Can rhythm be taught?

(7 Posts)
IDugUpADiamond Wed 14-May-14 10:15:31

or you either got it or you don't?

When she's dancing, I have noticed that my 6YO DD (7 in July) misses the beat by about one second. She has recently started piano lessons and I have noticed the exact same thing. I have tried to get her to clap to the beat of tracks where the drum marks the beat very clearly and she still misses it by about one second.

I am not musical in the slightest and I'm completely tone deaf, but I can dance and clap to a beat with accuracy.

Is this something that she will get better at as she matures or should she have it naturally? Does it matter?

lougle Wed 14-May-14 11:11:16

I think some people naturally get rhythm and others need to learn it. Most musical rhythm follows a fixed pattern so it's just pattern learning, which anyone can do. It sounds as if your DD is hearing the rhythm, then responding, rather than anticipating the beat because she knows the rhythm.

Wafflenose Wed 14-May-14 16:09:14

It can very much be taught. I start my music pupils off in Year 1, and about 50% of them 'get' pulse and rhythm by the time they start (can clap and play single note to my steady beat, and subdivide each beat into halves). By the end of the 6 weeks of trial lessons, 75%-80% can do it, and by age 8-9, it's the vast majority. I've never met or taught an adult who couldn't do these, so it's partly developmental, and partly good teaching.

It sounds like your DD very much gets it, but like lougle says, she is hearing and responding rather than anticipating. Her sense of rhythm will be fine. Get her to clap lots of patterns, clap along to music she listens to, march to a steady beat, and so on.

Incidentally, most adults I speak to say they are 'tone deaf' (I'm a music teacher, and really do question whether there's such a thing - does it really mean a complete inability to hear any changes in pitch? Or just unable to play an instrument?). I have found that in practice, any adult without profound SEN or physical difficulties can be taught to play an instrument to a reasonable standard. I have taught a 72 year old beginner of low intelligence and with no previous musical experience to Grade 2 level on the clarinet - at which point his hands were too stiff to continue. He was 76 when he stopped coming to lessons!

JimBobplusasprog Wed 14-May-14 22:16:32

Rhythm can be taught. I have taken all 3 of my children to preschool music classes and every child that has been in the class has been able to clap rhythms by the end of the year containing crotchets, crotchet rests, quavers and semi quavers.

chocoluvva Sun 18-May-14 23:47:12

Count the beats out loud along to appealing music and get her to clap/tap/stamp etc ON beat 1 then on beat 3 etc.

Maestro Wed 21-May-14 08:06:58

Or, get her to clap on 2 & 4 and she can play jazz...

angelcake20 Wed 28-May-14 19:11:17

Dd (9) has always been like this, irritatingly for me as I think I have a very ingrained sense of rhythm. However, after 2 years of playing the horn, she is definitely improving. I reckon it's partly practice - apparently my age 5/6 ballet exam reports say I had no sense of rhythm but 15 years of instrument playing, particularly in ensembles, clearly embedded it.

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