Struggling with your rhythm? In this workout video, I show you a super easy way to build your comprehension and ability with rhythm. Clap along with Brenda and tap along with the “foot cam”. In this video I will clap through the downbeats and upbeats and you can join in!
Getting to Know Downbeats and Upbeats
I love to take a simple approach to musicianship, and with rhythm I like to keep it really simple at first. We can think of music as having two kinds of beats: downbeats and upbeats. When we listen to music and tap our toe along with it, what we are tapping is the beat or pulse. Those are the downbeats!
How to work on this
Practice tapping your foot and clapping at the same time. Allow your body to have a free range of motion. (You may also tap your lap or on a drum if you don’t feel like clapping). While you clap, say “down” to remind you that these are downbeats. Your foot and hand should be happening at the same time. When you feel ready, add the metronome or drum machine.
If this is challenging for you, please don’t worry. This requires physical coordination that you may have never needed to work on until now. Make sure to choose a slow enough tempo that you can manage, but not so slow that it is hard to stay in time. When you feel more comfortable, you can add the metronome and work on playing faster tempos.
To work on upbeats, your foot will tap first and then you clap.
(Foot-clap-foot-clap-foot-clap-foot-clap). While you practice this, say “up” when you clap to remind yourself that these are the upbeats.
Give yourself time to master the coordination of both the downbeats and upbeats. Don’t worry if this takes time to get settled! It is worth it to stay on this step for a few days or even weeks, until it feels easy and comfortable to do.
Once you are comfortable with each of these concepts, we will start to move from one to the next. The exercises that follow will gradually get more challenging.
How to practice
Once you have mastered each of these patterns, then you can write your own exercises using downbeats and upbeats. Practice along with the metronome, a drum machine or even your favorite recordings. If you are a jazz musician, repeat all of these exercises with swing eighth notes.
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