How to Develop a Sense of Rhythm

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Apparently, it’s quite obvious when I play with the KAOSSILATOR that I don’t have a sense of rhythm. Mbonzo is a long-time percussionist, and sent me these tips to help me out. Let’s see if they work.

  • Start practicing to songs that you listen to all of the time. Rock or hip hop songs are easiest in this exercise. Simply listen for an even cymbal hit or an even bass drum beat within the two genres. This will give you a good sense of where the rhthym is. Just tap your foot (doesn’t matter which one) to that beat. Make sure that your foot is tapping consistently and you are not tapping any heart beat like rhythms. As you tap your foot, try to start counting 1, 2, 3, 4. Most rock and hip hop songs are in what is called 4-4 time. If you are having problems finding the 1, 2, 3, 4 then try to find a song that has a more obvious rhythm.
  • Once you’ve found the four beats try to add your hands. Try playing the four notes twice as fast or twice as slow. In musical terms this covers the whole scheme of quarter notes, half notes, and eighth notes.
  • Rub your tummy and pat your head. Something that you may have tried to impress people with in grammar school is now significant! Just try to rub your stomach and pat your head at the same time. This will allow you to become detached from having the same rhythmic feel in both arms. Soon you maybe able to do all sorts of rhythms that once seemed awkward, such as doing the four even beats with your left hand and at the same time playing beats twice as fast with your right hand.
  • Dance to it. If you are comfortable dancing you may be able to pin point the beat easier. If you can find the beat with the other steps, then keep track of it and get off your butt all ready. Dance to the music!

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