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Top 3 Most Innovative Rhythm Teaching Resources

By Tim Topham | Beginners

Aug 22 2014
rhythm teaching resources

Teaching rhythm to students can be a challenging experience. Some students just seem to get it, some students really struggle to even feel or keep a steady pulse. Some students are great at copying rhythms, others like to work it out for themselves. Some understand rhythm best when it's explained metrically, others like to think in terms of "TAs" and "TITIs". 

Whichever method you choose to use to teach rhythm, there are some great resources available right now for you to use in your studio. Here are my favourite three. 

1. Rhythm Cup Explorations

rhythm piano practice

Lots has been said already online about Wendy Stevens' "Rhythm Cup Explorations" series, so rather than repeat, here's a link to a couple of great reviews by teachers actually using this book in their studios:

​Also check out Wendy's Rhythm Manipulations and Rhythm Menagerie - more great resources from this fantastic teacher. 

Wendy has recently released backing tracks to go along with the Rhythm Cup series called Rhythm Cup Explorations BEATS! You can hear samples and find out how to download it by clicking here

Here's Wendy's video about Rhythm Cups. ​

2. Rhythm Bootcamp

rhythm worksheets

​Philip Johnston has done it again! After the success of his Scales Bootcamp (see my previous post: How to make piano scales fun), Philip has just released a similar book for drilling rhythms. 

Like Scales Bootcamp, the concept of this book is to drill rhythms repetitively, gradually increasing the level of challenge.​ It's a bit like a video game, but on paper. Completing the next level of difficulty unlocks the next level of challenge, etc. 

I only hope that Philip plans to turn this into an actual app someday!

For more information, head to his website - InsideMusicTeaching.com. ​Or buy it from Amazon below. 

3. Rhythm Apps on iPad/iPhone

Speaking of apps, there are plenty of great online resources for learning rhythms. The advantage of using an iPad, of course, is instant engagement with students. Because the apps are designed to keep increasing the level of challenge, interested students will keep pushing themselves to learn more. 

​Here are my favourite three rhythm apps. All links below are to iPad apps. Click here for iPhone app links to T-M-A-S-G and Musition

rhythm ipad apps

Rhythm Lab

This app has heaps of built-in rhythm patterns in all sorts of meters at at different levels of difficulty. I like the simple, clean screen layout with lots of customisation. Students tap rhythms right on the screen (one and two-handed) and get instant feedback. It even has example rhythms from some of the big classical composers built-in! Read more about this in my article here.

ipad music apps

T-M-A-S-G

The title stands for: The Most Addicting Sheep Game. If you have students who can't seem to feel a steady pulse, check out this addictive app. ​It involves helping a sheep jump over obstacles and levels, a bit like the old 2D "Mario" games, but with this one, all the jumping (tapping on the screen) has to happen in-time to music!​ Incredibly addictive as new levels unlock every time a student is successful.

ipad music apps

Musition: Rhythm Tapping

Musition, the guys who brought you Auralia, have a rhythm app that not only quizzes rhythms but has lessons about how to understand them. Great for students who are self-disciplined enough to do their own study. ​It includes 18 levels of rhythms with the top levels being incredibly challenging for any level of musician. 

Got any other suggestions? Leave a comment with your ideas below.

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Tim Topham

About the Author

Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at topmusic.co and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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