Teaching Rhythm

Rhythm is one of those things that can be hard for some students to grasp at first.  I find it best to help students “feel” the rhythm.  I didn’t quite understand rhthym until I played with a drummer, so I suggest you pull out some percussion instruments at that next lesson.  Use some rhythm flash cards to get your student playing a little tamborine or bongos.  They will be super excited to be playing the drums.  If you need a little more structure for your rhythm lessons, I would recommend Alfred’s Kid’s Drum Method. 

The other thing you can do is incorporate dance.  Dancing will get your student literally feeling the beat once and for all.  Try learning a few basic salsa or swing moves and teach your kids how to dance and count the beat.  You can even add a little music history depending on the dance style you pick.  Jazz history for swing dancing, Latin music history for salsa.

 Now get shakin’.

About the Author

Bella Payne
While working on a degree in Sociology with plans to become a Social Worker, I fell into teaching piano lessons as a way to pay my bills. I had no idea I was stumbling into a totally fulfilling, creative and exciting career! Every day, I teach several students in their homes, in my home, and online how to play piano from scratch. Over the last 10 years, I have seen kids and adults go from timid b... [Read more]


  1. Andi

    Very interesting site. Have you ever taught adults? I started violin lessons a year ago and come home almost every week in tears. Rhythm or my lack of it, is the reason for this. Do you have any suggestions for the adult beginner who needs help with rhythm? I can do just about every technique you want to throw at me but rhythm is killing me. Can you make some suggestions for people like me and our teachers. ( WE\’ve tried the one and two and.. method and clapping , neither work. Nor did dance lessons.)

  2. Michelle P

    I have. Usually it helps if I play music with them. I will play the accompaniment and they will play their parts. You can also try those play a long book and CD packs. The CD tracks usually include drums, which will really help a lot. For me, I didn’t get better at rhthm until I played along with other instruments. Good luck