Reply To: "I can't play it slow"

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A lot of the time my students aren’t able to play it slow because they lack an understanding in how the rhythm relates to the tempo. I would practice counting the rhythms, then subdivide the beat for them until they can play it half time (or slower) consistently and then gradually speed up to full tempo. The whole time tapping the appropriate subdivisions on a wood block or with drumsticks.

As far as getting them to buy into this, I try to use sports analogies since a lot of my kids are also on sports teams. I would compare slowing down rhythms to breaking down your shot in basketball, form running in track, doing swimming drills to make your stroke more efficient, etc. No one would swim the 100 m freestyle with a swim buoy at the Olympics. But if Phelps and company didn’t slow down and work on their technique during training they would not be the worlds fastest during competition.