Improve Time & Foot Tapping Skills- Part 2

Avoid this Mistake

Are you ready to:

  1. Strengthen your time and…
  2. Improve your foot tapping skills?

In last week’s post we talked about how these 2 points can help you become better at reading music and become a better musician. Now let’s talk about a mistake that some beginners face, and how you can avoid it.

Tapping with the Met

As I mentioned last week, tapping the foot (or counting) sets the foundation for all rhythms. In order to play rhythms correctly and accurately, our sense of time (the ability to count/tap foot) must be locked in. One of the easiest ways to develop your time as a beginner is to tap your foot with the metronome. This will help you develop your foundation, which will make it easier to play music correctly.

Avoid Playing Rhythms with Your Foot

One issue that I sometimes see with beginning students is how they tap their foot. They’ll have the metronome clicking away as they play an exercise in 4/4 time. Instead of locking their foot in with the metronome, they tap their foot to the rhythms in the music. Instead of tapping their foot 4 times in this example, they would tap their foot 9 times (each red line is a foot tap):


foot tap 8

If you tap to the rhythms in the music (rather than sticking with the metronome) you’ll hurt your time and accuracy. Here’s a correct example of tapping your foot (foot tap marked with red lines):

Counting correctly with foot tap


Let’s look at a few correct examples. We’ll show where the metronome clicks (or where the foot taps) in the following measures. Note: Each measure is in 4/4 time.

Example 1

foot tap 1

There are 4 beats per measure, and because we only have 4 quarter notes, each foot tap lines up with each note.

Example 2

foot tap 2

Notice that the foot tap does not follow the rhythm of the notes. Whether there’s a note or a rest, the foot tap remains consistent.

Example 3

foot tap 3

Even though there are 8 notes, the foot tap still occurs only 4 times. You can begin to see how foot tapping can help organize and divide the measure. If you know where the foot taps are, you increase your ability to play rhythms correctly and play in time.

Example 4

keeping time and tapping the foot

Here’s another example showing how the foot stays consistent, even though the rhythms change.

The Main Point

The main point (of the examples) is to show that the foot tap (or metronome click) remains consistent. No matter how simple or complex the rhythm is, the foot tap (metronome click) does not change. If you build you foundation on this idea, you’ll be more likely to succeed with simple and complex rhythms. It’s also important to remember that this is a learned skill. So, if you’re not very good at it in the beginning, that’s okay. You can develop this skill over time.

Improve Your Time!

Next week we’ll provide the exercises that you can use to strengthen your ability to keep time (and improve your foot tapping skills). If you found this post helpful, feel free to share it with the social media buttons on this page. We appreciate your help in getting the word out!


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