Flat out, standard notation sucks for visualizing rhythms. There is a far more intuitive method that ties rhythm more closely to time. Check out the Rhythm Wheel in the TED-Ed video below.
You'll learn a new way to internalize beats and hear some awesome music from around the world. And best of all, it's only 5 minutes long...
I feel like I'm really going to have to up my skills in mental spatial manipulation before I can actually apply this clock motif while performing though. It definitely provides insights in terms of understanding though.
I feel like this would be a simple system to completely get rid of conductors and maestros though...
Now I know the secret all of you percussionists have been hiding from the rest of us!
* Goes to buy some bongo's... Can only afford an egg shaker and a kazoo :-( *
I bought Toy's R Us clean out of maracas though.
I've actually recorded with kid's toy instruments before. You'd never know after a little mixing. Major recording artists have even recorded jingling the change in their pockets. Get creative!