Having a good sense of rhythm is not just for drummers! Rhythm is a core element of music that all musicians should practice. All musicians need to have good rhythm in order to lock into the song that we’re playing, especially if we’re playing along to a backing track or with other musicians. Today, we’ll learn a fun and interactive rhythmic practice routine.
The Importance of Using a Metronome
A metronome is a musical tool that keeps a steady beat. Metronomes are arguably the most important tool for good quality practice. This is because it helps us play steadily without speeding up (rushing) or slowing down (dragging).
The main rhythms we will utilize today are quarter notes, eighth notes, eighth note triplets, and sixteenth notes. These rhythms divide each beat into different subdivisions.
- There is 1 quarter note per beat
- There are 2 eighth notes per beat
- There are 3 eighth note triplets per beat
- There are 4 sixteenth notes per beat
First, pick a metronome speed that you can easily play 16th notes to. This means you should comfortably play four notes for every click you hear on the metronome. This is to set your maximum speed for this exercise.
Begin by playing quarter notes to the metronome. You should be playing on every tick of the metronome. Then, play eighth notes, or two notes for every tick. Then, play triplets, or three notes for every tick. Finally, play sixteenth notes, or four notes for every tick.
The beauty of this exercise is in its customization. You can choose when to switch between rhythms and create your own patterns. For example, you may try playing quarter notes, then triplets, then eighth note, and then sixteenth notes. There is no right or wrong order! You can also choose to play chords in the left hand instead of single notes.
Consistently practicing this rhythm exercise for even five to ten minutes a day will help improve your rhythm. Plus, since this exercise is highly customizable, you don’t have to do the same exact thing every single day. You’ll be able to play complex rhythms to a steady beat in no time!
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