Exercises in Rhythm for The Elementary to Advanced Student
by Dr. Domenico E. Zarro, Ed.D.
During my tenure as an instrumental music teacher, I noticed that many of my students, who experienced difficulty learning new works, were commonly deficient in their understanding of how to count and perform rhythms. This deficiency not only impacted the speed in which they progressed in their studies, but also their ability to perform with an ensemble. Hence, the objective of this book is to present an educational resource aimed to improve this student’s ability to count and perform rhythms.
After experimenting with the concepts of such renown music educators as Zoltan Kodaly and Edwin E. Gordon, I found that a tiered approach including rhythmic solfeggio to be invaluable when teaching this subject. Thus, I begin with the student counting aloud while clapping the exercise*. Moreover, while performing this technique, I have the student subdivide as soon as possible. In so doing, the student begins to develop strong cognitive skills as it pertains to timing, rhythmic feel and the relationship between up and down beats. Next, I have the student clap on every down beat, even if it is a rest, while simultaneously singing each note of the exercise. In turn, singing the exercise compels the student to count in his/her head, while correlating the correct sustain of each note in the exercise.