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How can I use beat and rhythm in my jamming?

Being able to feel the beat of music and imagine or play rhythms that fit with the beat are important skills for jamming and improvising.

Think About

  • Why does a great beat make you want to move?
  • How is the beat different from rhythm?
  • How can you use beat and rhythm in the way you jam and improvise?

Get Started

  1. Play around with the myNoise Polyrhythm Beat Generator
  • Try sliding the colored dots up and down in different combinations
  • Try clicking on the different presets
  • If you feel like jamming over this, go ahead – we’ll get back to this in a bit

2. Watch the following video that explains relationships between beat, rhythm, and jamming

3. Try patting out two polyrhythms together on your lap, one on each hand.

  • Hint: The easiest is two-against-three.

Once you can do one of the polyrhythms, make one hand loud and the other soft. Then switch, without losing the rhythm.

The reason we are practicing this is that:

  • It helps to be able to keep a steady beat when you are jamming
  • You might want to jam over a steady beat and interesting rhythms

4. Now try doing the same thing but with someone else. Each of you can play a different rhythm to create a polyrhythm together.

4. As you listen to the polyrhythms you are making with someone else, take turns singing, rapping, humming, whistling whatever you want along with the polyrhythms. 

  • Try jamming with sampulator while someone else is playing a polyrhythm if you would like to use a free instrument. 

5. If the other person is having some trouble keeping the polyrhythms steady or you don’t have anyone around to help, try singing, rapping, humming, whistling or playing an instrument over some polyrhythms from the myNoise Polyrhythm Beat Generator

Share What you Learned

If you are using the LRNG platform:

  • You do not need to submit anything for this XP
  • You should be able to keep a beat and explain and perform polyrhythms

If you are not using the LRNG platform:

  • Continue below and share with your teacher or organization:

Sharing What You Learned

  • Explain polyrhythms to a friend, and show them the sites used in this XP
  • Get two or more people together to play some polyrhythms by clapping or tapping while you jam along with voice, humming, whistling, or any kind of instrument.
    • Remember you are just getting started so don’t worry about any right or wrong way to jam – just do whatever sounds good to you. 

Next Steps

Return to the XP What skills will help me improvise and jam?