Visualizing Note Values Through Sequencing

Visualizing Note Values through Sequencing

Laura A. Welkey
[email protected]
Lehighton Area Middle School

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments


Middle School


General Music


Desktop Computer (WIN PC or MAC)
Software Sequencer (ie: DP4 or Cakewake)
MIDI sound source (synth keyboard or software instr or soundcard)


40 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Students at this level have some prior experience with note names and values, but often have trouble relating notes to eachother, or simply remembering the information.

No prior sequencing experience is necessary for students.

NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standards of 1994: Reading and notating music.

NAfME 2014: Creating

NAfME Standards of 1994: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Evaluating music and music performances.

NAfME 2014: Responding


Only Hardware and Software listed above are needed.


Students will be able to identify the duration of notes by sight in a graphic editor of a sequencer.

Students will be able to identify changes in rhythm by ear and by sight, as well as layer various note values to compare length.

Students will be able to see the basic workings of the tracks in a sequence, gathering knowledge for future lessons using a software sequencer.


1. Review basic notation of quarter notes, eighth notes, etc., as well as their values in a meter of 4/4.

2. Create a track and step record quarter notes for 2 or 3 measures.

3. Experiment with dragging notes to create new durations.

4. Stack notes on a track by playing two notes with different values simultaneously for 2 or more measures. Compare.

5. Show the tracks in notation editor to see the actual notes.

6. Have students draw a graphic representation of a short dictated rhythm, Evaluate for accuracy, and then apply notation to match with each graphic representation.


Are students able to recognize notes of varying durations?

Can strudents name notes and their values?

Can students do a simple graphic dictation exercise on paper?

Are students able to convert the graphic representation to notes?

Follow Up:

Discuss the step recording process, and why the “parts per quarter note” number changes the way it does when choosing various kinds of notes.

Plot out simple rhythms, whether by creating it, copying it, or through dictation. This can also be done in conjunction with a melody lesson by having students draw a given melody and rhythm onto paper (a shapshot of a blank graphic editor can be printed out to copy and fill in).

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