Rhythm Exercises, Free Advanced Tips for Piano Power

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In this article, our third in the "Rhythm Exercises" series, we'll be looking at some advanced and challenging rhythms. These are really meant to test your rhythmic understanding and execution, so if they're too difficult, don't worry. Start off with our Part 1 and Part 2 rhythmic exercises, master those, and then build up to the exercises presented below. As always, be sure to use your metronome while performing and practicing all of these exercises. If you're one of those students who thinks that the metronome gets in the way, that just proves how much you really should be using it. The metronome is the indicator as to whether or not you can play in time.

Ready? Let's go on to ROUND 3!

#9: Review

At this point, you've encountered a wide variety of rhythms. This first advanced exercise will challenge your ability to work through a longer rhythmic example that incorporates a little bit of everything. As we've been stressing all along, the only way to really master these exercises with precision is to be able to count and subdivide when playing/clapping these rhythms. Start slowly and gradually increase your tempo.

#10: Quarter Note Triplet

Quarter note triplet rhythms follow the same logic as eighth note triplets - 3 in the space of 2. In order to play quarter note triplets you need to fit three notes evenly in the space of two quarter notes. Let's take a look at how quarter note triplets work mathematically.

Just as we can tie two eighth note rhythms together to equal a quarter note, we can tie two eighth note triplets together to equal a quarter note triplet. The basic idea is that if you can play/count eighth note triplets through an entire measure of 4/4 time, then by simply playing/clapping every other eighth note triplet you will be playing/clapping the quarter note triplet.

Quarter Note Triplet

When we count quarter note triplets, we again say "1 - trip - let, 2 - trip - let," etc, remembering of course that eighth note triplets are twice the rate of quarter note triplets.

Now try playing, clapping, and counting the rhythm exercise below which uses quarter note triplets.

#11: Dotted Eighth Note

As we've already learned, the dot on any note has a very specific rhythmic function. The dot increases the original note's value by half. For example, a whole note gets four beats. A dotted whole note gets 6 beats. Why? Because the dot increases the whole note's value (4) by half (2), and 4 plus 2 equals 6. The same is true for the dotted eighth note. The eighth note gets half a beat. And half of half is a quarter of a beat. So a dotted eighth note is equal to 3/4 of a beat, or three 16th notes in 4/4 meter.

dotted eighth rhythms

The Power is Mixing Rhythms Together

Now let's try a rhythm exercise that uses the dotted eighth note rhythm sprinkled in with some other rhythmic figures.

mixed rhythm exercise

Here are some more rhythm exercise ideas.

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