Scientists and psychologists have studied brain development when it comes to being a musician, and there are many findings that music is uniquely suited for developing deep pathways within the brain.

One of these things I feel we must develop—is producing music with our mouth, by counting out loud, beat boxing, or even just making noises. If a groove or rhythm isn’t clear in our mind, it won’t come out of your mouth correctly—let alone our hands and feet. We have a pathway in out minds that we’ve developed when we’re young to be able to see language written and speak it out loud, like reading a passage of a book to the rest of the class. This is one pathway. Another pathway is seeing shapes of music notation and associating those with our left and right limbs. To get these two to happen at the same time requires some practice and skill.

Just count and play at the same time“… it doesn’t sound hard. The concept is simple. It’s harder than you think. I overheard fellow instructor Roy Jackson use an example of standing on a skateboard. Just stand on this plank with wheels and balance. Easy concept. Not so easy to master. Now… add a hill and stay on. You can see that these are skills that are quick to understand and yet takes practice and time to achieve.


One TRUTH that I have been able to observe, has been that anyone who can say and play a pattern, four times in a row without messing up has committed that pattern to their memory in a way that will allow them to now, just play it—AND play it without counting.


Ba-Ga-Da- Ba-Ga-Da- Ba-Ga-Da- Bop.

Two examples of my favorite 16th note triplets verbalizations. It is not counting, but it is a known subdivision and again—“If you can say it, you will play it”.

Do you have a favorite pattern to say with your mouth?