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How to Learn Whole Notes: A 3-Step Guide with 7 Activities for Children

What is a whole note? "The one that looks like a circle!" Sure, that might sound way too simplified, but actually - this is how many children remember it in the beginning. In this article we want you to pick up on this simple idea of the shape and show you and your child a way how to recognise, write and play whole notes with 7 fun music activities.

How to Learn Whole Notes in 3 Steps

  1. Learning and Talking About Whole Notes Start by introducing the shape of the note in the easiest and most fun way possible.

  2. Whole Note Rhythms Compare the note with other note values by practicing rhythm games.

  3. Drawing the Whole Notes After playing with the note visually and rhythmically, it will be easy for children to draw the note themselves.

1. Learning and Talking About Whole Notes

Usually the shape of whole notes are easy to remember - they are the ones that look like a circle. Offer your child some fun learning time with activities that help them distinguish between the shape of the whole note and that of other notes.

Colouring Game with Half Notes, Quarter Notes and Whole Notes

In this cute colouring printable children are asked to paint different parts of the little bird with different colours, depending on the note that is written. Although it is a perfect activity that they can do themselves, doing it together with your child holds even more possibilities. Keep asking questions about the shape, the head and the stem of the notes and your child will soon know all about them.

Mini Music Memory

For learning to distinguish whole notes from other note shapes it is nice to have a reason to talk about them more. And we don't mean basic questions like "what's the difference between quarter notes and whole notes?" Make it fun by using this little game of Memory. It gives you and your child a good reason for saying things like "No, they are not the same, right?", "Does it have a note stem, too?" or "Is the head of the note filled in, like in the quarter notes?"

I Spy Note Values

Here is an activity that your child can also easily do on their own and at the same time they learn to differentiate the different note shapes.

2. Whole Note Rhythms

Whole notes are the note values that sound the longest, or that you need to hold the longest. For children that is easy to remember and at the same time difficult to actually do exactly right (for example holding it for exactly 4 beats and not longer or shorter). Here are some fun music exercises that help your child to distinguish between different note lengths.

Rhythm Animals Music Game

While the snail keeps going slowly but regularly in half notes, the lion can either jump veeeery far or roar veeeery long with its whole note. Comparing the two sounds here does the trick and will teach your child to put whole notes in a system.

Note Hopping Music Game

Now (maybe for the first time) you can ask more concrete and theoretical questions about the whole note as a note value. For winning this game you neet some luck, but you can also improve your chances by knowing precisely how many beats whole notes (4 beats) and the other notes have.

3. Drawing the Whole Notes

Whole notes seem very easy to draw. "It's just a circle", you might say. In reality it can be a little tricky for children, so it makes sense to guide them a little: from big to small and putting them exactly between the lines.

Trace Whole Notes 1 and 2

These two worksheets give a child the opportunity to first simply trace the shape of the already pre-written whole notes. After this they will be able to write them - big or small - all on their own.


How can I find music activities?

Find more activities like these on our website:

Private Music School in Palma de Mallorca

You want private music lessons for your child? Visit us in our music school in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, where we offer piano lessons, guitar lessons, ukulele lessons, singing lessons, music introduction and more.

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