Students who ignore rests disrupt the flow and metre of their music. These students need to notice the rests, and have the conviction to count them out fully.

Restlessness: Freezeframe

What if your student had to literally freeze during the rests? Making rests into a game in this way can capture student’s imagination and make them want to find the rests so they can play along.


  • Ask your student to play as normal, except that when she comes to a rest she must pause mid-air while you count it out.
  • Count the rests out loud using whatever method you prefer.
  • Ask her to repeat, this time counting the rests out loud herself.
  • The third time, tell her to count the rests in her head during her Freezeframes.
  • She can practice at home using these second two steps: the first time counting out loud, the second time in her head. Write these steps somewhere prominent so she’ll remember how to do the Freezeframes at home.
  • Repeat at subsequent lessons and for different pieces as necessary.

Restlessness: Take Action

Be inventive with these actions and they can be a ton of fun! Plus giving your student something to do during the rests will stop her from feeling like she is just “waiting” to continue.


  • Design actions that match the counting she will do during the rests. For example:
    • A clap for all crotchet (quarter) rests
    • A nod for quaver (eighth) rests
    • Tapping: head-lap-shoulders-lap for a four beat rest
  • Practice with these actions and use drawings (stick figures are fine!) to remind her how to do them at home.
  • When she’s ready you can transition to merely imagining these actions instead of actually doing them. Unless you want some interesting performances!