How does rhythm work? How does one look at rhythms on paper and know how to deal with them? There are a couple of things you'll need to know to get started:
1. Rhythms as represented by note symbols.
2. Time signatures.
3. Turning rhythms on paper into rhythms you can hear using the "Rhythm Template."
Video clips on this page give you 1) the basics of using the time signatures 4/4 and 3/4 (above), and 2) the basics of playing with a Rhythm Template based on maintaining the strumming hand in a consistent, repeating "down-up" motion (below). This will allow variations to cover all rhythmic combinations that use no rhythms faster than eighth notes.
Utilization of the Rhythm Template covers the vast majority of rhythmic possibilities that you will encounter during the early to middle phases of your development.
Note: This first clip shows strumming on a Ukulele but can be applied to any instrument that can be strummed.