Using Waveforms in Music Lessons

Summer lessons give me a chance to try out new ideas with students. One of my students doesn't pay attention to the rhythm and tempo as carefully as he should. I wanted to find a different way to show him that "steady" and "unsteady" are two different things. Last week, I decided to show him what "steady playing" and "unsteady playing" looks like. Not with the webcams but with the waveforms.

Using Audacity, I recorded both of us playing the same passage. I synchronized them and first asked him to study how well our waveforms lined up. Then, I hit Play:

Using waveforms to teach tempo and rhythm was a fruitful experiment. Image by R-M Arca.

When I asked him to repeat the passage, he was much steadier!