There are many fun ways for students to practice syncopation, and each one focuses on a different aspect to help them internalize the concept and be able to transfer their knowledge to a variety of repertoire. A few ideas include:
- Sing the song or target phrase with lyrics.
- Sing the song or target phrase with rhythm syllables.
- Sing while clapping or playing the patterns on instruments, or with audiation.
- Write or reproduce the target phrase.
- Read or write rhythm patterns that differ slightly from the target phrase.
- Fill in missing parts of a phrase, either with paper and pencil, on a white board, with prepared rhythm cards, or on a device.
- Form 4-beat phrases with prepared rhythm cards, or rearrange sets of cards.
- Improvise new patterns that vary by a beat or more from a known pattern.
- Learn a new song by reading the rhythms of the song as the teacher sings.
- Listen to music of the masters that incorporates the new rhythm.
Here’s a reading sequence that has worked for me: moving from the target phrase of ‘hill and gully’ from Hill and Gully Rider to phrase 1 of Come Thru Now Hurry, to phrase 1 of Weevily Wheat. For these and other rhythms, go the Rhythms page here.
Come Thru Now Hurry