Have you ever faced a situation where music notation fails to convey the essence of the music? I routinely find this when dotted rhythms and syncopations enter the curriculum I use to teach piano students. Of course, preparatory activity like tapping, clapping, and singing the tune can be especially helpful. After all, any pre-school kid can sing London Bridge Is Falling Down. If I can convince an eight- or nine-year-old to sing, the teaching becomes much easier. Syncopations, especially those that cross the bar line, are another matter!
YouTube to the rescue! I always remind my students that the music came first and that the notation is just a necessary shorthand. Here is a short list of videos of innovative music that requires more complicated notation and time signatures.
La Bamba – Sing and clap where the words are just “La La Bamba”
America – Tap foot on the beat and clap off beat
Take Five – Feel and clap the innovative five beats per measure