One of Opie’s bugaboos is rhythm. It’s one of the hardest parts of a piece for her to learn. Thus I search to find better or different ways for her to approach it.
One of my favorites so far is an app called ReadRhythm.
It’s more formally known as Rhythm Sight Reading Trainer by Rolfs Apps. Three dollars but well worth the money. ReadRhythm allows the student to tap out a displayed music score and to be assessed on how well they kept to the beat. You have a choice of fixed or random exercises, arranged in levels you select that progress from very simple (whole, half, quarter notes) to very complicated (16th note triplets and “violation of the imaginary bar line rule” which I don’t even understand). There is a practice mode and a test mode. If you can repeat the rhythm correctly 3x the app says “well done” and gives you your score.
Before today it was a extremely useful tool to get Opie working on rhythm. She’s made it up to level 5. I can tell it’s making a difference because each time we advanced a level she would struggle for a while, having to repeat a test over several times before completing it. Then, as days went by, she becomes more proficient at that level, able to do the pattern successfully with just a trial or two.
But the app updated today and has added a feature I have long desired: you can now edit exercises to better suit your needs. So this means that for the tricky passages in Diabelli’s Sonatina, I can set up an exercise to cover the two measures where Opie is having difficulty. The interface is a little clunky, there are other apps that allow input of music rhythms more easily, but it does the job and there is nothing else I’ve found that allows the testing and feedback that is so important for learning.
Highly recommended. And, if you know of other apps or other tools that facilitate learning rhythms, please comment, I’m always looking for more!