Saturday, May 17, 2014

More foot tapping

Sometime ago I posted on the pros and cons of tapping your foot while playing. Does it help you keep time better? Do you feel rhythm better? Or is it actually a hindrance and distraction from the music you are playing?

After thinking about this carefully over the last weeks while practicing, my take on this matter is that both are valid. I believe that in order to understand some rhythms and to tackle certain rhythmic difficulties it is very necessary to tap your foot. It helps you to feel the rhythm in your body and tapping the pulse gives you the awareness of how the beat is placed in the music and how the phrase you are playing is falling relative to that beat. This is something essential to know, and in the long term builds up a strong sense of rhythm.

Having said that I feel that once you have achieved a good understanding of a certain phrase or rhythm, and how is falls within the music you should stop tapping your foot and simply feel the music through your ears and body - as if you were still tapping your foot. This in my view gives you a  more in depth feeling for that particular rhythm. Your understanding is coming directly to your ear and not first via your foot and in the long term will help you better internalise the rhythm.

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