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Keeping The Beat Whilst Playing Guitar

Jan 16, 2008
So you want to be a good musician? One of the first things to learn is that whilst playing the guitar, maintaining the beat is very important. If you lose the beat you will end up completely out of time with the music you are trying to play. If you are using sheet music, it will clearly state at the beginning of the piece the number of beats there are to the bar. These are the two numbers, shown like a fraction next to the clef sign. If there are to be four beats to the bar, it will be written as four over four. The bottom part of the fraction indicates which type of note counts as one beat.

A metronome is a valuable tool to use when you are practicing how to keep the beat. Begin at a slow pace, and with your eyes closed listen to the beat almost as if it is a part of you. As you become more adept, adjust the metronome to go at a quicker speed. Learning this way will certainly get you accustomed to keeping the beat properly.

Some metronomes have a click which can be quite sharp and distracting, so it is important that you chose one which will not irritate you but keep you in a relaxed condition. If you discover that the sound of your metronome is a bit loud for you, then cover it with some kind of plastic container. So now you have adjusted everything to your requirements, with your eyes closed, start to practice your melody.

It is of special importance to keep to the correct beat if you are learning to play rhythm, although this is not always straightforward as there are so many difficult chords involved. Simplify this for yourself by omitting one or two of the strings. The sound will be similar and you are likely to be able to keep the beat much more easily.

You could always put your foot tapping or finger clicking skills to the test in order to help you stick to the beat. Learning like this will put emphasis on the beat until it actually becomes part of your inner rhythm. When you reach this stage the beat will be so much clearer in your mind when playing your music.

To make sure you go beyond the amateur stage of guitar playing and become the good musician you wish to be, learning how to keep the beat will definitely set you on the road to success.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.
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