Groove and Tempo | Lost Motivation | Try These Rhythmic Training Exercises

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Learn how to experiment with tempo and groove so that you can take your singing to the next level!
Originally published: July 28, 2020

Groove and Tempo

Do you ever wonder, “How can I make this song unique?” Or, “How can I put my own stamp on this music?” One way to create a fresh new version of a song is to try it with a new tempo or groove!

It’s amazing how many ideas – melodic, lyric, instrumental etc – can start flooding your brain when you start to play with tempo and groove. By tempo, we mean the speed of the beats in your song, and by groove, we mean the defining rhythmic figures that give your song its “feel.”

In your practice times, you can unlock amazing new ideas when you take tempo to the extreme. Take a rock song and slow it down until it’s painfully slow. Or, take a slow ballad and speed it up until it seems un singable. Now commit to these new tempos and try to make them work – that’s when the ideas will start flowing. Will you perform the song at that extreme tempo? Of course not! (Well, I guess you could consider it if it is really working for you). The point is to force yourself to negotiate the new tempo in order to bring out new ideas. 

Playing with groove is easy if you use recordings for inspiration.

Pick a song you like to sing, but that you feel needs a little makeover to create more interest and uniqueness. Let’s say you picked “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Go and listen to a completely different song you love with a very different “feel” or “groove.” Let’s say the different song is “Smooth” by Santana for inspiration.

As you listen to “Smooth”, tap or move to the song so that the groove starts to sink in. Now try to vocalize the basic rhythmic pattern of the song, such as “Bap bap ba da da da dat da.” Internalized the groove of that song.

Hit pause on Smooth, but keep tapping or moving as if the song was still playing. Now start trying to sing “Happy” while keeping the new groove going. 

To learn more about groove and tempo with Emily Braden, upgrade, and take her course Tools for Expressive Song Interpretation and go to her final two lessons.

Lost Motivation?

Have you lost motivation to sing? Have you given up on practicing? Simone Niles is a vocalist and transformational coach in the UK. She works with singers all the time who have lost their way but want to move forward. In this article she gives you concrete ideas on how to pick yourself up and get back in the saddle of singing and practicing.

Singers! Try These Rhythmic Training Exercises

Rachel Bennett teaches singers to build timing and rhythmic skill with a series of fun exercises complete with audio guides!

Check out our Instagram Live chat with singer/actress Keziah Grace to hear about the relationship between your mind and your performance.

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