Beat-blox is a tool designed to simplify the teaching and recognition of musical rhythm notation. It is a hands-on practical system that translates and demystifies the code of printed notation, using both visual and tactile stimuli. It allows students to learn at their own speed, and largely through their own observations.

Beat-blox is multi-sensory, extremely effective and so simple that students find it largely self-explanatory. However when introducing it for the first time, students will need some guidance from a music teacher or adult with basic understanding of musical notation.

Since written notes carry both pitch and length information, I have pared down this visual load by removing pitch, stave and all other distractions. After a short time using Beat-blox, those with any confusion over rhythm reading, and students with any learning difficulties usually produce the same reaction; a huge “Ahh, now I understand!”

The box contains 28 blox of wood, printed on both sides. A block length is dictated by the duration of the note printed on it.

There are a total of 17 different rhythms displayed on the box, some for single notes and some in commonly used groups. For instance a crochet sized block might have 4 semiquavers on the face and a crochet rest on the reverse.

Because the note heads are lined up very carefully, placing a block bearing a group of two quavers above a block bearing 4 semiquavers, shows clearly which note heads coincide. As a result, explanations often become superfluous, as the visual messages are totally consistent.

The sliding top of the box is used as a back-board for the blox. Bar and beat lines are printed on the front and back of this board denoting two bars of 4 time on one side, and two bars of 3 time on the other. If you turn the box over, it shows two bars of 6/8 time.

On the 4/4 board the beat lines are indented, introducing a tactile element to the beat division. If the student runs a fingernail across the board this gives the feeling of the beat. This helps to train the eye to move smoothly across the bars and it clarifies the comment that ‘a piece of music can be fast or slow, but the beat must remain constant within that piece’.

Beat-blox is an easy system that provides:
- A visual stimulus in the block length
- An appreciation of note length by just holding the block
- A tactile beat line
- A limited number of bars to play with, and so a small number of notes at a time to digest
- A subliminal suggestion that the medium of wood – reminding one of early childhood play – indicates that this language of rhythm is also easy to understand.

Each set of Beat-blox is handmade in our Devonshire woodwork studio, England.
You can buy Beat-blox either directly by contacting me at oddsandendpins@gmail.com 
or from my Etsy shop: www.oddsandendpins.etsy.com 
I will ship anywhere in the world. 

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