In my travels as teacher, judge and examiner I find the beat or pulse the most important aspect of any style of music.
In my travels as teacher, judge and examiner I find the beat or pulse the most important aspect of any style of music. Rhythm is the underlying framework that enables us to feel the music and sway with the groove. Whenever I teach this is always one of the most integral aspects of any pianists’ playing I look for – whether it is jazz or classics, pop or rock. Enhancing the subtle and secure sound of the pulse always influences a performance in a positive way. The melody seem to flow better when there is a direction in the forward thinking of the rhythm.
My piano professor and mentor at the University of Pretoria Joseph Stanford always used to say: “In the Music Bible the first verse reads: And in the beginning there was rhythm”. This is one of the reasons I love to practise with the aid of a metronome. For any jazz pianist I always recommend using a metronome as their “drummer in your pocket”.
To any young and aspiring pianist I have the same advise: make sure you count and feel the beat – you can’t go wrong!