• Rod Howe

Got Rhythm? Here’s what to do if you're stuck


Developing your rhythmic sense is a crucial area to hone when learning to play an instrument and one that can be practised anywhere. Rhythm is essential to music; pitch is intricately woven with rhythm to form the music we listen to today.


There are 3 basic parts to rhythm: the pulse, the metre and the rhythm.

The pulse is the underlying beat of the song, the part that makes you tap your foot. The metre is how the pulse is divided up, it tells us how many beats there are in a bar. The rhythm is the music (minus the pitch) which goes on top of both the pulse and the metre. You can hear the rhythm of a tune by tapping it out.

Rhythm is one of the more difficult elements of music to learn and where some students take to it quickly other students may find it takes longer to develop. Here are some ways you can improve your rhythm at home.

1. Listen

Listen to music ideally with a strong rhythmic pulse and tap along to it. You can do this whenever you hear some music no matter what style and it may open your mind to other types of music.

2. Focus

Focus on a particular instrument of a familiar song and tap the rhythm of that instrument. You can simultaneously tap your other hand or a foot to the beat (pulse) to further instil a sense of rhythm. (Try this idea using your other hand or foot for developing co-ordination as well.)

3. Play

Play rhythm games with friends and family. Nursery rhymes are great for this, Instead of singing the tune, tap your foot first to keep good time and tap out the song and let others guess what song it is.

Basic rhythm alone can take a while to master and by prioritizing your attention to it will really enhance your ability to learn any song or piece of music in less time. When you can play the rhythm, adding the notes becomes so much easier.

#howtoplayrhythm #tappingoutrhythm

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