Music Teacher's Helper Blog

It’s pretty common for people to think they have “rhythm problems.” But what do people really mean by this?

Consider how natural it is for us to have excellent rhythm in daily life, and then go figure why people draw a blank when it comes to musical rhythms. For example, if we were to measure our stride as we walk down the street, I’ll bet our steps would probably be so regular as to be milliseconds apart in timing. If we wrote down the rhythms of our daily conversations, they would be much more complex than almost any music we play. In fact, talking is the best example of how rhythmic we are, because music is so closely related to talking and singing.

I recently had a student who claimed he had a “rhythm problem” and couldn’t play with the proper timings. I asked him to pretend there was a servant at the door, and asked him to order his servant to take out the garbage. (I suggested this because we always issue commands with a strong rhythm…but it is amusing, the ideas that pop out in the heat of a lesson, no?)

musical examples

He said, “Take the GARbage out!” with “take the” as pickup notes to the “GAR” downbeat. In 6/8 time, this would have been written: quarter, eighth (bar line) quarter, eighth, quarter (see example above).

Then I asked him to say it three times in a row.  [···]

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Connie, from Connie’s Violin Page, has recently archived several sets of informal surveys from music teachers around the world.

I found it very interesting to see what other teachers in different parts of the world charge for lessons, what their practicing habits are, and what students think makes a good teacher.

Take a look at the results! Maybe you’ll find something useful to help you in your own studio. [···]

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Happy New Year!

Did you know that the usual melody for that “Auld Lang Syne” song you may have sung a few nights back was not the original melody for the song?

If you’d like to hear the song as originally intended by Robert Burns over 200 years ago, click here to open a new window–go to the bottom of the page to the last song and listen to a sample of Auld Lang Syne using the original melody, on one of the Burns CDs from Linn Records (Their series contains the first and only recording of all 323 of Burns’s songs, performed by over 100 of the best contemporary musicians in Scotland.)

Burns collected the song, which was already old at the time, and added some of his own words to it, to make it the song we know now. The melody we’re used to singing was apparently selected by  [···]

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