The answer to this is so simple. It’s should be the easiest thing to do but it somehow perplexes people to the point of giving up on playing music all together. It’s really too bad because if most of the people baffled by rhythm had just been willing to SLOW DOWN then they wouldn’t have given up. Simply slowing down will make it easier to perform any rhythm with complete accuracy. Learning music can be excessively stressful if you are forcing yourself to perform music at a tempo that you have yet to achieve. It can be difficult to play certain songs suddenly at a lower tempo when you always hear them fast. Here’s a simple solution: Pick a slower song! Most people who struggle with rhythm are simply impatient with the process. I say you should fall in love with the process. Learn to like achieving faster and faster tempos with the same exercise. If you do one exercise over and over while steadily building your tempo, you won’t even notice that it’s getting faster. Coordination and ability naturally grows if you allow steady progress. We certainly do live in a world of having things and having them right now! With learning to play rhythms accurately, there are really no short cuts. You either fall in love with the process or you drag yourself through a wretched experience of always trying to keep up and never quite getting there. There are some people that have more inclinations to certain things and thus some will have an easier time learning to play fast. Professional musicians know that they have to warm up and many times the first few repetitions will be at slower tempos. Be humble, slow down your music and watch your ability soar. If you’re learning to play rock, blues or pop music then this is all a matter of simply counting to four. Almost all songs count 4 beats over and over again, and success can be equated with your mastery of counting to 4. Being aware and staying focused on the four count will become effortless with routine practice. It’s important to use a metronome during all practice sessions. The Korg MA-30 is a great little metronome that can be carried around easily in just about any instrument case. Actually, I think a Piccolo case is too small. The MA-30 is awesome though and will certainly give you all the 4 counts necessary to mastering your rhythms. Drum machines are cool to practice with also. I’m sure that some of the purists in the music education field would disagree with using them to practice, but it certainly provides a very cool alternative to practicing with a basic metronome.
Kenneth McAllister says
I have published four Rhythm Readers for Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone and Violin the first in a series of 10. Simple to follow exercises designed for the young player, but evidently also being used by adults, who have difficulty with rhythm and timing.
Available through sheetmusicplus.com and Amazon
Thanks Kenneth, I’ll check out your work!