music Theory:

In order to learn Keyboard it is important for every student to know about the musical alphabets. As words can be made from the alphabet similarly the tunes or melody of a song can be made by using musical alphabets.

The musical alphabets are:


Now I would like all students to do simple drill on the Keyboard. The groups of 2 black keys and 3 black keys are used to find these alphabets on the white keys.

A – Between the 2nd and 3rd keys of the group of 3 black keys. See pic below and write ‘A’ on your keyboard


B- To the right of the group of 3 black keys

See pic above

C –  To the left of the group of 2 black keys

See the pic above and write ‘C’ on all the ‘c’ keys on your keyboard.

D – between the group of 2 black keys see pic above and write ‘D’ on all ‘d’ keys on your keyboard

E –  To the right of the group of 2 black keys. See the pic above and write

‘E’ On all the ‘E’ keys on your keyboard.

F – on the left side of the group of 3 black keys

See pic above and write ‘f’ on all the ‘F’ keys on your keyboard.

G – between the 1st and 2nd keys of the group of 3 black keys.

See the pic above and write ‘C’ on all the ‘C’ keys on your keyboard.

It is recommended that the students must do this exercise.

Treble Clef of G Clef


Clef signs are placed on the staff to indicate an area of the keyboard.

The treble clef or G clef is used for the middle to higher sounds.

 The right hand is used to play the treble clef notes.                               

 Bass Clef or F Clef


The base clef or F clef is used for the middle to lower sounds.

The left hand is used to play notes on Bass or F clef.              

 The General Staff

 The General Staff is formed by joining the Treble  staff and Bass staff with a barline and a brace. The Grand Staff is divided into measures by the barlines. 

A double bar indicates the end of a musical piece.



Middle C on the Grand Staff



Middle C is written on the added line between the Treble Clef and Bass Clef.

I hope that the above instructions helped you to understand musical alphabets in terms of music theory.

Basic Elements of Music Theory

Basic Elements of Music Theory:

There are music elements that form the basic understanding and knowledge of music theory that you have to study in order to determine how music is played or constructed. The students must pay special attention to the learning and mastering the music elements.

These basic elements are the structure and framework for which music is formed. Knowing these elements will allows you to study, play, compose, re harmonize, and work with other musicians in a common language of music theory.

The basic music theory elements and concepts will help you to understand just how music is defined and you will get good knowledge of music. The basic music theory is based on the following:


1. Rhythm

2. Musical notes to be played

3. Key signatures

4. Scale

5. Intervals

6. Cords


Technique Instruction

Playing music is technique or how you approach musical instrument to produce sound quality.Our aim is to provide you basic knowledge on technique that will certainly improve your playing. In most traditional teaching the music elements are taught bit by bit, this practice was very common in the Indian sub continent and still prevails. This approach allows you to slowly be able to grasp the basic music theory elements. However the student never gets the broader view of how all these “dots” or points of the elements relate to each other until you been studying them for a very long time. In our opinion this is merely the waste of time and keeping the students away from grasping the real knowledge of playing music.  Did you ever wonder how the teacher knows what to teach you next. Well, they have the big picture in their mind.  It probably took them a long time too to get there as well.
As you explore the individual elements and components you will start with a big  and brighter picture or overview of the element and then exam each component that makes it up.

You quickly look at a big picture of items, then move in and get relationships of a component related to the element and build on those chucks of information to create a base to launch your music.

Then you will start using the knowledge and putting it together in a way that allows you to quickly assimilate the pieces you are learning about and accelerate your grasp of these various music theory elements.  Your curiosity and passion will play vital role in grasping the knowledge of music theory.

In my case too when I was taught bit by bit in a traditional manner. I learned one note at a  time and where it was located on a keyboard. I had no concept of what the notes were and how they were related to each other, and why was it so important to learn one note at a time and to sing along to master its position for hours and hours.  I always wondered if this note is played alone for hours   what or how the the basic music theory elements even existed. By the lapse of time the secret behind it was uncovered. It was perhaps very important in the opinion of traditional teachers, so that the student may remember that note deep down in his memories for a long time before switching over to other related notes that form melody or tune of the song. You would then go on to another note, then another. Then out of the blue you would be given a sharp. What was a sharp? What did that mean?

My interest in music enabled me to learn about the various scales and why it was essential to grasp the knowledge of playing keyboard on different scales. I also learned to read most of the treble notes on the master staff. What I didn’t get was a good lesson on the whole thing and how basic music theory elements all fit together in harmony to form melody.  I also tried to study on my own with hours of practice on the keyboard.  But it was soon revealed to me that a good teacher and good tools are very very important.

The basic elements

 There are five basic music theory elements that provides the foundation needed to  propel you quickly into more difficult and fun elements of music. Mastering these basics are essential  before  moving on to advance knowledge of music theory.


Understanding and applying time signatures, beat values and dividing beats is an absolute must do. In order to play with other musicians the rhythm keeps you in harmony. Without the knowledge of rhythm you can not even think of playing music with others. Rhythm is mathematical and there is no compromise on beat values. The listeners will never forgive you if you are not playing the musical instrument according to the rhythm. Rhythm has very important and key role in constructing and presenting the oriental, classical and folk tunes.


Knowing notes names, values (rhythm timing), pitch, placement are all key foundations basics that are applied to build on the other elements of music theory. The musician must know what sharps and flats mean, where are they located on the keyboard.


Major, minor, diminished scales form the basis of how much music is composed. Knowing this information leads to the ability to create chords and defines what notes are likely to be played with that chord.  The basic scale is made up of seven notes, actually eight because we always end on the same note name as we start on. and intervals are defined using the major scale.
Here is a C major scale





Major, minor, diminished, augmented are the terms used in music theory. These names are related to the scales. A minor chord is shown below:


Key Signatures

You must have understanding of the mathematics scales and chords as a primary pattern that leads to the key signatures which allows you to apply that pattern while playing different key notes. See the picture below of key signature.


Basics of Music Theory

Basics of Music Theory:

Ever since this universe came into being, there has been an immense coordination of nature with music and musical notes. Just imagine what this world would be without the sounds. The sound of raindrops falling on the tin roofs, the sound of mighty oceans with huge and strong currents of waves that hit against the beaches, the sound of colorful chirping birds early in the morning, the crowing of cock at dawn, the sound of train as it runs on the railway tracks etc. Everything seems to enveloped in the boundaries of musical rhythm.



Man has been involved in various activities ranging from violence to learning of various  fine arts that include painting, poetry and above all his curiosity to find about the existence of sounds from very low to very high pitches such as the low pitched sound of buffalo and extremely high pitched sound of bats in the darkness. The different sounds on different frequencies produced by the taking off and landing planes. The sound of thundering clouds and lightning. This curiosity made the man think about learning the real secret that lies behind the infinite varieties of sound made by the animals, birds, thunderstorms, the lowing of breeze on the seashore and sand storms in the huge stretching deserts of the world, earthquakes etc.


The research proved that the theory of sounds should base on seven international notes, because the nature comprises of deserts, oceans, mountains, pastures and dense forests. These seven notes were thought to be enough to gain the knowledge of music theory. Wherever you go. different kinds of sounds can be heard, for instance if you are in a jungle, the sounds that you hear in the morning would differ from the sounds that you would hear in the night, the hiss of snakes, the roaring of lion, the fearful stag that is being chased by the tigers, the monkeys on the trees jumping from one branch to the other and making peculiar sounds.


From ages man has been inventing musical instruments and from time to time the musical instruments are being modified. The ancients musical instruments have been modified with the modern and electronic instruments. The musical instruments mainly comprise of three different categories i.e the instruments of strings like guitar, violin etc. the second category of musical instruments comprise on the instruments that are played with mouth such as flute, trumpet etc, whereas the third category consists of instruments that are played with fingers such as piano, organ, accordion etc. People all over the world have always been keen to know and learn the basic techniques and theory to play the various kinds of musical instruments. Keeping in view their passion towards the music, many schools and colleges all over the world are  now imparting music knowledge to their students.


I have been the music teacher for over 40 years and still in the same profession.  I have noted during my long career that children of all ages have shown their immense interest in learning the musical instruments, so that they can play these  instruments themselves and in most cases they love to sing along too.


This may be noted that most of the famous musicians started learning instruments from their early age and later on mastered the art of playing the musical instruments. The playing of instrument keeps you occupied in your leisure time, and serves as your best companion at the time of your loneliness.  Even if you are living a retired life this companion is always there to refresh your soul and heart. If you are a sportsman then you very well know that at certain age you can not continue you game for which you need stamina and strong muscles. On the contrary you can always play musical instrument even if you are beyond 70 yrs. You must have witnessed this yourself and must have seen many aged people playing musical instruments.  So it can well be said that this is very healthy, refreshing and entertaining activity that keeps you away from depression, confusion and mental disorders.