WE ALL HAVE RHYTHM.
The silliest thing I’ve ever heard from new students is “I’ve always wanted to play guitar but I have no rhythm.”
Everything in life has rhythm! We walk in our own personal rhythm. We breathe, we speak, our eyes blink- all in an identifiable rhythm. The earth rotates in rhythm, giving us seasons which have a rhythm. Day to night, child to adult, brain waves, light waves. All solid objects only appear so because their vibrational rate is so rapid- so even a table has rhythm!
It’s actually quite easy to find rhythm everywhere.
So how does all this apply to our guitar practice?
Rhythm in music is-well- EVERYTHING. It unites all other aspects of music into an identifiable feeling in our ear, our mind, our whole body. It’s the foundation of being a musician. Your groove- your feel- nothing else is more important in music.
…From a rocking, groovin’, shufflin’, swinging planet far far away, the groove sages laid down the laws of rhythm practice:
When you are practicing, the most important thing to focus on is your rhythm:
- You must know how to count! Although we can pursue music without reading standard notation, we are in trouble if we don’t know a down-beat from an up-beat! Knowing your basic rhythmic notation- whole notes, half notes, etc. is essential in your musical development.
- Never practice out of time. Whenever you are playing, always be aware of your rhythm. If you can’t play in time, slow down and/or play less of the music until the rhythm is correct. You will never get the groove of your music without this being your focus.
- A metronome is a tried and true tool for rhythm practice. I’ve heard people debate this and for many beginners it’s not helpful. I find a metronome indispensable. If you have access to drum loops or a drum machine, so much the better.
Try this idea to realize the power of rhythm in music. Take a simple melody that is easy for you to play- even as simple as “Mary Had A Little Lamb”. This time, however, play all the notes wrong! If you are playing the rhythm correctly you will still recognize the song. Play it this way for someone and see if they can name the tune.
Alway focus on your rhythm! Be patient. Be persistent.
May the groove be with you…