Whiteboard Rhythm Dictation

Whiteboard Rhythm Dictation

What You Need:

  • A whiteboard, chalkboard, or if you don’t have either, just use a piece of paper
  • Markers (or chalk) in a variety of colors
  • Rhythm cards like these


  • None

How to Play:

  • The teacher draws a rhythm card. She counts a preparatory measure out loud and then claps the rhythm on the card without counting aloud.
  • The student chooses his favorite color of marker and writes the rhythm up on the board.
  • Switch jobs and repeat
  • If you choose to play for points, here’s how I did it.
    • The students get two points if they correctly write the rhythm within two times of hearing it. If it takes more than two repetitions, they go down to one point. I never let them get to zero because we keep going until they get it right.
    • The teacher gets one point for getting it right and has to get it on the first attempt. This ensures that the student will always at least tie me. Only one student complained that it wasn’t fair enough to challenge her. I switched to one of the variations below and she stopped complaining.


  • To make it easier, limit your rhythm cards to very basic things like four quarter notes, two half notes, etc.
  • To make it harder, include the harder rhythms or make it two measures long.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s