Give 'em Rhythm
By Guitar lessons in Edinburgh, Jul 5 2018 09:37PM
In the last Guitar lessons in Edinburgh blog we talked about learning the fretboard in various ways. Now you've learnt all your all your stuff (scales, arpeggios etc.), and you've learnt it really well. So if playing music is our vocabulary, then we've just learnt all the words. Which is pretty good! Now we know the perfect word to use in every situation (a skill that would undoubtedly have benefited this blog...). Think how articulate you could be if you knew every word? Still, part of the problem is that we know a lot of words but we have trouble putting them into sentences. Stepping away from the analogy for a moment, the remedy for this in musical terms is rhythm. Unfortunately most Edinburgh guitar classes won't focus on rhythm as it's hard to teach, but if you have a strong rhythm in ANY genre of popular music (less important for classical), you're probably going to sound pretty good (and having a bad rhythm will mean the opposite). This is how you're going to be able to use those big fancy words you've learnt. If you have a musical idea, like some kind of scale or interval pattern, then applying that to a hip, off-beat syncopated rhythm is, if played accurately, going to sound pretty cool. So how do we get good rhythm? Well first we need to understand and 'hear' the subdivisions. Subdivisions are simply how we divide the pulse: 2 notes per beat, 3 notes per beat, 4 notes per beat, 3 notes every 2 beats etc. Many different possibilities. Regardless of this being Edinburgh GUITAR lessons, the first exercise we can try doesn't even involve the guitar. All you need to do is count rhythms in your head along to a metronome (or your footsteps if you're walking around!). This is stellar for improving rhythm as it isn't limited to the vague 30 minutes you spend every other day practising (lazy sod that you are), but can be done while you're waiting for the bus or whenever you have a spare 5 minutes. So the first thing to do is literally just count through a bunch of subdivisions, like the ones mentioned above (so for triplets, in your head you might counting 123123123 with the 'one' being on the beat). Then try singing (if you're waiting for the bus probably do this in your head...) riffs, melodies and jazz heads along to one tempo. This is the first stage in developing your rhythm: most of us 'hear' things at the original tempo and if you're new to this you may have a hard time adjusting it to a different tempo; this process is good for your rhythm. That's all for now, more on this rhythm business next time. Check out www.guitarlessonsinedinburgh.com if you've any questions!