2010 ASMTA Conference – Musical Time Concepts – Dr’s. Dave and Tina Walton

Guest post by Jennifer Foxx

I enjoyed the Walton’s presentation. Their main objective was learning how to create a sense of ‘flow’ in music, developing a sense of musical time and pulse, and the differences between phrasing rhythm and metronome rhythm.

Teaching Musical Time

  • Listening to pulse with eyes open and closed
  • Tapping on the person (with caution-either on hand or shoulder)
  • Moving feet in time, use as pulse
  • Visually seeing pulse from conductor

The ways you express to students create clarity or confusion. Be careful how you word things.

Have students tap (after setting pulse) the number of evenly spaced notes per beats (half note, quarter note, triplet, sixteenth, etc…)

Phrasing with melody leads to:

  • Rubato – placement of pulse
  • Accelerando – collapsing the pulse
  • Ritardando – expanding the pulse

With metronome only have metronome play the first beat and have student subdivide. This can be tricky.

On a personal note: This summer, one of my workshops I held was a rhythm class basing a big portion of the class from Kalani’s, ‘Together in Rhythm’ book. If you are not familiar with Kalani and his drum circles, you have got to check it out! You can see some of the activities on YouTube. Drum circles are a great way for students to really feel the rhythm. And not necessarily worry about what is correct or not, but to feel their inner rhythm and just go for it. For some it was easier than others. I found that in one of my classes, several of the students had a hard time even getting started; they were worried about doing it “wrong.” This is even after I explained that they couldn’t do it wrong. With encouragement, they were able to get past those fears and really enjoy the rhythm drum circle activities. You will find with these drum circles that you do not need any past musical experience, when the group works together the natural pulse just happens. It is quite the experience. I asked my students if they had ever heard of drum circles before and one of them said yes, it’s what hippies did. It’s no longer for hippies! Everyone should give it a try, it is so much fun!

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