I received a question on Facebook from a drummer friend of mine:
“I currently help out in my father’s Music School. I’ve had the challenge of teaching students who only speak Spanish and having to use one of their family members like a cousin or a child for a translator.
I would really love to know how you count eighth notes and sixteenth notes in Spanish.
1 and 4 have two syllables in Spanish.
By chance do you know any native speaking drummer or percussionist who may be able to shed light on how someone who grew up speaking only Spanish and who learned to play the drums was taught how to count.?”
“Well, when I count in English and I come across a number that has more than one syllable, I cut the word in half. For example Se-ven becomes “Sen” or “Sev”
I got this idea from Mike Mangini and his Rhythm Knowledge system.
Longer numbers then become part of the count itself
for example 23
instead of 23+2+3+4+
I count Twen-tee-three and Three and Four and”
Apparently this is exactly the same in Spanish when it comes to separating the syllables. Give it a try.
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Also published on Medium.