Reply To: Cut Time and 6/8

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I’ve been doing the same thing this year. I’ve found Habits of Musicianship (free download at to be pretty helpful with my 6-8 band. It’s technically a beginning band method, but I’ve found it can challenge my experienced students as well. Unlike many rhythm studies books, these exercises are often melodic, which I find helpful in developing musicality along with rhythm. It jumps into 6/8 pretty quickly (although it doesn’t do cut time, at least not as far as we’ve made it so far). I do two exercises daily in class as part of our warm up- one that we had done the previous class period and one that is new. I find that since we don’t have to concentrate much on notes (since it is a beginning method, it dwells on the first three for a LONG time), we can concentrate on making music. My students are really improving on their 6/8, and I expect that when I introduce a piece of literature in 6/8, the transition will be much easier than it had been in the past.

As far as cut time goes, I would be on the lookout for something similar or write something similar for yourself. OR, to be even more ambitious, have your kids do it! Give them parameters- a certain range of notes, certain number of measures, and let them write your cut-time exercises! In fact, I think that’s what I’m going to have my students do. Thanks for the inspiration.