I mentioned Drum Circle Spirit in my last post about improving your drumming skills since it approaches rhythm from a compelling viewpoint: somebody who wants to include all students in music making whatever the cost. This is not a technical read and is the easiest one on the list.
2. Syncopation by Ted Reed
Take the time to turn on a metronome and play through the rhythms until they feel comfortable and really start to groove. That experience would no doubt improve your rhythm teaching come this fall. Another similar text is Louis Bellson’s Modern Reading Text in 4/4 for All Instruments.
3. A Sound Approach to Teaching Instrumentalists (2nd Ed.) by Stanley Schleuter
In just a few short pages, Schleuter describes what initial reading content to include, how to build a rhythm pattern vocabulary in students, rhythm pattern teaching techniques and more.
But the most notable take away is his definition and description of rhythmic feeling. This is Schleuter’s term which succinctly describes all of the cognitive and physical skills that are involved with the comprehension and performance of rhythm. The blending of the practical and theoretical had cemented this book as the foundation of how I teach rhythm.
I remember reading this book for the first time and marveling as it described all of the problems that I had performing and teaching rhythm. Of particular interest is his chapter of rhythm solfege and the taxonomy of rhythm patterns based on difficulty (you might be surprised at what he considers as some of the most difficult rhythms). A deeper read than the first three
books above, but well worth the effort.
5. Hearing in Time: Psychological Aspects of Musical Meter by Justin London
The book covers complex topics such as non-isochronous meters, metric well-formedness, and includes a fascinating chapter on metric flux in Beethoven’s Fifth symphony. London covers these topics with many notated examples and includes non-western examples in his discussion.
While this is the most challenging read on this list, you can tell that London approaches music as a performer and listener as well as a theorist. Hearing in Time explores the fundamental cognitive and perceptual issues that our students experience in and out of our classrooms and therefore is an important book for music teachers.