Skip to content

Lesson One: Strumming Whole Notes

    Featured Video Play Icon

    Lesson Exercise

     Following The Beat

    When listening to music, you might find yourself tapping your foot along with the beat. The beat keeps track of the song’s time, by creating a regular pulsation against which the length can be measured.

    The beat may be fast or slow, but it must be regular. Each beat has to have the same duration.

    You’ve all heard the lead into a song when the lead singer counts to four and then the music begins. Or perhaps you’ve heard a drummer click the drum sticks together to begin a song. In both cases, they’re setting the tempo for the song. The tempo is simply the speed at which the song is played.

    Standard Time

    Standard time, the most common time, means the music gets 4 beats per measure.


    When writing music down on paper for other musicians to play the music is divided into what is called measures. The measures are divided into vertical lines. The lines that musical notes are placed on are called staffs.

    Can you see the vertical lines in the music staff below?

    Same thing here in this tablature staff:

    Each of our lessons features an exercise that is four measures long.

    Note: The funny-looking symbol at the far left is a treble clef. This is just signifying that the music staff is for a treble clef instrument (which the guitar is), but it is of no concern to us at this point. We’ll talk about the two 4’s stacked on top of each other right next to the treble clef next.

    Whole Note

    The whole note gets four beats per measure. It looks sorta like an egg on its side: