Many people new to music feel like they simply have no rhythm. In fact rhythm is one of the things that discourage people from starting on their musical journey, because they want to sing or play a song but it just sounds wrong and they can’t seem to get it right. But just like how very few people are clinically tone deaf, very few people actually have no rhythm.
Our bodies experience rhythms in everything we do. Brushing your teeth, taking a walk, texting on our phones, or just breathing in and out. All of these have their own rhythms that they follow. More importantly though, we all have a natural tendency to tap our feet or even dance when music starts. Sure some of us can’t dance as well as others, I know personally, my hips lie all the time. But we all are compelled to move regardless of ability.
Just like learning any art you must practice to get good at it. One of the best ways is to learn how to read music. A great explanation on that was done by Musicnotes. They explain how rhythms are divided into different kinds of beats.
If you already have that basic understanding though you my still struggle with actually singing in time. Most singers struggle with rhythm more than anything. We just focus on getting the notes first and the rhythms second and that is the WORST way to learn a new piece of music. If you sing the rhythm correct but the notes wrong then at least you are half right. If you sing the notes right but the rhythm wrong then you are 100% wrong. Your singing won’t align with the chords that accompany you and everyone will feel and hear how bad it is. If you are a little sharp or flat but completely rhythmic then people will at least feel the groove you are trying to portray. No one will want to work with you too if you can’t manage a consistent rhythm because it will just be uncomfortable and annoying to work with you.
The good news is there some exercises you can do to get better and eventually become one of the greatest rhythmists of our time. Here is a great exercise you can work on that will help you out!
Get a metronome or download a metronome app. Now set it to 60 beats per minute and count to 4 a long with it. 1, 2, 3, 4. It will feel really slow and it will be more challenging than you expect. Feel the time in between each beat until you have it down. Practice this daily if you can.
The most important thing to do is practice practice practice. Use the metronome for other stuff too. Mess around. Come up with your own ways to use it. Also try using it along with your music practice. Eventually you’ll be able to do any piece in time and everyone will love working with you for it!