Are you one of the many guitar players who feel “rhythmically challenged” or are you confident of your ability to consistently feel the beat and use it creatively? Regardless of how you classify yourself in terms of rhythm, your playing can only benefit from regular rhythmic work.
Not only will a keen sense of rhythm make it more enjoyable for others to listen to you or play with you, it will add sophistication, variety and interest to your playing and contribute to your creativity by allowing you the freedom to experiment within the pulse. A firm grasp of the beat will allow you to move away from it and come back to it, tight and sharp, in both your accompaniment patterns and your leads.
It’s in the Body!
After many years of working with students on rhythmic issues, it occurred to me that it would be helpful for all of us to put down the guitar in order to get a more total body experience. Within 24 hours of this realization, I was the proud owner of a beautiful new conga drum and within a few weeks I had an impressive collection of percussion instruments, which now includes large djembe drums, as well!
I immediately began creating and conducting rhythm workshops. I continue to be amazed at
what happens to the students during these sessions and in the weeks following. Not only do participants find the beat and learn to work with it when playing alone or with other musicians, they go from “trying” to “playing”. In other words, they start having more fun with their music – they become “players”!
I conduct the rhythm workshops for players of any instrument (or no instrument!). They generally last about two hours and have anywhere from three to twenty people in the group. I reassure the participants that the session is not a performance, they won’t be put “on the spot” and it’s all just plain fun! People who attend consistently become more accurate and relaxed with rhythm and they always leave feeling energized, inspired and absolutely high off of the experience.
Centering, Relaxing, Indulging!
As for me, I not only get to enjoy the workshops, I get the drums all to myself when everyone leaves. Whether I‘m tired or uninspired, scattered or anxious, drumming helps me relax and center. It also gets my blood moving and takes me totally out of my head. I gather all my drums around me, put a guitar in my lap and the only thing in the world is pure, raw, rhythmic sound!
Check the Calendar page for dates of upcoming rhythm workshops.
If you would like to organize a rhythm workshop in your area or place of business, email me.
If you are interested in improving your rhythm while learning rhythmic notation, check out the exercises in A Guitar Player’s Guide to Ear Training (CD’s included) and A Guitar Player’s Guide to Music Theory.
To inquire about private lessons or workshops with Charlotte, contact us.
For dates of upcoming workshops, retreats, and performances, click here.