June 13, 2011 10:09:58 PM EDT
Each of us has strengths and weaknesses, and our goal should always be to identify our weaknesses, and find ways to improve them. I've had several students who were good players but sometimes had difficulty deciphering rhythms. The best ways I can suggest they approach this, and thus improve the situation, are these:
1. Practice identifying which notes come on the beats, and use a metronome to practice the rhythm, to enforce the beat.
2. Work to identify each half of the measure automatically, to help you keep up, and keep going... An important skill to develop! We can't allow ourselves to get in the habit of stopping when we make a mistake or have a sense of doubt. If we want to play on a professional level, we need to drive forward!
3. Start a notebook to keep track of all rhythms that trip you up in any type of reading situation. Carefully copy the rhythm into the notebook, and practice these rhythms every day as part of your daily warm-up. You'll find that you retain these rhythms, and when you see them in other situations, you'll remember them from your notebook, and will really develop your ability to drive on!
4. Get several rhythm books like 'Winning Rhythms' or the 'Bona Rhythm Book', and sight read one page per day, remembering to keep moving (with your metronome).
---remember, in sight reading rhythm takes precedence over right notes!