Sight Reading 101

Rhythm Exercises, Part I

These following reading exercises are to help you to learn how to read rhythms. All these exercises only use one pitch throughout the entire exercise. That will help you focus on the rhythms for now, and not worry about playing different notes.

There are 10 short exercises. Exercise #1 will start you off with a fairly simple lesson, and each lesson will increase with difficulty. If you need, or want to hear what the lesson sounds like, each exercise comes with a pro audio MIDI file.

All the note and rest values you see in the following exercises will look like the ones that you studied in the last lesson with a couple of exceptions. Eighth notes and sixteenth notes are often grouped together within a measure; connected by lines across their stems.

Multiple eighth notes will be connected by one line (just as a single eight note has one "flag" or "Tail").

A Single Eighth Note
Multiple Eighth Notes

Multiple sixteenth notes will be connected by two lines (just as a single sixteenth note has two "flags" or "Tails").

A Single Sixteenth Note
Multiple Sixteenth Notes

Often, eighth and sixteenth notes are even grouped together within a measure. Here's how that could look:

In the above staff, the first note (with one connecting line) is an eighth note and the other two notes (with two connecting lines) are sixteenth notes.

Lesson Suggestions:

First, go through all of the exercises without your guitar. Play the MIDI files and, at the same time, clap the rhythms with your hands. This will help you completely focus on just reading the rhythms. After you've done that go back through and play the exercises with your guitar.

Use a slow tempo when you first start going through these exercises, then you can gradually speed up as your reading skill improves.

As you're playing through the reading exercises, try to glance ahead at the next bar so you'll already know what's coming up before you get there. This will really help you work on your sight reading.

Course Map:

Introduction | Course Directory | The Staff | Lines, Spaces and Ledger Lines | Flash Cards I: Learning the Notes | The Fret Board | Reading Exercises On Each String | Note and Rest Values | Time Signatures | Rhythm Exercises, Part I | Triplets and Dotted Notes & Rests | Rhythm Exercises, Part II | Flash Cards II: Rhythm Values | Ties | Rhythm Exercises, Part III | Simple Melodies | Course Conclusion

Glossary of Terms

Copyright 1999 T.A. Vieira, Jr.