Here are 3 suggestions for rhythmic training in music:
- Build up your rhythm “vocabulary”.
Pay careful attention to the rhythm of music you listen to, and seek out different genres, band configurations and so on which will stretch your sense of what kinds of rhythm are possible. Work on imitating them on your own instrument.
- Record yourself.
If you’ve been playing music for a while you probably have a pretty good ear for whether rhythmic timing is tight and accurate – but it’s very hard to listen for this properly while you’re actually playing.
Record your practice and then take the time to listen back. It may make you uncomfortable at first! But you’ll see where there’s room for improvement and this will really help you hone your rhythmic precision.
- Practice with a metronome.
It’s a slightly dull activity, and one which is often abandoned once a student has developed a decent ability to keep a steady beat, but understanding how the rhythm you’re playing fits against the steady downbeats, and keeping precisely in sync with the metronome is really effective for improving your sense of rhythm.
You can make it far more interesting (and build up your rhythm vocabulary at the same time) by using drum loops, for example in Garageband, instead of the simple metronome beat.
You can also combine this with recording yourself, and find out how accurate your rhythmic playing is with a real backing beat
You can find out more about rhythmic training on our rhythm ear training page.