Who Swiped the Time Signatures?

Who Swiped the Time Signatures???

Alan Glasser
[email protected]
Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:



High School


General Music


None needed except for copies of the accompanying work sheets.


30 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Understanding of time signatures and note values. (This is a begining level lesson but it could be expanded to include more advanced rhythm patterns)

NAfME standard of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME standard of 1994: Reading and notating music.

NAfME 2014: Creating 


None needed. SUpplemental materials (as suggested below) can be easily made if further review and reinforcement is beneficial.


This lesson is a reinforcement tool after students have learned the concepts of time signatures and note values. (Rests have been minimally introduced at this point but would be included as the exercises continue in subsequent classes.) Only whole, half, quarter and eighth notes have been used for the beginning levels but again, more complex rhythms can be incorporated as skills improve.


On the worksheet entitled, “Who Swiped the Time Signatures”
each line of music has measures of equal time value but the time signature is missing at the begining of each line. Students are to analyze the line and figure out the appropriate time signature which they will write in the space provided. At this point, only 2/4 3/4 and 4/4 are used but with additional practice, more complex times could be incorporated.


This lesson is geared toward BEGINNING music students with no prior knowledge. Evaluation can be achieved by:
1. grading of the worksheet (possibly have students exchange papers and grade each other’s.)
2. Asking volunteer students to clap the rhythms in a line after identifying the missing time signature
3. With each student being given staff paper, have them write a time signature on each line and deliberately write INCORRECT measures to try to trick a class mate. (Actually, High School students really like this type of activity).
4. Concepts can be reinforced on the board or through oral drill.

Follow Up:

1. More advanced worksheets,
2. matching game with numerous examples of measures and time signatures printed out on paper and cut up. Students will match the correct measures with the correct time signature. It can be made more challenging by using many different colors of mimeo paper. Also, measures can be coppied WITH time signatures, but missing some note values. Students would complete the measures by writing in the missing notes.
3. Additional work and review as needed.


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