A Note Before a Rest…

Have you ever heard a colleague use a phrase and thought “Yes! Those are the perfect words!” And from then on you repeat those words over and over when teaching that concept? That happened to me a few years ago. I was walking through a rehearsal and I caught one of those phrases. The director told the students,

“A note before a rest is longer than a note before a note.”

Genius.

Maybe you’ve heard this before. Maybe you use it all the time. But I’d never heard it before that day and have never heard anyone else use it since that day. So I thought I would share it here.

This is now my favorite way to fix releases before rests. Take 3 quarter notes followed by a rest. Instead of holding the 3rd note until the 99.9% of beat 3, and starting a new note on beat 4, they can hold to the downbeat of 4. This creates a more beautiful release.

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“A note before a rest is longer than a note before a note.”

I used to say, “Don’t chop that note.”
Now I also say:
“A note before a rest is longer than a note before a note.”

I used to say, “Hold that note full value before you breathe.”
Now I also say:
“A note before a rest is longer than a note before a note.”

I used to say, “You’re cutting off the note early.”
Now I also say:
“A note before a rest is longer than a note before a note.”

I used to say, “Hold that to the downbeat.”
Now I also say:
“A note before a rest is longer than a note before a note.”

When I say “A note before a rest is longer than a note before a note” the kids get it. They hold the note full value. They release it more carefully. They play more musically.

And by using the same phrase often, I feel like the kids are beginning to internalize it. They understand it and I hope they tell themselves those words when they are practicing.

Hope it works for you!

Related Posts:

It All Comes Down to Communication
Teach Style First
Middle School Solos – Tried & True Favorites

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