The 4-4 Pattern

More hymns are in 4/4 than any other time signature, so you should study this pattern first. There are only three patterns, and this is the most complicated one.

At the beginning of every hymn, there are two numbers. In most cases, those numbers are both four. The top four means there are four beats in a measure, and the bottom four tells us that a quarter note gets one beat.

The 4/4 song leading pattern is: Down, In, Out, Up. If you want, you can start out with just one hand, preferably your dominant hand, while you learn the pattern.

Even though there are four numbers of equal duration, they are not equal in importance. The most important beat is one, and the least important is two. We will say “down” the loudest because one is the most important beat. No matter what your time signature is, always keep the downbeat principle in mind.