Having a sense of rhythm is absolutely vital for playing ANY musical instrument. It is one of the fundamental foundations that comprise skilled and intriguing music.
Regrettably, it’s typically neglected in standard music lessons. Undoubtedly not if you play the drums or percussion or an instrument created to offer rhythm.
I once had a drum teacher who was an absolute machine in this regard. He could play the notes written on the page completely, like a metronome. Advanced things too.
The same thing happened when we left the sheet music and wished to improvise—he would have an absolute rock-solid sense of rhythm.
I remember an interview with Pat Metheny, saying that he could just play the chromatic scale but because it was so tight rhythmically, it sounded like ‘some hip shit’.
Truly embedding rhythmic skills inside you is so important and vital for a professional musician. then you can bring those to any instrument you touch.
Whereas those more interested in carrying out tend not to develop their sense of rhythm as much. Its not black and white though, I’m just speaking usually. For me as a piano and guitar teacher, I start everyone off with standard rhythm exercises right from the start as I believe it’s important.
So how can you develop a sense of rhythm?
Firstly, this comes more naturally to some than others. To start with, its like maths. After a while you start to feel it though. So I would begin with one of the most basic exercise to see where you sit and work from there.
Minims (Half Beats) Crotchets (Quarter Beats) Quavers (Eighth Beats) You can set a metronome off. 80bpm is a good starter speed. Or if you are feeling brave, don’t use a metronome at all. You do nevertheless need to be sure you can keep a strong time. Use 4 beats in a bar. Set yourself on a good consistent count of 4.
Return to beat 1 and repeat for bar 2 and so on. Now when you are comfortable with that, slip an ‘and’ in between each primary beat. So 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and. Remember to keep it constant. The ‘ands’ are very important when we get to eighth beats. (it will make sense soon I assure) Start with either hand however for now use the right.
Your right ought to arrive at beat 1, your left on beat 3. Repeat. I’ll represent this listed below By the method, that little bit + indication is just the division ‘in-between’ the main beats and represents the ‘and’ we discussed previously. After a couple of bars, switch immediately to quarter beats. So … And after that (you thought it) after a couple of bars switch to 8th beats.
Honestly, the best app to teach you rhythm is the metronome. You can get fancy metronomes that subdivide or even mute parts of the beat so you really have to pay attention to your timing.
For this, I would recommend Time Guru which is a great app to lay out even very complicated stuff (changing time signatures etc.)
It can also mute certain sections so you need to keep your internal clock going during the silence and land back appropriately on the beats.
This is a great exercise since when you are on stage, it will be you who needs to keep the time, you can’t rely on a metronome.
So we’ve made a list of some apps that aren’t metronomes that will also help to get your rhythm chops together!
This is probably the best apps for drummers so far that we’ve come across. It is your own individual instructor and the very best rhythm-training tool that’s always at your fingertips!
The Ultimate Rhythm Coach has plenty of settings and functions created to make your learning experience much easier and much better while likewise providing nearly infinite brand-new methods to challenge yourself.
The Ultimate Rhythm Coach uses standard music notation, and with it, you can develop customized rhythm exercises or simply generate an exercise using only the notes and note groupings you desire to practice.
Easy Notation input/ edit: Unlike a lot of notation software application, going into and modifying notation with URC is user-friendly. Advanced Metronome: Make Up a metronome that is independent of the exercise.
You can program a syncopated 7/8 click to play underneath your 4/4 workout! Numerous Time Signatures in one exercise: Quickly produce mixed-meter workouts.
Hide Playback Cursor: Difficulty your capability to follow along without the assistance of the playhead.
Hide Bar Lines: An unique obstacle to test your ability to accurately read rhythm without the reference of bar lines. Count-Off options: Select a 0, 1, or 2-bar count-off, or 1 bar of 4/4, or 1 bar of each of the Standard and Advanced metronomes.
Perfect Ear is a great app that not only works on your rhythm but helps you with interval training at the same time. And if you want to know how valuable we think interval training is just read our article about it:
You can actually get the app to recognize your singing and practice pitch intervals with your voice.
The rhythm section is phenomenal as well: complete with sight-reading and tapping exercises that you can use while you’re on the bus.
This app is another gamified app that lets you play through 60 levels of fun rhythm workouts.
Now you can use the app and forget that you’re learning valuable rhythm skills at the same time.
This app is great and I use it for my younger students because it just has a beautiful design and is really fun to play. It is great for learning how to sight-read and you’ll soon be a pro at it.
Ben Heckler is a multi-instrumentalist and musician from Portland, Oregon. Currently Ben lives in Barcelona where he teaches drum lessons, writes and records original music for his band Sea Fuzz as well as playing drums for one of the biggest Beatles tribute bands in Europe, The Flaming Shakers.
Ben is constantly creating and composing various types of music, video, and artwork for a multitude of projects that come his way. He hopes to use his platforms to share, help and inspire others to create in their own ways.