What's new

Help Learning to Count rhythms and Reading Notation

toddkedwards

Todd K. Edwards
I was wondering if anybody could share with me some resources to help with learning to read music (such as learning how to count rhythms and how to learn music notation) Do you have any websites, courses or phone apps that you've used with good results?

I've always played music by my ear and have tried to learn how to read music notation but I'm lacking the understanding of reading rhythms and how to count them properly. I know basic sight reading (such as reading notes in G clef).
 

windshore

Senior Member
Well, it's a big skill set and one of the books that was really helpful to me was by Louis Bellson. (you'll have to google cause I can't post a link:
Modern Reading Text in 4/4 For All Instruments)
It just focuses on rhythm. You can read the exercises and just clap or tap, or play a different scale note for each rhythm, but the great thing is that it separates the rhythmic element of reading from notes, clefs key signatures etc. If you don't play a note in time, it's a more obvious mistake than if you play the wrong note...
 

agarner32

Active Member
Besides a ton of books available, there are some great online resources. Try teoria.com. There is a rhythm exercise that you can customize from super basic to more advanced.

I'd also recommend a program called Auralia. It has rhythm exercises starting from basic through very advanced. It also has a ton of other ear training exercises. Auralia also has a companion program called Musition. And yes it's actually spelled that way. Practica Musica is another program that is very good and it even comes with a theory book that's not half bad. The interface is a bit dated, but it's still a good program and quite comprehensive. There is also Ear Master as well.

Getting a couple of basic piano books will also help.
 

tokatila

Senior Member
I was wondering if anybody could share with me some resources to help with learning to read music (such as learning how to count rhythms and how to learn music notation) Do you have any websites, courses or phone apps that you've used with good results?

I've always played music by my ear and have tried to learn how to read music notation but I'm lacking the understanding of reading rhythms and how to count them properly. I know basic sight reading (such as reading notes in G clef).
You could use Anki with flashcards for learning notation. I'm teaching this way to my 6-year old with her piano lessons and it works like a charm.
 

Studio E

Eric Watkins
What Saxer said. I was using that app when I had an iphone. I thought it worked really well on helping me develop skill as far as reading rhythm.
 

tack

Damned Dirty Ape
Try teoria.com. There is a rhythm exercise that you can customize from super basic to more advanced.
Wow, those exercises seem to have zero tolerance. No matter how accurate I tried to be I didn't get a single one "correct" out of 30.
 

Fab

protect your ears!
Can't say much about reading music notation, but to better understand rhythm I think the quickest way is to make friends with a knowledgeable drummer or percussionist, learn from them and then go listen to the Messhuggah alot...Rhythm > completed :D

That's just what I know worked for me. I'm still 'only ok' at it, but I can follow and understand most everyday notated rhythmic things pretty comfortably now....which is nice
 
OP
toddkedwards

toddkedwards

Todd K. Edwards
Besides a ton of books available, there are some great online resources. Try teoria.com. There is a rhythm exercise that you can customize from super basic to more advanced.

I'd also recommend a program called Auralia. It has rhythm exercises starting from basic through very advanced. It also has a ton of other ear training exercises. Auralia also has a companion program called Musition. And yes it's actually spelled that way. Practica Musica is another program that is very good and it even comes with a theory book that's not half bad. The interface is a bit dated, but it's still a good program and quite comprehensive. There is also Ear Master as well.

Getting a couple of basic piano books will also help.
Thanks for your suggestions, I'll check them out!
 

JJP

I put dots and lines on paper.
Take some lessons on your primary instrument from a good teacher. You'll learn more this way than you will from any app. As a secondary option pick up a basic method book for your instrument. Ideally, this would be best done with a teacher, but there are some things you can learn yourself.

However, both of these options require regular practice. You will only develop proficiency through practice. There's no shortcut around practice.
 

ZeroZero

Senior Member
One of the very basic things is to learn to use your left foot (the right you'll need for other things like sustain pedals) to tap a tempo, four four, three four. Habituate that when listening to music it gives "grounding". Count your way through pieces of music using the following method "1,2,3,4", "2,2,3,4" , "3,2,34", ...upto.."8,2,3,4". On the first beat of very bar the foot comes down. etc working in eight bar sections. For a beginner this is not that easy, the point is not to fall over during the process. Every time you count a digit this is a "quarter note"/chrotchet. Get your mind to envision that image of a black note with a stem going past your eyes.
Internalise this with lots of practice. After a while you get to be able to know where you are in a piece of music instinctively - as if this mental exercise is always going on somewhere in your mind. When this happens you can start chopping up the rhythms so for example you could start with two notes per beat (eighths/quavers) then create patterns that involve a mixture. All this can be done both with your instrument, but also away from your instrument.
 
OP
toddkedwards

toddkedwards

Todd K. Edwards
One of the very basic things is to learn to use your left foot (the right you'll need for other things like sustain pedals) to tap a tempo, four four, three four. Habituate that when listening to music it gives "grounding". Count your way through pieces of music using the following method "1,2,3,4", "2,2,3,4" , "3,2,34", ...upto.."8,2,3,4". On the first beat of very bar the foot comes down. etc working in eight bar sections. For a beginner this is not that easy, the point is not to fall over during the process. Every time you count a digit this is a "quarter note"/chrotchet. Get your mind to envision that image of a black note with a stem going past your eyes.
Internalise this with lots of practice. After a while you get to be able to know where you are in a piece of music instinctively - as if this mental exercise is always going on somewhere in your mind. When this happens you can start chopping up the rhythms so for example you could start with two notes per beat (eighths/quavers) then create patterns that involve a mixture. All this can be done both with your instrument, but also away from your instrument.
Thanks for the tip on using my foot to count. I'll need to start practicing this.
 

ZeroZero

Senior Member
There was an old book I knew called "Read Rhythms Right", I can't remember the authoress, but she was good. It had a lot of eight bar excercises, The First being things like a wholenote/semibreve, then the second was two minims/half notes, then four quarter notes, then eighths, all for eight bar counts. The foot gets going, coming down on the first beat, then the counting is with claps or sounds (let the cat out of the room first). Conducters use up and down motions, side to side. You could use claps. There are various methods. Something has to be externalised to the ear or body - this is your anchor. A metronome if you want, perhaps the bass drum. If you use your body (hands) then this gives muscle memory - very important for later expression. The essential point is SIMPLE first. If you can't do the "one" in your sleep (read it and see it), then do not move to next square until you can.
After this, you create simple rhythmical patterns on a per bar basis - over eigth bars. Buliding on (with) simplicity in a structured way. When you get more advanced take a look at latin rhythmns. A few months gets all this going.

Anyway, that's the ramble..;)
 

cmillar

Active Member
#1 book: "Rhythmic Training" by Robert Starer

You can probably get a used or like new copy on Amazon or somewhere. It'll take you from the very basics of rhythms and notation up to anything you'll ever run into or ever require (within reason!)

Can't go wrong with this book. When I was a student (trombone) I had to play Stravinsky's "L'Histoire Du Soldat" one semester. Talk about intimidating.

Well, I worked my way through this book, it got me ready for the Stravinsky, and it's served me well ever since.

If you can write rhythms off the 'top of your head' as easily as writing you name, then you've got it made as far as reading and notating notes.

Get this book and be set for anything.
 
Top Bottom