Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Another Downbeat?

Teaching children that rhythm is about reliable downbeats is heading them straight on a path to utter disillusionment if not terminal boredom.  I have reached that blessed state in life where I can call it as I hear it; two recognizably similar downbeats in a row will surely put me to sleep.

Let me out of here!

When I am playing and fall into that trap I know that I am not paying sufficient attention.  It is a wake-up call, every time.

So why do music teachers insist on imparting this regularity as if it is an immutable rule?

I refuse to believe that children are inherently so ill coordinated that they need to be treated as incapable of subtlety.  I encourage my students to feel offbeats, to respond flexibly to irregular groupings.  They have so much more fun, and so do I.