It may seem to be a challenging task to be able to develop sense of rhythm in your kids, although in reality research says that your child’s brain is already ready to compute any variations and modifications made in beat, tone, melody and pitch. Thus when a child is born, he/she is born with a strong sense of rhythm and these musical abilities are further elevated before they learn other skills such as talking, walking, sitting and others. However for proper musical training with an instrument such as a piano, sense of rhythm with advanced techniques and signatures is something that needs to be developed and further polished. Sense of rhythm could not be developed overnight but continuous and sincere efforts would be needed from both student and teacher.
How to develop your child’s sense for rhythm?
Research by experts say that when you give your child exposure to music at an early age, your child can gain enhanced musical abilities and it even aids them in developing their talking skills. Each child however is different and so would be his skills. But most of them would have musical sense. But there can be some cases such as ones with neurological deficit that keeps recognition of rhythm from developing. Remember that some musical pieces and instances can be really challenging and in those cases you might think that your child doesn’t have a sense of rhythm. This is not true perhaps it could be something above their level or you may have missed to give him right methods of developing sense and practicing rhythm.
A good sense of rhythm can be developed in your child with basic understanding of three main components of a musical piece and these include beat, notes identification and tempo.
- Beat: One of the most common aspect of developing rhythm is to be able to maintain a beat. This is fundamental for developing a good sense of rhythm and serves as basic pillar in learning to play piano or any other instrument. Beat in accurate terms is the pulse of any music.
- Identification of Notes: This is actually linked with developing good rhythm sense that is you teach your child correct identification of notes as they are played on piano at different tempos. This would appear difficult in beginning but as your child advances in learning and practicing this instrument; it would become much simpler. Although for precise notes identification, correct understanding of beat is crucial.
- Tempo: You cannot just play any music at any tempo. Tempo is actually the speed at which a particular music needs to be placed. Rhythm is actually related to all these aspects including how beats are played, what notes are played and at what speed.
If a child is facing trouble developing a good sense of rhythm, it would be wise to find out the root cause in each case. Root cause can be any of the three components that we have mentioned above. Beat, notes and tempo are interconnected and together they form a sense of rhythm for a steady tone.
Activities that could help!
Children at different ages respond differently to music. For suppose when you are dealing with infants, they may not show physical joy but as you play music and demonstrate with actions; you can get those little babies involved with you in music. Apart from actions, you can physically clap with them in order to let them learn and enjoy this new experience.
On the other hand if we are talking about toddlers or even children who are a little older, they can stand up to music and show their joy in their distinctive style. These movements and actions would aid them in synchronizing with music. Some activities that could prove helpful in developing your child’s sense of rhythm at an early age could include:
- Clapping hands,
- Stomping feet,
- Moving side to side,
- Beating objects,
- Jumping up and down and many others.
The activities mentioned above help children in developing their sense of beat. With this base of beat formed, your child can now begin echoing different forms of rhythm at a base tempo. When your child practices different variations in rhythms at a tempo, he/she is actually beginning to absorb correct values and functions of notes.
- Counting System for Rhythm Practice: One system that is universally used for teaching music and rhythm is the counting method. This works well for teaching them rhythms and makes concept of time signatures and measures really simple. A piano music teacher should make it a habit to count numbers loud as children play piano and this method although is simple but is really helpful. It improves their flow of music and gives them a rhythmic smoothness. When a teacher counts while a student plays music along, it gives him a sense of rhythmic stabilization. Similar to counting numbers, another method that you can use is counting words. Numbers can be confusing for beginner kids as they already are put in to a habit of counting numbers for their fingers on keys so substituting numbers with words can be helpful enabling students to concentrate on their fingers with numbers while words are counted for beats. Words such as fast, a long note, a dot or others can be used to give your child understanding of rhythms and beats.
- Tapping or Metronome Click: This is another great method of establishing beat of music for students. It proves to be valuable for both student and the teacher as it aids them in making correct adjustments to beat so that music moves in a steady form. This method makes piano lessons more interactive. In comparison to tapping, metronomes are a bit of a challenge for students as the clicks need them to stay on exact beats because of their inflexible nature. Using both tapping and metronome is recommended when practicing a musical piece at a steady beat.
- In order to make your child gain his hands on rhythms and timings, it is important to encourage starting slow.
- Encourage your child to snap their fingers or tap their feet as they play piano at any given tempo.
- Practice and repetition is the key to learning and this proves true for gaining rhythm sense too.
Such activities and tips can help your child develop a good sense of rhythm at an early age. Although whatever activities and ways you choose, most important thing is to make your child realize that developing rhythm sense is interesting and it makes their piano learning simpler and more of a fun thing.