RHYTHM: ON THE BEAT OFF THE BEAT
(continued)



    So this is simple practice, but time well spent. I've just written in two notes, you can pick any two, or make chords, change the notes, make little riffs, whatever you want. But count the rhythm evenly and play it, listen to it, take the tempo up as soon as you have it, memorize it, ETC. Feel free to play these modules with your hands away from the piano, too. Remember, you are working on your musicality in general.
    Something that really helps all of this reading and playing is to make the 1/8th note your constant unit of measure, and NOT 1/4 notes. Drummers, when learning on a drum set, play a constant even stream of 1/8th notes on the hi-hat (that's that cymbal sandwich on their left). They will keep that steady all the time while practicing changing up the kick and snare on and off the beats. You will benefit from working on that some, too. That way, the notes between the beats aren't mysterious. Mystery in music comes from somewhere else.
    This page gets your two hands alternating who is on the beat, and who is playing the off-beats. Many of the beginner and intermediate pieces here at WackoWorld Music build off of this principle, so here is your chance to woodshed on it (woodshedding meaning you go off somewhere where no one can hear you and keep doing it until you get it right. In our modern environment, that probably means headphones, or putting felt in front of the hammers on the piano).

    

Be patient with yourself, settle down into the counting, sensing pulse, clearing your mind of the jagged racing thoughts that mess with sense of time. Don't think about anything other than those little pulses, where the dots fit in the peg board of the music, and the physical nature of making the notes go up and down. Listen to the rhythm. If you want to use a metronome, or a drum machine, that is fine. They help. I've tossed a couple on the wall in my day. Hey, IT was off, not me.


Further Study: Louis Bellson's Syncopation ; and Drum Method Syncopation book. These are just rhythm books. No tunes. Bellson rhythms are great.