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Re: Teaching Beginners to Count
I have had similar struggles in year's past, and when I self reflect, the one part that I notice makes the most difference is textbook definitions vs. how "you" define it. For example, when I cover notes and rests with my beginners, I don't just say "A quarter note/rest is 1 beat". I tell my kids "A quarter note is worth one beat of sound, and a quarter rest is worth one beat of silence". Then I take out my trumpet and explain for my auditory learners. So when it comes time to count a 4/4 measure with a quarter note, quarter rest, and two quarter notes, it's up to you whether you want to say "rest" on rests, but more times than not they'll understand that beat 2 still exists, even if they count "1-Rest-3-4" or "1-silence-3-4". I hope this helps!
P.S.- I feel like most problems with teaching beginners how to count can be solved with how the bottom number of a time signature is explained. All I ever heard growing up was "the bottom number tells you what note gets the beat". To me that just seemed like a vague way to phrase it, but that's how I taught it my first year of teaching. I then changed my definition of it to "it tells you what kind of note is equal to 1 beat" and I have my kids write down "1= whole note, 2=half note, 4= quarter note, 8= eighth note". This has helped clear up any confusion on how a time signature works, and I haven't looked back. Not trying to come across as "my way is better", but this has worked for us. Again, I hope this helps! Happy teaching!