Multi-tasking ... notes and rhythm

January 23, 2020, 2:27 AM · I currently teach a young girl (via skype, she lives in a different state to me) and she is a beginner. She has a great sense of rhythm (can clap rhythms very well) and handles notes reasonably well but seems to be having trouble doing both at the same time. She will stop at bar lines, race through slow rhythms and slow down through the fast ones even when she clapped it perfectly 30 seconds before.

Does anyone have any fun activities they can suggest for learning and solidifying notes (written notes, connected with fingers etc.)?

Any suggestions for fun activities that help combine notes with rhythms?


Replies (7)

January 23, 2020, 7:42 AM · Can she play the correct rhythm on open string? Can she do scales at the proper rhythm? Did you teach her that?
Edited: January 23, 2020, 8:10 AM · My two centimes d'Euro..

Clapping: Slow down the tempo (so we can "add" the notes later) with larger circular hand movements between claps, to feel the durations.
Then, at the same speed, bow on one open string.

Notes: At the same slower speed, sing the notes with their respective durations while placing the fingers.

Then try hands together in short sections (4 or 5 notes at a time) sufficiently slowly to "observe" both hands.
Speed up each section separately, then combine them slowly before speeding up the whole.

Hope this is clear, (and helpful!)

Edited: January 23, 2020, 9:58 AM · I think the first thing is for the student to get a sense of rhythm. That is to be able to carry a beat. If she can learn three rhythms, 60, 120, and eventually 90 bpm in her head that is, I think a good basis from which to start. Then intrude on those rhythms with melody but keep the rhythms going - and "Voila" music is being made!

Patti Niemi, author of her published memoir "Sticking it Out," and graduate of Julliard, has been a percussionist with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra since 1992 who spent much of her memoir describing her life-long challenge discerning pitch and how she dealt with it. It might be worthwhile determining more things about this student's perceptive abilities.

January 23, 2020, 10:07 AM · When my children were in Suzuki Book 1, their teacher supplemented their Suzuki Book with 2 other books:

I Can Read Music Book 1 - by Joanne Martin
Adventures in Reading Music for Violin Book 1 - by William Star

The "I Can Read Music" book had both Pitch and Rhythm sections, the "Adventures in Reading Music" was more for sight reading exercises.

In any case, what their teacher would do is have them "sing" whatever piece they were trying to learn first, and make up words for each note.

For example, in book 1 Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, they will sing it first like so:

Pepperoni Piz-za, Pepperoni Piz-za, and so on, to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle before playing it on their violin. Then the next variation would be something like, "blue-berry, straw-berry", and so on.

January 23, 2020, 10:09 AM · How old, and what is she playing now?

Are the rhythms correct on open strings? If not, what about when the rhythms are "scrubbed"? (the right hand is moved on the left-arm forearm, as if bowing, can be done by palming a toy car and moving that on the arm if that's more fun)

Coordinating the left hand with the right is potentially challenging. Can the kid put down the fingers of the left hand on demand, or is this still a work in progress?

January 23, 2020, 12:54 PM · "will stop at bar-lines";--- some of our rhythm problems are caused by our notation system. The bar-line is not a rest, or barrier, or ritard.
As good as it is, the best system in the world, it is not perfect. The last movement of Mozart's Jupiter symphony looks slow on paper. A typical Beethoven slow movement will look fast on paper, with lots of black notes. The triplet notation is clumsy.
Fun activity to improve rhythm?-- maybe join the percussion section in the beginning level school band.
January 23, 2020, 2:42 PM · Like Ben already said, let her sing the piece!

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