Episode 029: Steady Beat vs Rhythm

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Internalizing a steady beat can be a very challenging concept for beginning piano students. This episode will offer some ways parents can help their piano kid.

Feel the PULSE of the music

Listen to music together

Dance, march, stomp, or clap to the steady beat of songs you hear on the radio.

Notice that music beats are grouped together

Most popular songs in western music have beats grouped in fours

Listening to the bass guitar player will help you know when a new group of four begins.

Drummers often give clues for downbeats too.

FREE rhythm cards for beginning students

Subscribe to receive the free rhythm card resource to help your piano kid create loads of rhythm patterns.

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Clap the beat and the rhythm to a well known nursery rhyme

Basic beginning rhythm symbols

Some examples of various time signatures:

Find the strong downbeats in this 3/4 time signature song by Journey, Open Arms.  Listen to the bass guitar, which changes on each new measure.  The drummer also gives an accented hit on the first beat of every measure.

Another great song in 3/4 time, The Piano Man by Billy Joel. You can really feel the swaying motion of the beat.  The drummer’s “boom-chic-chic” helps move the beat forward.  While you on this channel, be sure to find other videos of Billy Joel playing the piano. This can be a nice inspiration for boys who might be leary about playing piano.

(I was all too happy to pull these great examples from my younger days.  Ahhh…..the 70’s & 80’s!)

For some more modern musical examples, try these songs with a strong 4/4 pulse:

Bruno Mars: Count on Me – this one is a little tricky because the drums are clicking on the “off-beat”.  Follow the bass guitar, it is playing on the beat.

Newsboys: God’s Not Dead – the bass drum helps keep the beat moving and steady.  The bass guitar changes on most of the new measures so you should be counting “1” with every note change.

Katrina and the Waves: Walking on Sunshine – a favorite with my preschool music kids!

Sonny and Cher had it right; the beat really does go on!

By the way, if you decide to clap along, be sure to clap on counts 2 and 4. Clapping on 1 and 3 is just not musical! Here is a cool example of Harry Connick, Jr. “fixing” a clapping problem with an audience mid-performance

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FREE rhythm cards for beginning students

Subscribe to receive the free rhythm card resource to help your piano kid create loads of rhythm patterns.

Powered by ConvertKit
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