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Student practises wrong rhythms!


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#1 funkiepiano

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 16:04

One of my school keyboard students, an 8yo girl, is doing quite well except for her rhythms. She works really hard and is getting quite fluent at playing hands together, but she will forget to play quavers quickly, or forget to hold a minim or dotted minim etc. We do rhythm games, flashcards, clapping the pulse etc in most lessons and she doesn’t have any problems. But she goes home with a new piece, which we’ve sight-read in the lesson with some input from me, and will come back having practised all the rhythms wrong. It’s then really hard to correct them, and she gets cross at me when I point them out. I’m hoping she will take a Music Medal soon, but not before she’s improved her rhythm. Any suggestions please?
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#2 Latin pianist

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 16:55

I assume you write hints on her music. For very young students I sometimes simply write eg quick quick above 2 quavers or hold for 2 above a mimim. I know some teachers use things like cup of tea or similar for rhythms. Otherwise I find the sense of rhythm does eventually click in.
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#3 Boogaloo

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 18:40

I find that this is the case with a lot of younger pupils. I've had a y8 girl today who played perfect rhythm for her quite complex piece and we spent a minute or so afterwards reflecting on how far she has come as she used to be tears in lessons because of rhythms and not wanting to try the way I was suggesting. I write dots representing quavers etc placed in the exact spots in the tricky bars where they would or do occur - for some reason some of mine are able to work with dots yet not with 1+2+3+ etc! Sometimes there's nothing that explains what goes on in their heads!!! What about her counting out aloud and getting her carer/s to check she does this at home too?


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#4 zwhe

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 19:00

Not just younger - I have a 15 year old pupil who is rhythmically challenged. She can play most of the notes (flute) with a lovely tone, has no problem reading pitch, but prefers to play crotchets, no matter what is written. I have made slow progress, and now she usually plays longer notes correctly, but has real problems dividing notes. For her it is a practical issue, rather than a reading one - if I put a metronome on and get her to clap quavers, she has real problems doing it. Its now one of her daily tasks. Its a real shame, because if she could do it she would be at least grade 4, but as it is would most likely fail grade 1!


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#5 Piano Meg

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 19:48

Singing it first (with/without tapping the pulse) and asking her to do the same at home?


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#6 jenny

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:07

 I write dots representing quavers etc placed in the exact spots in the tricky bars where they would or do occur - for some reason some of mine are able to work with dots yet not with 1+2+3+ etc! Sometimes there's nothing that explains what goes on in their heads!!!

 

That's an interesting idea! I also find that writing in 1+2+ confuses some young pupils. It can work in the lesson, when we can say one and two and... out loud, but then at home, they seem to forget how it works. Some theory books use the 1+2+ idea when introducing quavers, so this can tie in with practical work.


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#7 maggiemay

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:19

I agree that 1+2+ doesn’t work for many students. 

 

I also particularly dislike the method used in Piano Adventures, which uses ‘running’ for quavers, as this risks coming out in a very uneven way - with a very short first quaver. 

 

I have had more success with ‘jog-ging’ (sorry, Cyrilla!!) 

 

It needs lots of oral practice, though, with saying and clapping the rhythms, a bar or two at a time, and keeping the ‘jog-ging’ very steady indeed.  So eg ‘. Walk,  walk,  jog-ging,  walk.

 

And it’s vital the pupil goes through the same steps at home before trying to add a melody, especially if it’s a remedial job, otherwise the old method of playing in crotchets may persist, as they may continue to hear in their head what they were used to playing last week. 


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#8 RuthP

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:26

For young students with rhythmic problems like that, I often find that using words helps them make more sense of the rhythms, e.g. “coffee” for quavers and “tea” for crotchets.
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#9 Bagpuss

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:40

Just use Kodaly :)
B x
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#10 jenny

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 12:28

I find that most young pupils starting work on quavers tend to start to play them too quickly and so end up with what sounds like semiquaver-dotted quaver, so I'm always having to work on the evenness of the 2 quavers. We do lots of tapping and the Flip a Rhythm books really help with this. The idea of using a word like jogging or running is a good one. I'm old enough to remember primary school music lessons using Ta Ta Taffi-Teffy (that really doesn't look right!).  :lol:


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#11 Gran'piano

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 14:27

I seem to remember it as ta ta tiffy taffy but it was indeed a very LONG while ago.
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#12 Latin pianist

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 16:56

Would duets help her? I find them very useful for teaching rhythm at all levels. I've just been playing some Diabelli ones with a grade 6 student and we looked at some quite complex rhythms and she had to count carefully.
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