What is Rhythm

What is Rhythm?

Learn about rhythm and how it can help your musicianship.

After completing this module: You will understand the importance of rhythm and how to identify and play simple rhythms yourself.

Start your journey to becoming a rhythm pro by learning musical concepts like syncopation and tempo. Practice simple rhythm exercises that develop your musical skills. Learn insider rhythm tips, and when you are done enjoy chatting about your progress with other Musical U members!

Module Preview


Below you will find a short excerpt from one of the helpful rhythm lessons in What is Rhythm?

  1. Introduction
  2. Rhythm vs. Tempo
  3. Practice Recognising Tempo
  4. Rhythm Practice Tips
  5. Practice Syncopation
  6. Hone Your Rhythmic Precision


The #1 tip: Pay attention to timing!

Many musicians focus on the pitch skills of music, worrying about playing the right notes or chords and playing them faster. It’s often far more valuable to spend a bit of time focused on precision of those notes’ timing.

Better a slow, steady and precise performance than a fast flurry of jumbled notes!

Exercise 1

Use a metronome with flashing light. One specific technique which can help you improve is to use your eyes as well as your ears.

  1. Get a digital metronome which flashes a light in time with the beat, or use a software or online metronome which shows you the beat as well as playing it. This visually reinforces what your ears are hearing.
  2. Practice your music while the metronome clicks and flashes, paying attention to your timing. Switch off the audible tick so that you only have the flashing light. You’re now more reliant on your internal sense of tempo, but have the light to help keep you on track.
  3. Put the metronome somewhere out of sight while you play. Try to perform with a steady tempo.
  4. If you’re unsure, glance over at the metronome’s light to check.
  5. Eventually, turn off the metronome entirely.

Exercise 2

Another exercise which can help is to clap, tap or play along with a metronome beat, then silence the metronome (but don’t stop it!) for a few bars, and continue to play. Re-enable the metronome’s sound and see if you’re still in time.

Member Success

“The suggestions are really helpful and I’m going to start recording myself with the metronome on to double check my rhythm.”

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