Bicameral Blues Rhythms!

Dennis Gruenling – Rocker

Dennis Gruenling – Crazy Legs

In the two videos above, Dennis Gruenling shows you what it looks like when your entire body is a metronome. Not a standard tick-tock metronome, but a living, breathing, rhythm machine that puts down a groove.

Notice how he shifts his weight from left to right. One leg pumps a couple beats, then the other. The overall movement is a wave that goes back and forth.

Of course, he breaks it up as the spirit moves him. but the thing that I get out of this is that he is activating his whole brain, mind, body by the way he moves.

Stay with me here – if  you are familiar with the left brain – right brain concept, then you know that the two sides of our brains experience time in different ways.

The left brain is linear, one step after another, in a line. To the right brain it is always NOW. The eternal now, no past, no future. NOW is the time and THIS  is the place.

Modern brain research has proven that the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body. There is also a part of the brain that controls “cross talk” or the two sides of the brain working together. You can move your body in ways that makes your brain do a lot more cross talk. When you move in a way that makes you coordinate muscles back and forth, you get both sides of your brain working together,

This is what Dennis is doing when he plays.

You can improve your rhythm by training your body to shift weight from the left to the right, back and forth, in time with a metronome or a great drummer. Then you get the here and now as well as the one TWO three FOUR….

I know for a fact that Dennis has worked with metronomes and spent a lot of time practicing rhythm. It shows!

Check yourself – do you tap one foot most of the time? Do you sit when you play with most of your body planted, not moving? What happens when you stand up and start swaying, shifting your weight from one side to the other, in time with a beat? How does that feel?

Bicameral means having two branches or chambers. When you bring these two branches together, you get the best of both. You can train yourself to swing like crazy. It will make your music come alive on a whole new level….


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  1. Posted July 3, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink
  2. Brian Jones
    Posted July 3, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Richard. Yes, such an important point. I like to use both feet alternating. You get that swaying, walking type rhythm. I thank Joe Filisco for teaching me that.

  3. frank
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Soooooooooooo TRUE………His eloquent sense of “timing” is just one of the things he does at a level that very very few harp players have attained. Thus separating him from the pack as one of the greatest living players today to witness in action :)

    It’s not easy moving the way he does – or everyone would be doing it… and will take a ton of practice to be able to use the body like that, with out it messing up ones timing.

  4. doug baz
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    also check out Steve Guyger’s body movements when he gets deep into it

  5. doug baz
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    and check out Steve Guyger’s body movements when he is deep into it

  6. Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    It’s the pinky…

  7. Posted July 4, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Harp keys, anyone? Trying to develop my tin ear. First one sounds like an A harp, second one sounds like a Bb. I could be so wrong.

  8. Posted July 8, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of left brain/right brain cross talk, did you hear that musicians have a larger bundle of nerves to allow messages to travel across the brain divide?

    It’s true! Look it up:

  9. Harry Werner
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    one of the things that I do when I play is bounce my leg on the 2 and 4 and let my upper body swing around that. It takes some getting used to as your body is usually wanting to tap on every beat or the 1 and 3. Getting a foot stomp on 2 and 4 gets your body going sort of half time to the tempo of the song and it sure feels great when it all locks in,,,

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