Drawing Quarter Rests

Drawing Quarter Rests in 4 Steps

Drawing Quarter Rests

In music, when a Student looks at a quarter rest and sees all those scoops and curves and wiggles, the thought of actually writing one is a wee bit scary.

It is important to remind our Students that what we see in music is not what we write by hand.  We are not computers or music programs.  We just need to KISS it - Keep It Super Simple!

Drawing Quarter Rests by hand is actually super simple!  And Students need to learn how to do it.  On an exam (especially if I am your Exam Marker), a squiggle will not be accepted as a Quarter Rest.

So, let's learn how to draw Quarter Rests properly!

4 Steps to Drawing Quarter Rests

  • Step 1: Draw a straight line through line 4.
  • Step 2: Draw a straight line back to line 3.
  • Step 3: Draw a straight line into space 2.
  • Step 4: Draw a "C" around line 2.

How easy is that! I like to chant "Straight through 4, back to 3, into 2 and add a C".

Drawing Quarter Rests - 4 Steps

Rest Values are introduced on Pages 43 and 44 in the Prep 1 Rudiments Workbook. Students have the opportunity to trace dotted lines to ensure that they are drawing quarter rests properly.

Drawing Quarter Rests Clipped PagesMia was so excited to get a sticker on these pages, and to understand how to draw her rests properly.

Using this simple step-by-step system gave Mia the 4 steps to draw her quarter rests successfully.

Can you see that I clip the bottom of the pages in her Theory Workbook as she completes them?

This helps Mia to know where she is and it helps me find her current work quickly.

More tips from Ultimate Music Theory...

UMTC Tip - Clip When Completed

Clipping when Completed is just one of the dozens of tips that I learned in the Ultimate Music Theory Certification Course and it has saved me so much time at my lessons. If you have not checked out the Online Ultimate Music Theory Certification Course check it out now!

At Ultimate Music Theory, we want to make teaching easy for you. Here is a free worksheet for you to download, print and use with your students as they learn how easy drawing quarter rests can be:

Download your free Drawing Quarter Rests - 4 Easy Steps Worksheet.

The Prep 1 Rudiments Workbook introduces students to the foundation of music - notes, rests, rhythm. No matter what method your student is using, they can use the Prep 1 Rudiments Workbook to support learning.

Many teachers have asked why students need to start the Prep 1 Workbook when they start music lessons. My answer is simply that when you learn to read, you also learn to write; when you learn to play a game, you also learn the rules; when you learn to cook, you also learn how to measure the ingredients.

So, when you learn to play music, you should also be learning how to read and write it too.

P.S. - Join the Conversation: Do you have a way to help students draw a quarter rest? Please share it with us.

P.S.S. - To Download your free Drawing Quarter Rests Worksheet, just move your mouse to the "Download your free Drawing Quarter Rests" line - this is called a hyperlink. Just click on those words and it will take you straight to the Worksheet. Isn't technology awesome!


Teach Rhythm & Rests Online Course is a Teacher Training with 8 Video Sessions plus downloadable worksheets on Simple, Compound & Hybrid Time on Teaching Rests.

Teacher Training includes 8 video sessions covering:

  • Preparatory (Prep 1 & Prep 2)
  • Basic Music Theory
  • Intermediate Music Theory
  • Advanced Music Theory

Plus all your downloadable worksheets with examples and exercises for all 4 music theory levels.

Keep on Learning... With a Smile and a Song!

Shelagh McKibbon-U'Ren


4 thoughts on “Drawing Quarter Rests”

  • Aimee says:

    I teach my students that. It’s fun. They love little things like that, Thanks Aimee

  • Trevor says:


    I tell student that a Quarter rest is a “W” written on its side starting through the 4th line. The “W” turns at 90 degrees from usual printing and ends with a half curl. This simple explaination has worked for me for decades


  • Margaret says:

    I start with the letter Z and add a C. One has to make the Z a little lopsided, but the students understand it right away.

  • Sandra says:

    Many years ago, I was subbing for a music teacher in an elementary school. I’ve never forgotten the words he had on the chalk board describing how to draw a quarter rest: Zig, Zag, Zig, Curl. Works every time!

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