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Parent not understanding importance of rhythm


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#1 Dorcas

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 18:15

I have a lovely SEN student, who is full of beans, very enthusiastic and a joy to teach (privately).  The parent who attends too, does not understand why I start the lesson with a rhythm section.  It settles the student down and helps with focus, but the parent looks upon it as being drumming and not what the lesson should be about.  How would you deal with this?  I think the parent looks upon it as a waste of lesson time.  To me, rhythm is an essential part of learning music.  I have never come across this before.  

 

edit: grammar


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#2 ma non troppo

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 19:32

Have you tried explaining to the parent why you do this? Are they musically trained themselves?

I think if you have explained it and they haven't accepted that without good reason then maybe you should suggest that perhaps you aren't the right teacher for their child. They are paying for your expertise and if they question what you are doing without musical knowledge themselves then maybe it is the end of the road.
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#3 hummingbird

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 19:35

Not a teacher so I hope you don't mind me replying, but this reminds me of when I first started learning the clarinet as a complete novice at music.  I started off thinking that the notes were the most important thing, but my teacher kept drumming it into me that the rhythm was much more important than the notes.  I can't remember if my teacher used this analogy but it's like being able to undrstnd a sntence even if it's wrtten wthout some of the ltters, whereas if youu set her ig htlet tersb utwi theth ewr ongs paci ngan dpun ctua tio nitsv erydi ffic lttou nde rsta nd.  That's the difference in importance between letters/notes and spacing/rhythm - perhaps your parent would understand this analogy too.


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#4 sbhoa

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 19:39

Not a teacher so I hope you don't mind me replying, but this reminds me of when I first started learning the clarinet as a complete novice at music.  I started off thinking that the notes were the most important thing, but my teacher kept drumming it into me that the rhythm was much more important than the notes.  I can't remember if my teacher used this analogy but it's like being able to undrstnd a sntence even if it's wrtten wthout some of the ltters, whereas if youu set her ig htlet tersb utwi theth ewr ongs paci ngan dpun tua tio nits imp oss ib letou nde rsta nd.  That's the difference in importance between letters/notes and spacing/rhythm - perhaps your parent would understand this analogy too.

Yes, and I like that way of putting it.

I have had  (and have at the moment) adults who want to learn the notes, then the rhythm, then maybe dynamics and phrasing....


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#5 Dorcas

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 21:26

Thank you folks.  I must admit, I was surprised to be questioned like this.  I will endeavour to explain the importance of rhythm.  Hummingbird, that was brilliiant!

 

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#6 elemimele

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 21:37

Hummingbird, I truly adore your example. It's great!

Sometimes it's worth looking at the titles of the pieces in the book. I'd bet that more of them describe the rhythm (Minuet, Waltz, March etc.), or the speed (Largo), than betray much about the melody or harmony - though some will tell you the instrument (e.g. Trumpet tune).


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#7 Hedgehog

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 21:37

The other thing you could do (which I occasionally do with children pupils) is to take a very well known tune (God Save the Queen, Happy Birthday are my usual candidates) and play it with a very strange rhythm to see whether they can recognise it.


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#8 Dorcas

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 22:35

Hedgehog, that is a really good idea.  I will use that in the next lesson.  It is a practical way to bring home how important rhythm is.  If the parent remains unconvinced, then there is not much esle I can do, and will suggest another teacher.

 

edit: grammar


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#9 GMc

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 07:04

What instrument is it? I assume not drums!    I would suspect they are having trouble relating the drum rhythms  to actual pieces for the instrument. After pointing out how unrecognisable pieces are in the wrong rhythm you might get them to  clap their own pieces  perhaps -  and point out the motifs appearing in the instrumental pieces and how they relate to the rhythms they have drummed.  


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#10 Aquarelle

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 07:16

Thank you hummingbird for that great example!


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#11 Minuet3

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 07:21

I always point out to people that having good rhythm is the key to being able to play together with other people. An ensemble can survive with the odd wrong note, but if people can't play in time, it immediately falls apart. This usually does the trick for reluctant students.


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#12 Digby

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 14:11

I do the same as Hedgehog, my culprits are 'we wish you a merry Christmas' and 'Happy Birthday'  I think in 15 years I've had 1 person recognise it.  I then play the piece with the correct rhythm but 50% of the notes wrong - they get it every time. 


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#13 DMC

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 10:54

Are we talking sense of rhythm, or sense of pulse? They are not quite the same thing. I've come across pupils who can produce accurate rhythms but can't put them in the correct place because they can't/don't/won't count.


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#14 Cyrilla

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 22:35

I too was wondering whether it's actually rhythm or pulse which is the problem here.

 

Pulse is often taken for granted - but for me, it's something I never ever stop teaching.   And the relationship between rhythm and pulse is crucial - it was something as a child that I never understood, so my rhythm reading was always a guess and usually inaccurate.

 

I teach many professional musicians whose sense of pulse is variable - who don't give rests their full value - and who are surprised when they realise this.

 

On a related matter - former forums member rosfrog :wub: was telling me the other day about recent research into the various understandings and performances of pulse between classical and rock/pop musicians - fascinating.   If I had 500 lifetimes I don't think I'd ever scratch the surface of all musical knowledge and understanding.

 

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#15 Steven Carr

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Posted 20 June 2018 - 07:26

That does sound interesting research. Tell us more.


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