1. Learn on the instrument. Most rhythm studies make you put down your instrument and clap out patterns. That’s a huge mistake. Clapping exercises make it seem like rhythm isn’t that important—at best a boring chore that doesn’t have much to do with learning your instrument. The opposite is true! A strong sense of rhythm is what separates the good musicians from the great. But to get to that level, you need to learn how rhythm feels on your instrument, under your fingers. That’s why Syncopate.it is done entirely on the instrument, with fun pieces that show you why rhythm matters.
2. Rhythm in context. Sometimes it’s hard to take a rhythm you learned by itself and recognize it in a real piece of music. That’s why Syncopate.it uses complete pieces instead of short exercises. You learn rhythm in the same settings that you run across every time you play your instrument. That makes it easier to internalize the rhythm and really learn it thoroughly.
3. Music comes first. Each piece is new, original, and fun to play. Syncopate.it keeps things interesting by changing up the musical styles so that some pieces sound classical, some are rock-inspired, and others have flavors from Latin America or elsewhere. Rhythm is a lot of fun and it makes music better. Syncopate.it is designed to show you how.
4. Progressive and comprehensive. Syncopate.it starts with basic concepts of time and meter, then expands to include progressively more challenging rhythmic ideas. It also includes multiple ways of “thinking” rhythm, adapted from the world’s great musical traditions. You’ll develop a comprehensive rhythmic toolkit that lets you easily master all kinds of advanced rhythmic music.
The initial release of Syncopate.it includes versions for guitar, violin, viola, and cello (more coming soon). If you play one of those instruments, then Syncopate.it is a good fit for you. Study on your own at home, or bring it to your music lessons. Music teachers can also use Syncopate.it in lessons just as they would any duet book.
You should be able to read music and have one or two years of experience on your instrument. Technical challenges have been kept to a minimum so that you can focus on the rhythmic concepts. For guitarists who prefer tab, don’t worry: we’re planning to include tab notation in a future release.
When you download the app, you’ll see a list of units, each with four pieces in them. Every unit deals with one or two musical ideas, spread across the four pieces. There’s always a bit of variety in each unit to keep things interesting. Breaking pieces into units also helps with practicing, because it gives you a goal to work toward. You can listen to all the pieces for free. Once you find a unit you want to work on, simply tap the “unlock” button to activate the practice tools for that unit.
Syncopate.it is not strictly a Suzuki method, but there are many similarities between the two approaches. Like Suzuki, Syncopate.it relies on learning by ear: hearing new rhythms and then applying them to your playing. It also employs repetition of learned skills in new contexts, gradually employing more sophisticated rhythmic concepts in a variety of situations.
Yes, additional instruments are in the works. If you have requests for a particular instrument, drop us a note.
For now, playback in Syncopate.it is based on MIDI sounds. We are looking into the feasibility of adding audio recordings in a future release.
The initial release only includes standard music notation. Guitar tab is planned for a future release.
At this time, Syncopate.it is only available for iOS devices. If there is enough demand, we may create an Android version in the future. There are no plans to publish Syncopate.it as a traditional music book, but you can print out paper copies of the sheet music from within the app for personal use.
Yes. Copyright law applies to the pieces in Syncopate.it just as it would for any other music book you buy. Each student must purchase their own copy of the pieces they intend to practice at home. However, since Syncopate.it is broken into units, students only need to purchase the units they actually use.