I use Mortinson Math blocks to illustrate rhythm when teaching beginners. “One” blocks are quarter notes in their normal position, but turned over (they are hollow inside) they become quarter rests. “Two” bars are half notes. And so on, any bar being a rest up-side-down. I use toothpicks (sharp ends cut off) for bar lines. When I talk about measures, I take the “Four” bar to use to measure 4 beats at first, but the children can usually just see it.

Later when we study 3/4 time and other time signatures we use the appropriate bar to “measure” the beats per measure. First we look at small portions of music and translate them using blocks, then we use instruments to rhythm them. The next step is to make a rhythm with blocks and then write it out on paper.

If you search “Mortinson Math” you will see what these blocks are.

Submitted by Kathy Hester