Smoothing out the rhythm in Jackson Blues
Joy O., Alabama
I have a seven-year-old student who is very keen to learn, and very smart. He often says “I’m really good at this song” as he starts to play from his playlist for me. His version of Jackson Blues has a terrible rhythm. He plays the first chord in both hands, holds it, and then speeds through the last three beats of the left hand. Then there is a gap while he finds the next chord. How can I help this student to even out his rhythm? I notice he hasn’t watched any SHM videos in about a month.
Leeanne I., Australia
That’s very common with Jackson Blues in my experience. I don’t worry about it too much initially, as we have to learn what to do first. Then when I think they know the song, I mention the big noticeable gap when they are changing chords. I demonstrate if they slow their LH down, the gap is not as noticeable. It’s really important to get the students playing along to the audio track to get the smooth even rhythm. Demonstrate for him in class and get him to do it in class.
Stephen R., California
Also, I notice some beginners take the beat of Jackson too fast at first, maybe trying to emulate me or the video. Then I tell them that a steady beat is more important than the speed, and demonstrate it at a slower steady speed.
Cate R., Australia
Sloooooooooowwwwwwww down, use Leaving Early as an exercise to move from C to F and back again. I might talk a sentence while they play, so if they are rushing those last 3 chords, then my last 3 words sound rushed.
Robin Keehn, Washington
I’d nip the issue of not watching the videos in the bud. It is totally on his coach to make sure he’s doing that. Get it handled now with the coach or it will be a bigger issue later.
Sue L., California
One thing I do is play it their way, saying “this is what I heard”. Then I play it correctly, saying “this is what I want to hear”. Then I tell them how to get there.
Maureen K., California
The two tips Neil gives: play slowly and RH leaving early. Also I play along with my students on most of their songs. I play guitar, but hand drum is good too, to give them the feel of a beat.