Pitch & Rhythm

The right note at the wrong time is the wrong note.

So goes an old adage, and one I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. I’ve heard a lot of auditions recently with musicians who sight read (or sing prepared pieces) with accurate pitches and inaccurate rhythms. In a heightened, nervous state, brains hyper-focus on the most important things, and it’s clear that for many young musicians, pitch is far higher on the list than rhythm.

But, of course, it shouldn’t be. Pitch and rhythm are equally important to successful music. We must find a way not to prioritize one over the other. If you can’t read both at once, read them separately, but make sure your preparation includes consideration of rhythms as equally important to the pitches.

If you teach sight reading, are you making sure your students understand how vital accurate rhythms are to their success?