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Some scientists say that only humans have a true sense of rhythm. So how do we do it, and why do some people have better rhythm than others? Google “how do humans have a sense of rhythm” and the answer seems to be that it’s built into our brains. Duh. But music teachers have pondered this question for a long time and developed various methods for improving rhythm skills in students. The Dalcroze method (Google it) is one of the most famous, and there are some Youtube videos on how it works. This and several other methods maintain that to develop rhythm, you have to move some part of your body in sync with the beat – even if that beat is self-generated. As an exercise, Dalcroze students sit in chairs and listen to a song, then start moving whatever parts of their body they feel like moving in sync with the song: foot tapping, clapping, arm waving, head bobbing. It’s like dancing while sitting down. Rock fans at a concert do the basic head-bob or fist shake. Rhythm guitarists can jump all around the stage. Bass guitarists often just shift from one leg to the other. I like to tap my foot, but in my head I’m counting “1-and-2-and…..” and I’m aware that my next lick starts on maybe a “4-and” or whatever. And you might want to try this thing that helped me a lot: Buy some cheap bongo drums and start messing around with them. How long can you keep a steady beat going? Can you morph it from 4/4 to 8/4 to 6/8 and back again?
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