How To Develop Solid Rhythm, Part 2- Breaking Down Time

Welcome to the 2nd part of the Solid Rhythm Series of tutorials. Last article we looked at perfecting arm movement. In this tutorial, we're going to look at two exercises that will really help improve your sense of rhythm. Some people naturally find rhythm easy. I was not one of those people, which is why I created this site- to help you through some of the things I struggled through and what I found to help me to improve this critical part of playing music.

The first exercise takes each type of note from whole note to quarter note and and back, playing them for two measures each. In this exercise, use all downstrokes. If you're not sure how to read this, complete the first four lessons in the Rhythm Primer first.

Here's a blank metronome for you to play along with. Try playing the above exercise without me playing along with you. It has one measure of count in before you begin, just like in the example above.

This next exercise takes each beat and divides it into smaller pieces. We call that subdividing. It takes you from quarter notes through eighth notes to sixteenths and then back. Again, you'll have 1 measure of count in before the exercise begins and two measures of each type of note. If reading these notes is new to you, you should complete up through the 7th lesson of the rhythm primer. Good luck!

Just like in the first exercise, once your comfortable playing along with me, you can use the same metronome above to play along with. Remember to give yourself one measure as a count in before beginning. Once you can play both exercises with just the metronome, I suggest trying different speeds. If you don't have a metronome at home, read my article reviewing a few of my favorite free metronomes available online.


In the next tutorial we'll take a look at another exercise you can practice that will help you tighten up your rhythm even more.