Foot tapping to the beat

Justin recommends tapping your foot to the beat whenever you’re listening to music in Module 2, but I’m really not able to find/feel the beat of songs. I try to tap my foot, but usually don’t know what beat/drum/note to tap to because some notes/drum sounds are faster than others and I don’t know which one is the actual beat. I really want to build a good foundation in rhythm so I don’t have issues later, but the tapping just isn’t happening. Any advice?

Hi Vania, welcome to the community!

Difficult one but here’s a couple of ideas. If you’re able to pick out the bars and chord progression of a song you could work back from that. Most music and most songs you’ll be playing to early on will be 4 beats to a bar. Chances are anyway that where you’re most naturally nodding your head / tapping your foot to will be correct.

The really easy way is to use the songs app if you’re not already? If so then that will clearly show you the beats.

I struggled with foot tapping…it often made things worse when I was also trying to play guitar. It just overloaded my brain, coordinating 3 limbs at once.

I think the key is to get the beat in some part of your body…doesn’t need to be your feet.

For me, if I like a song, I will notice that unconsciously I start to tap a finger or nod my head to the beat.

If that happens spontaneously with you…great! Pay attention, and try to tap or nod in time with the kick and snare drum beats.

If it doesn’t happen spontaneously…make it happen. Add some time to your practice routine where you are consciously working on your rhythm. Away from your guitar, but moving your body in some way to the beat.

Experiment with tapping with all four limbs individually…some will be better at keeping time than others.

Tap on a hard surface that makes a sound…then you can hear if your are in time with the song.

A metronome or isolated drum loop can be very helpful. You may need to vary the tempo till you can find one you can lock on to.

Also, one of my teachers suggested I get a shaker egg (around $5 at my local music store), and keep it nearby when listening to music.

This really helped me…I would pick it up and play along. Hitting all the beats, just 2 and 4, trying to emulate the patterns the drummer was playing, etc. Super useful if you are struggling with rhythm.

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Hi Vania,

It’s really a matter of practice and getting used to songs you’re listening to. Often, the beats where you’d want to tap your foot are emphasized in some way. Take this example:

You will find that the snare drums and the rhythm guitar (left channel) are playing a pretty consistent beat. It’s a hint that this is what you want to tap your foot to (the groove), this is the time you want to keep.

Try and find similar instances of beats in songs you like.

Rhythm can be learned and is important.

Some songs have complicated rhythm and offbeats. They’re hard to start with. What kind of music do you like? There are simple examples in most genres.

With a simple 4/4 song you’ll often have bass drum on Beats 1 and 3 and snare on 2 and 4. With a bit of variation. Eg Enter Sandman by Metallica.

Often Pop and Dance have bass on every beat (often called a 4 to the floor beat). Eg Shut Up and Dance by Walk The Moon. Easy to find the beat as there’s a bass drum on each beat.

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Also, do keep trying with the foot. Once you get it to autopilot it REALLY helps keep your timing consistent.

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