ARTIST FEATURE: From performing at Coachella to playing in the Hollywood studio scene and from touring with Scrap Arts Music to teaching at Hawai’i Pacific University, meet GRAMMY® Nominated percussionist+singer Kristen Klehr. We are so happy that she is joining us this week for our regular artist feature! Let’s hear what she has to say about rhythm and time in music!

1) Why is rhythm important?

Oo! Rhythm is a fundamental connection point for humans, a communication tool between neighboring tribes, a vital heartbeat confirming life, a structure for an ear to grasp onto and create meaning, a sense of grounding when a sound is repeated and provides aural organization for the brain – truly, as rhythm is a taking notice of the space between sound and recognizing patterns that emerge from that awareness, I think rhythm offers such a sense of security for the human soul. It also offers a sense of unique identity – even in the ways someone may speak, or to what rhythmic pattern and cadence you’re reading my words right now! (Can you feel the rhythm in my speech? Do my sentence structures feel different from other people’s ideas?! I have a unique internal rhythm! All humans do…it’s how we line up with certain rhythms in our worlds around us that really help shape our lives and identity.)

2) How do you practice your rhythm and sense of time?

I am a big fan of noticing my breath and lining up with it in rhythmic structures and phrasings. The more I can internalize a rhythmic phrase within my body, the more the music can organically become a part of me and with that, then a more authentic/human expression of the music I’m sharing.

Rhythm provides a sense of grounding when a sound is repeated and an aural organization for the brain.

3) What are your favorite rhythmic exercises?

Playing with the metronome on the big beats, and being able to line up every next time it comes around (e.g. having the metronome only hit on the half beats, or the start of every measure…every other measure-?!) I also secretly love playing the walking-to-the-beat game when going places (you look nutty but if you find the right bpm playlist going in your earbuds, you can have some pretty strong swagger steps!)

4) Can you name one thing that you like about the metronome on Metronome Online?

I like the ability to track my progress — just as it is with rhythm itself, to be able to see patterns emerge, feels GOOD!

VIDEO: We are excited to share Kristen’s performance of her own song called ‘Belong’. Check it out!