For many students reading rhythms accurately is a challenge. When I was a guitar professor, I noticed that when students would audition to enter into the guitar program, reading rhythms was a stumbling block. I think this was because many of the students had not placed as much emphasis in their practicing on reading rhythms as much as pitch accuracy. It’s easy to cheat on rhythms when reading music because it is often more obvious that the melody is incorrect than the duration of the notes is wrong. Another contributing factor in a student being rhythmically challenged may be that the student spent a considerable amount of time reading tablature that didn’t have any indication of rhythm. Thankfully, that is being remedied by tablature being written more with the addition of note values. All of the tablature published by Consonus Music is written showing note values.
Every time a new note value is introduced in the Consonus curriculum, there are exercises and tunes given to practice learning the note value. It was suggest by some of the teachers, and wisely so, that additional exercises be provided to help the students solidify their rhythm-reading skills.
With that in mind, I wrote additional exercises for all the lessons that introduced new note values. All of these exercises are organized in such away that they are graded, and sequential so the student progresses easily and smoothly.
Those of you who are classical guitarists know that each of the right-hand studies by Giuliani used only the same two chords. This was a pedagogically sound move by an excellent teacher. Because Giuliani wanted the focus to be on developing the right hand in those studies, he gave an easy task to the left hand. In the same manner, because I wanted the focus to be on guitarists developing rhythmic accuracy, all of the rhythm studies use only one note. This allows all of the attention to be devoted to rhythm.
Each of the rhythm studies in the Consonus courseware has a count in and a click track, so the students can tell if they are playing correctly. There are varying tempos, so the students can play the more difficult rhythms at tempos they can handle. The rhythm exercises are found at the Consonus site in the expandable lessons which accompany the book. In the lessons that contain rhythm exercises, it shows up as “Rhythm Studies” near the bottom of the lesson.
If teachers will “prescribe” a dose of these rhythm studies to their students as part of their practice assignment, the students will show an increase in their ability to sight-read rhythms and play them with greater accuracyy