What is Pulse?
Think of a Newton’s Cradle. Lift a ball to the side & let it drop, causing a chain reaction as it hits the ball beside it. The click, click, click sound you hear is a pulse.
Or, think of your heart. As long as you have no preexisting heart condition, your heart beats in a steady thump, thump, thump. It may pulse slowly when you are relaxed, or quickly as you workout. But, it stays a steady speed.
Pulse is the heartbeat of a song.
It’s what we sway to as we dance, clap with at a concert, & stomp our feet to at a hockey game.
What is Rhythm?
Rhythm is a little different. It’s the combinations of long & short sounds & silences that bring a unique sound to a song.
It’s the “shake, rattle & roll” from early rock. The “o-le, ole, ole, o-le” we yell at soccer games. And, it’s what we tap on our steering wheel as we channel our inner drummer.
Rhythm is the pattern that gets us off the coach & moving.
What about Beat?
In North America, the word beat means several things in the music world.
It can mean:
- the pulse of a piece
- the rhythm of a piece
- 1 micro-segment of a section of a song
- For example, “How many beats are there in this measure?”
And if it already wasn’t confusing enough having all of these different meanings, a teacher may use this word to describe all 3 things … in the same piano lesson.
If your child is getting confused which meaning their teacher means, encourage them to ask during lesson. “Do you mean the pulse, the rhythm or what is happening only this measure?”
Or, talk privately with the teacher for advice on how to make these words clearer for your child. There is no guarantee that the teacher will be open to using different terminology, but at least it opens up communication between everyone.
But, rhythm & pulse must work together to be effective.
Without a steady pulse, there is no rhythm. Without rhythm, music sounds boring.
In other words … peanut butter & jelly move over. There’s a new must-have duo in town!
Becoming a Rhythm Superhero
While it could be tempting to just leave this all up to your child’s teacher, it’s the practice during the week that really makes the biggest difference in your child’s progress.
How can you support your child in becoming a rhythm superhero?
The first step is to make music an everyday part of your home.
We know having lots of books available as a child learns how to read helps them make connections in an easier way.
It’s the same for music.
The more music a child hears, the more they internalize complex concepts … without the headache of learning all the terminology before they are ready.
Click below for “5 Ways to Help Your Child (& Yourself) Become More Musical”!