Learning Rhythm suggestions?

I’m thrilled with the IFR approach, and have started playing around with the first exercises. What fun.

Do you have anything for “learning rhythm” similar to what IFR now does for learning harmony?

Or do you have any suggestions of someone else who does it for hearing rhythms as well as you do for hearing sounds? If so, I could go look there.

I guess I could use your method as a template and translate to rhythms, but I’d rather put myself in the hands of a good mentor.



Hi Hender99, you’re reading our minds! This is something that IFR students have been asking about for a long time. So this year we’re putting together a complete video course on rhythm for improvisers! The course is being created by Jelske, who also leads our workshop “Introduction to Melodic Improvising”. I’ve already seen some of the first lessons from the course and I think it’s really great. It’s going to be a complete treatment of rhythm in the same intuitive way that we teach harmony in IFR, so I’m very excited about it. It’s still a few months away but please stay tuned! - David


That sounds great, David. In the meantime, hender99, check out this video:

It has Anthony Wellington teaching Rhythm with his Rhythm Yardstick method which is a great start.
Take care, Michiel

This is fantastic Michiel, thank you! This visual representation of time is exactly how I like to teach it as well. It’s so important to see the beats separated in time as they actually are. In traditional sheet music, the only way to know when to play a given note is to look at the duration of the note BEFORE it. This is effective but it’s not a great visual language of analysis. This “yardstick” method (which is essentially what you see when you look at a MIDI editor) is a much more intuitive way of visualizing exactly when each note falls, and it’s a great first step. Thanks for sharing it! - David

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Hi David (& everyone). This is my first post here, after ‘discovering’ the place as a result of David’s recent e-mail. I’m currently doing David’s Chord Melody Workshop, having already done (most of) the guitar video course. I’ve also done Mireia’s Ear Training Workshop (& am currently doing a second run through). I’m a big fan of the IFR view of the world.

Geting back to the point of this post, I believe that video is an extract from one of the video’s that go with the book ’ Victor Wooten Bass Workshop’? I have the book. Someday I hope to have time to read it, watch the videos, & try out some of the ideas!

I’m even more of a beginner on bass than I am guitar (I’ve had the guitar 9 months, the bass 2 months), but I find them very ‘compatible’ when approached from an IFR viewpoint.


Hey David, the description of the video says:
"This footage comes from “Victor Wooten, Groove Workshop”.
Not sure if it comes with the book you mention :slight_smile:

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That will be it. My guess is that there may have been a name change? The cover says ‘Bass Workshop’, but the footer on every page in the book says ‘Goove Workshop’? :slightly_smiling_face:
Either way, it’s certainly from that book. I just checked. The book comes with an access code that gets you 81 mp4 videos totalling ~6GB! The above is the first & longest of 8 ‘Yardstick’ exercises from chapter 9 ‘Rhythm & Tempo’.

Since getting the ‘Workshop’ book (& putting it on my large ‘To Be Read’ pile) I’ve read Victor’s fiction book The Music Lesson (which is mainly inspirational rather than instructional), & I only just noticed that the ‘Workshop’ book is pretty much built around the same framework in the way it looks at music & musicality from a series of different angles (i.e. many of the chapter names are the same).

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Greetings, from my personal experience i find that you can understand rythm in an intellectual way, but after that it’s more important to feel it with your body. I use my feet as a way to connect to the body and music but you can clap or just feel it internally. Tango is an excellent example of a 4/4 with the strong beats on beats 1 and 3. You can for example tap your right foot with beat 1, your left foot with beat 2 and then again right foot with beat 3 and again left at beat 4really accentuating the right foot on beats 1 and 3.

Now you can take other 4/4 rhytms but with accents on the 2 and 4, you will see it gives a totally different sensation like it os pushing forward. Gypsy jazz is an axcelloent example of a 4/4 but with the accents on 2 and 4, do the same with your feet but change the accents.

Then you can continue your explorations with rhytms with a 3/4 meter and it’s more complex sister 6/8. A lot of Latin Ameri9can folklore has the 6/8 rhtym the key being the accents are on beats 1 and 4. I personally tap my right foot with one, left on 2, right on 3 and then repeat right foot on 4.

Then you can continue with more irregular rhytms, some famous examples are take five in 5/4, Money in 7/4, clair de lune is a very interesting 9/8. If you want to take even further compose your own lines in different time signatures, play or sing them. Lastly a lot of people hate the metronome, I think its very important to be able to have an strong inner rythm by yourself but the metronome can be a great way to keep you on check, also it can be very fun to use it if you find creative ways to practice.
I hope this helps, this is just my own intuitive way I approached rhtym.


(edit: this is a reply to DavidW but I don’t understand how to include his post that i’m answering to. Sorry!)

Funny! Might be a marketing choice then, that name change :slight_smile:

I’ve read The Music Lesson too. I found it interesting but a bit confusing and weird too. Guess I expected a book that was a bit more practical. Doesn’t that anything away from the fact that Victor is a very inspiring musician!

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Thank you Oso. Very helpful


(Based on guess work & many many years of computer use) I found that if you select text in the post you’re replying to a ‘"Quote’ button appear as if by magic. If you click that button, the text is pasted into the reply, complete with the relevant ‘markup’. You can even do it several times & quote from different messages in the topic. Neat. :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes. I guess they may have thought that “Bass” would be a bigger selling point, especially given the Victor Wooten name? The sub-title is “The Language of Music and How to Speak it”. All the examples and workshops are bass based, but if it’s anything like “The Music Lesson” there is stuff in there for everyone. I look forward to having time to read it (with or without bass in hand).

In someways it reminded me of the book Jonathan Livingstone Seagull (a book that’s been a favourite of mine ever since I first read it as a teenager)! Sort of as if having totally sorted out flying Jonathan had got into music, then having also sorted out shape shifting(!) too, appeared in human form as ‘The Teacher’!

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Since a few replies to my question pointed to YouTube, I looked around there and found these 2 videos, which will work for me until the IFR rhythm course is ready

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to recognise the Rhythm , when I hear the music,
I like to dance on it.

to dance , you learn also rhythm…:wink:

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