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  • bossa nova

    Playing Guitar in Rhythm- Play in Time by Using Loops to Practice

    by Simon James.

    Music cannot function without rhythm. It would be like a body without a heartbeat. How would we know when the chorus is coming and how would we know what to dance to?

    An old flamenco teacher of mine used to tell me, that music is about three things:

    “Compas, compas and compas!”

    or in English:

    “Rhythm, rhythm and rhythm!”

    The rhythm is the pulse of the music. As a musician you can get away with playing the odd wrong note, but if you play out of rhythm it will feel really uncomfortable. It’s a pulse after all and you wouldn’t feel particularly comfortable in yourself if your heart kept missing beats now, would you?

    When you are practicing you must play everything to a rhythm. Practice your scales and technical exercises with a metronome and make sure that when you are learning a new riff or chord progression that you do so on a loop.

    Practising on a loop involves playing a section of music over and over in repetition until you can play it correctly and it enables you to get a feel for playing in time.

    Avoid stopping every time you make a mistake. Instead, attempt to continue, so that you move with the pulse of the music and then endeavour to improve upon the mistake as the loop comes around again. As well as training you to play in rhythm effectively it trains your musical mind to be able think about what is coming next and organize your technique and fingering whilst you are playing.

    This is an essential part of being a musician and is something that you must adhere to from the outset. It will make everything you play sound more recognizeable, allow you to play with other musicians with greater ease and will encourage greater confidence in your own playing, as you will understand exactly where every note falls in relation to the beat.


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