Archives for 16 Jan,2007

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Do you have any rhythm war stories–student rhythm problems that have seemed intractable, or bizarre, or puzzling, or just comical?

Here are a few of mine, following up on last week’s blog. I hope you’ll add some of your experiences by clicking “Add Comment” below; I’m sure others, like me, would like to hear more!

Carol could not count beats as she was playing. After some experimentation we found that if she moved enough physically while playing, she could feel the beats and play the timings of the piece quite well. It turned out that she was so visually oriented that if she thought of “beat one,” for example, she would actually visualize the letters “O-N-E” and become distracted.

In an October blog (Music is Time) I mentioned my 72-year-old student, Harry, who at one lesson reduced all the quarters and eighths of a piece to straight eighth notes in order to “save time.”

Ruth and Christine had very unusual rhythm problems. One performed with a group regularly but came to me with a “rhythm problem” that involved a simple rhythm in 4/4 time. The other was the leader of an amateur group but always managed to rush the beat while leading her players. Both had such puzzling and persistent rhythm issues that I was suddenly reminded of the book, Soprano On Her Head, and tried a radical approach. I got up the nerve to ask a seemingly weird question [···]

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