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We are very excited about Mr. Arnold's innovative instruction series. We believe that this series of books will help more students and professional musicians to perfect their technique and reading skills through the use of an interactive "practice partner." We know of no other books to compare with them; they are truly a teaching method for the New Millennium!
Example 2 shows how you might subdivide a sixteenth note measure. Though this type of subdividing may help initially to figure out a rhythm, in the long run is a very bad idea to develop a habit like this. It is much better not to count at all, but to "feel" the rhythm. This "feeling" requires that you know what the rhythm sounds like before you play it. This instant recognition of a written rhythm can be developed by trusting your internal rhythmic clock, relaxing, and memorizing the sounds of all rhythms. This may seem like a daunting task considering how many rhythmic combinations there are but look at this as a long range project. You will be reading music for the rest of your life, so start now.
To tap or not to tap (your foot) that is the question. It is much better to get out of the habit of tapping your foot. Too many students start off relying on their foot to keep them in time rather than their internal musical sense. Trust yourself and over time your feel, time and accuracy will improve. It is one thing to tap your foot as a response to playing music, it is another to be tapping your foot to keep time. "Feeling" rhythms will give you better time and make your reading more musical.
On any instrument economy of motion is important especially as the tempo increases. With all exercises found in this book make sure to move your hands and fingers as little as possible while at the same time keeping them relaxed. If you are a guitar player I would recommend my Right Hand Technique Book ISBN 0-9648632-6-X as a companion book to help you develop the proper right hand technique.
You should also read the examples found in this book with both a straight eighth or a "swing" feel. The audio examples found on my website have the straight eighth feel. To work on using a swing feel I recommend getting together with a drummer or playing along with your favorite swing drummer on CD. Most swing tunes are written out using the rhythmic level found in book one of this series i.e. eighth notes. Contemporary fusion compositions that incorporate Rap and Hip Hop grooves use the sixteenth note metric level found in this book. Therefore it is a good idea to read these rhythms with a swing feel.
Many of my students have asked me how they can improve their comprehension and execution of rhythms. This book is an attempt to fill those needs.
Although there are many books out that help you learn your rhythms this series of books is unique in that each example is accompanied by an audio example. The audio examples use midi files. Midi files programs can be downloaded for free on the internet.
This book is part of a sight reading series aimed at getting a student proficient at recognizing and playing rhythms. Other volumes in this series will introduce melodic shapes in different stylistic contexts. See the final pages of this book for a complete listing and description of current music related publications.
Rhythm Primer is a breakthrough in music instruction, using the internet as a teaching tool! This book is for any instrumentalist seeking to develop their understanding of rhythms. This volume concentrates on the basic rhythms and is a thesaurus of rhythmic patterns. All examples use one pitch, allowing the student to focus completely on time and rhythm.