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Rhythm

This page is dedicated to finding and improving your sense of rhythm. I'll be adding to it so check back often for new tips!

Step One: Re-align Your Mindset

Everybody has the capacity to improve their sense of rhythm. If you have the mindset "I have terrible rhythm" or "I just wasn't born with rhythm" then your first step is to re-align your belief system. Those are flawed mentalities engrained by a society that does not generally understand how musical skill is developed. It is no surprise you likely have no astrophysics abilities: you never took astrophysics classes and you did not spend hundreds to thousands of hours doing your astrophysics homework. Likewise, if you have not in your adult life taken music classes or practiced music daily, it is no surprise your rhthym isn't too good. Rhythm is developed by playing, listening and analyzing. Put in some effort to acquire rhythm and your sense of rhythm will improve, guaranteed. Eventually it may even become engrained in you. But you need to be open to that possibility and put in some study and practice time, and of course listen to lots of music! When I began my musical studies at the age of 21, I had no sense of rhythm and no sense of pitch. But I do now...from studying, practicing and listening.

"You have a great web site, a great resource for bansuri players like myself. Keep up the good work."
-- Norman Ernsting

Lesson in playing faster or slower than you currently think possible

Here's a great way to improve your sense of rhythm:
For many years I would always set my metronome or tabla machine to the speed that is easiest for me to play at. The problem is when you do that you're never practicing those difficult speeds...the ones you think are too slow or too fast. So you're never expanding your
boundaries and comfort zone. I usually set my tabla machine to 208
beats per minute (bpm) for fast tempo compositions (drut), 104 bpm for medium (madhyalaya).

So let's slow things down by doing this:

DAY 1) 208 bpm for fast or 104 bpm for medium
DAY 2) 204 bpm for fast or 102 bpm for medium
DAY 3) 200 bpm for fast or 100 bpm for medium
DAY 4) 196 bpm for fast or 98 bpm for medium
DAY 5) 192 bpm for fast or 96 bpm for medium
DAY 6) 188 bpm for fast or 94 bpm for medium
DAY 6) 184 bpm for fast or 92 bpm for medium
DAY 7) 180 bpm for fast or 90 bpm for medium
DAY 7) 176 bpm for fast or 88 bpm for medium
etc... and see how slow you can take it!!! Once you bottom out, start
adding back 4 bpm daily for fast gats and 2 bpm daily for medium gats until you arrive back at 208 bpm (or 104 bpm for medium gats).

Now speed it up like this:
DAY 1) 208 bpm for fast or 104 bpm for medium
DAY 2) 212 bpm for fast or 106 bpm for medium
DAY 3) 216 bpm for fast or 108 bpm for medium
DAY 4) 220 bpm for fast or 110 bpm for medium
DAY 5) 224 bpm for fast or 112 bpm for medium
DAY 6) 228 bpm for fast or 114 bpm for medium
DAY 6) 232 bpm for fast or 116 bpm for medium
DAY 7) 236 bpm for fast or 118 bpm for medium
and see how fast you can take it!!!

Of course you could do this for slow or super fast compositions by
following the same principle.