Beginner's Corner: Beat and Rhythm


Beat and Rhythm l LadyDpiano.com

As you can see, two of my grandsons love beating on the pots and pans drumming wall!

Teaching piano students to count the rhythm while they're practicing or just having them use a metronome can be a bit challenging at times. As musicians, we know it's so important to play the rhythm correctly. Here's a few points to consider.

Beat is the steady pulse in music, like the "tick-tocks" on the clock. The beat can be fast or slow, but it always stays the same and steady (unless the composer asks you to start speeding up or slowing down). Most commonly the beat is a quarter note, but it can be an eighth note or a half note.

4/4   F, F, F, F
        1  2   3  4

Rhythm is the pattern of short and long notes in a piece. It is the combination of all the different note values, such as half notes or quarter notes. The rhythm of a melody has to fit into the steady beat.

4/4  F, FF, F
       1  2     3 4

Counting the Beat


Counting the beat will help you play rhythms correctly. It is a little tricky to count while playing (especially counting out loud), but it gets much easier with practice!

1. Start with short pieces that use very simple rhythms, such as quarter and half notes. First just count the beat while looking at the music. As you say each beat (number) move your eyes over the measure.

2. Count the beat and clap the rhythm. (You clap the notes - quarter notes, eighth notes etc. that you see in the music while counting 1 2 3 4 or however many beats are in the time signature.)

3. When you get good at this, play the example while counting out loud.

Try these examples. For each one the beats are under the notes, as shown in the first example. Clap the rhythm while counting and then play and count out loud.

1. 4/4  C  E  FG  A / GF ED CG C
            1  2  3     4  / 1     2     3    4

2.  3/4  F    EF / BC F F
            12  3   /  1    2 3

3.  2/4  AD  BG  / AE  D
             1     2     /  1     2

4.  3/8  D  G  B  / C  B
            1    2   3 / 12  3

Intermediate Rhythm


If you are an intermediate player, you might want to play along with this chord chart, Bruce Hornsby's song, That's Just The Way It Is.


4 bars drums

Am7 / Em7 / D / Cadd9 / G / Am7 / Em7 / D / Cadd9 / G / D / Cadd9 / x2

Am7              Em7  
Standing in line marking time
D               Cadd9          G
Waiting for the welfare dime
D                       Cadd9
'Cause they can't buy a job
Am7                      Em7  
The man in the silk suit hurries by
D                      Cadd9          G
As he catches the poor ladies' eyes
D                           Cadd9
Just for fun he says "get a job"

Chorus
G       Fmaj7   C                       Cadd9
////    ////    ///     That's just the way it is,
G       Fmaj7   C                       Cadd9
////    ////    ///     Somethings will never change,
G       Fmaj7   C                       Cadd9
////    ////    ///     That's just the way it is,
G       Fmaj7   C               Cadd9           
////    ////    ///     Ah, but don't you believe them.
Am7 / Em7 / D / Cadd9 / G / Am7 / Em7 / D / Cadd9 / G / D / Cadd9 /


They say, hey little boy you can't go where the others go
'Cause you don't look like they do
Said hey old man how can you stand
To think that way did you really think about it
Before you made the rules he said, Son

Chorus

Solo
Am7 / Em7 / D / Cadd9 / G / Am7 / Em7 / D / Cadd9 / G / D / Cadd9 / x5

G       Fmaj7   C                       Cadd9
////    ////    ///     That's just the way it is,
G       Fmaj7   C                       Cadd9
////    ////    ///     That's just the way it is,

Well they passed a law in '64
To give those who ain't got a little more
But it only goes so far
Because the law don't change another's mind
When all it sees at the hiring time
Is the line on the color bar

G       Fmaj7   C                       Cadd9
////    ////    ///     That's just the way it is,
G       Fmaj7   C                       Cadd9
////    ////    ///     That's just the way it is,
G       Fmaj7   C                       Cadd9
////    ////    ///     That's just the way it is,

Solo
Am7 / Em7 / D / Cadd9 / G / Am7 / Em7 / D / Cadd9 / G / D / Cadd9 / to fade

Advanced Rhythm

rhythm pattern


The ability to play cross rhythms easily is an essential part of a pianist's advanced technique. Yes, it can be acquired at an early age. Before a student attempts to play a cross rhythm, he must first be able to divide a steady beat into two, three or four equal parts. Practice clapping pairs of quavers, then triplets, then finally groups of four semiquavers.




video

Oh, now you can see and hear the beating of the drum from a 2 year old and 7 year old!!

Drums from Hear and Play is a great dvd resource for your library. Also, you can check out some music articles of mine if you're interested:




Blessings,






"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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