Document Type



Doctor of Education


Teaching-Learning Processes

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Fred Willman, PhD


Carole Murphy

Kathleen Brown

Douglas Turpin


One of the issues facing music educators is the way in which they teach students to read rhythms accurately. Using the current educational philosophy of differentiation, or teaching a student by appealing to their preferred learning style, as a backdrop, the researcher proposed that music educators tend to teach rhythms using a limited number of systems, thereby failing to utilize many of the available systems.

The researcher examined the published rhythm systems dating back to the early nineteenth century, surveyed band students in grades 7-12 concerning their preferences in learning rhythms and their learning styles, surveyed music teachers concerning their background in teaching rhythms and their preferences, and surveyed the available method books along with many of their authors.

The results of the study showed that music educators, by a large majority, were taught and teach rhythms to their students using the Harr system. To a lesser degree, the Kod¿ly and mnemonic systems are used. Although there seems to a relation between how students were taught to read rhythms and which systems they use, there seems to be no relation to their learning styles.

Although an examination of the available literature revealed that some research has been conducted to determine the effectiveness of certain rhythm systems, the survey indicated that most music educators are unaware of any research in this area. Indeed, when asked if they were presented with research showing another system to be more effective than the one they currently use, most music teachers were unsure if they would switch to the more effective system.

The researcher concluded that more study is needed in the area of rhythm pedagogy to determine different approaches of teaching rhythm in order to appeal to the various learning styles of students.

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