Archives for 21 May,2012

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I’m sure most music teachers have taught students how to read music using rhymes at some stage. You know, Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit, FACE, Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always, All Cows Eat Grass – or whatever rhymes you have used.

 


This abstract way of thinking about notes is not only the slowest way to get to know musical notation, it is also highly unmusical, with the rhymes having no bearing on musical direction, pitch, or how each note relates to the next. When I first started teaching piano 10 years ago, I too taught note names in this way. I was rather naive and new back then…

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Last month I wrote about developing a steady sense of pulse in performance. Interestingly, the comments left by others at the end of the post addressed the notion of teaching rhythm, rather than pulse.

I found this fascinating, because the student who I was thinking about when I wrote the blog doesn’t struggle with rhythm directly. Of course, if you can’t keep a steady pulse then rhythm consequently becomes problematic, but the student is perfectly capable of clapping or playing a rhythm correctly if I am keeping the pulse for her. So her problem lies with pulse, and problems with rhythm and fluency occur merely as a symptom of that.

However, the focus on rhythm rather than pulse in the comments section of last month’s blog, made me realise that rhythm obviously at the forefront of many teachers’ minds.  So, listed below are my top 5 tips for helping students counteract rhythmic problems: [···]

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