Developing a good sense of rhythm is one of the most challenging parts of being a piano teacher. It’s not something that arrives overnight, and it’s something that must be maintained as the student advances to music with more advanced rhythms and time signatures. It truly is something that must be developed.
I’d like to suggest that there are three components to having and developing what we so loosely refer to as a “good sense of rhythm”:
- A sense of beat. This means the ability to maintain a steady beat/pulse. This is probably the most common and most basic problem that students encounter when it comes to rhythm issues in their piece. The inability to maintain a steady beat/pulse is crucial for developing #’s 2 and 3 below.
- A sense of rhythm (i.e., note values). This involves being able to accurately identify and execute the various note values within a variety of tempi. Beginner students may struggle with placing eighth notes within a quarter note beat, while more advanced students may struggle with syncopated rhythms or playing 2 against 3. It is nearly impossible to develop a sense of rhythm without first developing a sense of beat (#1 above). Continue reading “Developing a Good Sense of Rhythm”