LESSON 8 Rhythm Dictation: Hot Cross Buns

What you'll learn

The meaning of beat and rhythm
The sound and symbol for quarter notes, quarter rests, and eighth notes
How to dictate the rhythm of a familiar song: Hot Cross Buns

Casio Privia

Mr. Hoffman's Top Pick for Digital Piano: Casio Privia PX-150

View on Amazon


All posts will be moderated for inappropriate content. We are committed to keeping our website a G-rated, safe place for everyone to learn.

132 Responses

    • It is completely free to watch all of the lessons online. The only thing that costs are the downloadable materials for each unit. On January 10th we are launching Hoffman 2.0, which will offer a premium membership with new features, including interactive games! But we will also continue to offer a Basic membership that will be free. To learn more about our upcoming site, go here: Hoffman 2.0

  1. i know all my piano abc’s but i can’t rember my finger numbers as easy i also thought that five wood pecker was a easy song to play i also have a roll up piano it only has 49 keys so it seems a little harder to play music on i’m 8 and a beginner

  2. You really helped me learn on the piano, I have my own at home that I use all the time. I have just finished lesson 8, I really like the way you play at the beginning and the end of lessons. I hope you have a good time on your piano, from Jessica.

  3. Mr. Hoffman,
    My daughter is already in level 4 in some of her piano books, she has been taking lessons for 10 yrs. We just recently moved and need a new teacher. Do you have advanced lessons?
    Thank you, Rebekah

  4. My brother wants to tell you that he likes the way you play the piano. But he doesn’t know how to use a computer so he can’t type the message. :D

  5. Dear Mr Hoffman ,

    My name is Daniel and I am a 12 years old and I want to thank you for being my
    piano teacher at first I didn’t want to play
    piano but then my sister 10 year old Abby told me about her amazing piano
    teacher Dr Hoffman. And now I love to
    play it , all because of you i guess what I wanted say was thank you. Thank you for trying to make the world a better place.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your gratitude and encouragement. We are delighted to have you and Abby learning with us and love knowing that you are enjoying our lessons. Good luck to you both and happy playing!

  6. WooHoo! I love this lesson! It helped so much with learning! I can hear the dedication to your students and what they learn! Thanks!

    • I’m sorry you’re having trouble viewing this lesson! I’m afraid we haven’t been able to replicate the problem you describe. Have you had the same issue with any other lesson video, or when watching this video on YouTube? If it continues to happen, would you please send an email to our support team at Support@HoffmanAcademy.com with more information, including what browser and operating system you are using? I hope we can help!

  7. i wanted to learn piano for such a long time and paying for lessons is expensive.
    You are awesome and thank you so much again for taking your time to do these lessons for anyone!

  8. I want to thank you for the bottom of my heart for providing these wonderful piano lessons! I just started learning piano. It is hard to find piano lessons on youtube and many websites have maybe one video. God bless you !

    • I’m sorry you found this lesson tough. Keep at it, though, and I’m confident that you can succeed! If you have any specific questions, feel free to contact us. Good luck and happy playing!

  9. Hey, teacher i really love music , i have friends who play but they refused to teach me. my purpose is to become a producer. so honestly tell me if i put all of my energy in learning piano , you as a pro how long can it take me to acquire the knowledge that i will use in my production. i need rnb, pop and hip hop piano skills . thanks

    • Thanks very much for the compliment. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to your question. For the average student, it would take 18-24 months to properly work through the current 140 lessons we have available on our site. If you have some musical experience or a strong natural aptitude, you could do it in less time. At that point, you would still be playing at a late beginner level. If you are looking for real piano mastery, you should be prepared to spend many years of diligent study. I hope that helps. Good luck and happy playing!

  10. Dear Joseph Hoffman this is Cole I like hot cross buns and I like engine engine I really like the woodpecker one I think you’re a great pianist I think you’re the best teacher in the world I love how you explain things to me it’s so easy the first to song I’m I was so excited I said I said to my mom mom look at look at Joseph Hoffman taught me I thought it was the best experience ever I really like what what you do

  11. I just wanted to thank you deeply for providing these high quality lessons for free. We would not be able to have lessons otherwise. My boys, aged 7 and 8, are learning to play the keyboard we just gave them for Christmas. I expected them to balk at the idea of lessons, but they love Mr. Hoffman and rush to be the first to do their lesson each day. They want to make a trip to meet you someday!

  12. I bet I am one of your oldest new pupils at 71 but I am finding your lessons truly engaging and great to take part in. Thanks for sharing your knowledge in such a wonderful way. I never had the opportunity to learn music when I was young and now I find your lessons really inspiring!! – Peter

    • Thank you so much for introducing yourself! I’m thrilled to hear that you are enjoying my lessons and finding them effective for you. Good luck and happy playing! – Mr. Hoffman

  13. I love your piano music, Mr. Hoffman, it sounds so beautiful! I like your piano lessons. Thank you for teaching me how to play the piano.-Ava, 4.

  14. Hi Mr. Hoffman. I just started your lessons. I am a sixty something retired teacher and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. I took piano lessons many years ago, but was not very good at practicing!! Well, I bought a keyboard a while ago and thought I’d give it a whirl once more. Now, I love practicing! I’m so glad I found you online and I hope to keep playing. Thank you for your time and knowledge! Clare

    • Hi, Clare! Thanks so much for sharing a little about yourself. I love knowing that adults as well as kids are enjoying my lessons, and it’s especially encouraging to hear from other educators! :) I wish you the best in your piano endeavors. Happy playing! – Mr. Hoffman

  15. I love the lessons and puppets soooooo much I want to help make
    Hoffman videos. But I also make my own songs, thanks for inspiring me Mr.Hoffman!

    • Aren’t they great? We got them at IKEA, but I believe they are no longer available. You might want to check resale- or freecycle-type sites, though. Good luck! – Mr. Hoffman

  16. Mr. Hoffman,
    I have trouble differentiating between the 2/2 and 4/4 beats. For example I first thought the hot cross buns to have a slower beat (hot cross) (buns ___), not as (hot) (cross) (buns) (___). How can I correct this? Please help.

    • Don’t worry. The math behind the music usually works out just fine if you double or cut in half the number of beats, so it’s not a serious issue. To improve in this area, practice listening for the “down-beat” or heavier beat in each measure. In a 4/4 song, the third beat is often the second strongest, so it can be a little deceiving at times, but there should be a difference. Also, if you’re not sure which time signature to use, go ahead and try dictating the song twice – one in each time signature – and listen to the song twice again, looking at one of your dictations each time. See if you can sense which one fits better with the emphasis (“heavier” vs. gentler notes) and phrasing (where the breaks are between notes vs carrying the sound over from one to the next). Let me know if that helps. Good luck! – Mr. Hoffman

  17. Mr Hoffman,

    You’re the best music/piano teacher I’ve come across. You bring it to life and make learning fun and easy. You just know how to demonstrate everything. Thanks!

  18. Hi Mr. Hoffman! I let my almost-6 year old son watch your first video, not really thinking he would be interested, but he LOVES them. He begs to do a new one every day. Do you have any tips on teaching him how to find the beat? He cannot clap to a beat at all, not even if I am clapping along-side him or tapping him on the shoulder while we listen to music. He frequently THINKS he has the beat, but is way off. He loves learning the songs and singing along, but getting him to slow down and learn to keep time is a challenge. (I imagine that is a common challenge among highly active little boys!) Thank you so much for your lessons. I am excited to see where music takes him! ~Katie

    • Learning to hear and feel and move to a beat takes time to develop, like any other skill. If a student is struggling with beat, I like to start with an activity that every child can do in which they already use a naturally steady beat: walking! If he can walk, his feet are moving to a steady beat. I might beat a drum while we walk around the room together in time with the drum beat. Then I might alter the tempo to a slower beat or a faster beat, and our feet respond accordingly. Then, try to apply this to any kind of music. When listening to music in the car, or anytime, practice swaying or clapping (or any kind of movement) to the beat. It may not come at first, but with time and consistent practice, I think you will see progress. Good luck! – Mr. Hoffman

  19. Your lessons have helped me a lot especially this one because just before this lesson I was trying to understand how to read notes and this helped me a lot better because it is almost like it. And I have been having trouble understanding skips and stairs on the piano, I don’t know which keys to do.

    • There are officially 100 lessons posted so far, plus a few bonus lessons. Unit 6 (Lessons 101-120) is in the works and will be available soon! – Mr. Hoffman

  20. I alredy new ta and tete and sh because i had an old music techer but i do not know more than that.Hope for more in later lessons.

  21. Really found the exercise with the heart mat very helpful. Thank you Mr. Hoffman! I’ve two questions though. How would we describe Woodpecker Tap Tap’s rhythm? Would it be something like the following:

    Ta (wood) Ti-Ti (peck-ker) Ta (tap) Ta (tap)
    Ta (wood) Ti-Ti (peck-ker) Ta (tap) Ta (tap)
    Ta (wood) Ti-Ti (peck-ker) Ta (tap) Ta (tap)
    Ta (wood) Ti-Ti (peck-ker) Ta (tap) Ta (tap)
    Ta (wood) Ti-Ti (peck-ker) Ta (tap) Ta (tap)
    Ta (look-) Ta (-king) Ta (for) Ta (a)
    Ta (bug) Rest Ta (yum) Rest

    And what about Engine Engine? Would it be something like this:

    Ta (engine) Ta (engine) Ta (number) Ta (nine)
    Ta (going) Ta (down) Ta (Chicago) Ta (line)
    Ta (if the) Ta (train) Ta (falls off) Ta (the track)
    Ta (will I) Ta (get my) Ta (money) Ta (back?)
    Ta (yes) Ta (no) Ta (maybe) Ta (so)
    Ta (ch) Ta (ch) Ta (ch) Ta (ch)

    • Good job! Going back to apply what you learn to previous lessons and songs is a wonderful way to practice the new concepts you are learning. Your rhythm dictation for both songs is just right! Keep up the good work! – Mr. Hoffman

    • I’m sorry you feel that way – I do try to respond when people submit questions I can help with, and I apologize if I missed some. If you’re having trouble with any of the concepts in the lessons feel free to leave questions in the comments, check out our Support articles, or email our customer support at Support@HoffmanAcademy.com.

    • Kimberly – Try practicing as if you are in slow motion or that your hands are moving through honey. This technique can seem unnatural at first, but if you keep practicing it will begin to click. Good luck! – Mr. Hoffman

  22. Wonderful ways of explaining!! Such an asset to individuals with teachable ability who can’t afford the cost of lessons. Absolutely award-winning!

  23. mr. hoffman i love this web one day i’ll become so good i’ll be your piano teacher [for$1000 only!!!![just kidding for free] i have a problem hitting too many keys the same time my 3 year old brother was trying to play hot cross buns got the words right but not the keys
    thanks for everything!!!!!

  24. I took piano lessons a long time ago and for many years, but I was never really taught in this way! I love this. I am going to start teaching my son next year and I’m previewing all the lessons for Unit 1 to see the progression. I think this will be a great foundation for my children. Great job! Thank you so much! You have a very unique and engaging way of teaching these concepts that are simple, yet powerful.

  25. really love the lessons.Thanks for the videos it really helps me learn at my own pace and time. Can you please tell what was the music(from Bach) you played at the beginning, it’s really swayed me.
    Many Thanks

  26. Mr.Hoffman
    You are probably words best piano teacher. I am so ready for the future and learning new songs! But how many lesson videos should we listen to a day?

  27. Mr Hoffman
    I would like to thank you for these lessons. My child is autistic and we struggled with finding a teacher that would take him and be patient enough for him as he obviously shows a lot of interest in music, especially the piano, but doesn’t always understand directions. These lessons have been amazing, your directions are easy to follow and to the point and he practices the songs and exercises several times a day.
    A very happy parent

  28. Mr. Hoffman,
    My mom was listening to lesson 8 and she loved the soft song you played. Could you tell what the song’s name is?
    -Thanks :)

  29. Mr. Hoffman,

    I have never played piano before, though i think watching these videos has helped me learn a lot! thank you so much i look forward to new videos. But i am having a little trouble reading sheet music. Any suggestions?

    • I would recommend you simply keep working through my lessons. I will teach you how to read notes on the staff, but it takes time and practice, like any other skill. Thanks for watching and learning with me! -Mr. Hoffman

  30. Mr. Hoffman, I have a question. Will I be able to play the piano very nicely and understand all the notes which are played in any song after doing all the 60 lessons?

    • Hi Alina, I think my lessons can be a big help, but how well you play really depends on the quality, quantity and consistency of your own practicing. By lesson 60, you will have many of the basics of piano playing and reading notes, but there still will be more to learn. I’m planning to add more units in the future to keep you and all my online students moving forward. Thanks so much for watching, and keep me posted about your progress! Best, Mr. Hoffman

  31. Mr.Hoffman!
    i can’t move into the next lesson i tried everything and can’t do it! can you tell me whats wrong ? i know it’s nothing from the computer because a reparing guy came just last week!

    • Hi. I had the same problem. I now go to Mr.Hoffman’s website, choose my lesson and then click “you tube” in the top right corner… I have no problems when I choose to watch the video through YouTube instead of straight from his site! Good Luck!!! So blessed to have these great lessons for my children and I :)

  32. i know the alphabet on the key bourd and MADE A FEW SONGS UP LIKE let it go and in summer and I know THE NOTES TOO AND three songs

  33. thank you Mr Hoffman

    I’m doing your lessons with my mom and my 2 brothers

    and they think it’s great they want everyday

    thanks again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. You’re a genius! My father was a HS music teacher who played at least 3 instruments (including piano–we had one in the house) but he never taught me to play because he didn’t want to “push” me into it. I’m the only one in my family who couldn’t read music. Now I’m following along with my 7yo daughter :o)

    • Fantastic! So happy to hear you’re picking up the lessons now, and that you’re teaming up with your daughter to do it!

  35. These lessons are very very easy and fun. Is it fun being a piano teacher? Love everything. My mom was making me take the piano lessons and I thought they were going to be boring and crazy but turns out it’s not its really easy!!!!:)

  36. Teacher Hoffman,

    You are a great teacher. You make learning the piano very fun and easy. I wish you had studios in New York which exemplify your teaching style. Thanks again.

Leave a reply

Hoffman Academy