Great app to improve rhythmic accuracy

Anyone who has an iPhone, iPad, etc might find Rhythm Sight Reading Trainer by Rolfs Apps a good way to work on their time, coordination and reading skills.  I don’t remember spending the $3 on the app but it definitely has been worth the value.

Behind, on top, or in front?

One of my long-standing challenges as a musician has been to develop better time.  You can check some of my ideas that might help you as well. This app is great because it shows you visually when you have been rushing or dragging.  Sometimes some interesting patterns emerge.  For someone like me who has relates to a lot of things visually, seeing the patterns is a quick way to get feedback.

Check out Rolf Apps webpage with screenshots

Play with fingers or with guitar

Another cool feature turns on the microphone and allows you to play with a muted guitar.  There may be some mixups because of the microphone misinterpreting your notes but I use that as an opportunity to change my technique to get a clearer attack.  I recommend setting the testing mode up to 5x the phrase instead of just once or twice.  You may notice that certain parts of the phrase are rushed and others are held back.  With this you can get everything straight down the middle, if you want.  You can also practice playing always behind the beat or ahead or mix things up with phrasing.  Or you can play multiple muted notes and work on right and left-hand coordination. One trick that helps is to pay more attention to your picking hand.  I think a lot of guitar players are in the habit of just looking at their fretboard.  Looking at the picking hand helps the might to focus on phrasing and rhythm.

No substitute for the real thing

But if you are waiting somewhere and you have headphones, this is a great way to practice.

2 warnings

  1. When I played this app for a while on iPhone, my eyes started to hurt.  I would recommend being careful with your eyes.
  2. Having metronomic good time is a good skill but having real groove is essential – remember what comes first!

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