Beat competency is the term given for the ability to keep in time to a rhythm. It requires a surprising amount of different regions of the brain to connect to achieve this.
Hearing the beat, predicting when the next beat will occur (one can’t wait until it has happened, they will be too late), coordinating hands to clap and then self-assessing to see if the clap was a bit early or late then adjusting appropriately for the next beat. Some research has found beat competency is a fairly accurate indicator of academic ability.
We use the Interactive Metronome which measures to the millisecond how accurate a child’s timing is as they clap to a rhythmic beat. It generates an average score and other useful data.
It can also be used for rehabilitation in some cases, click here for more info.
The ability to tap to a beat relates to cognitive, linguistic, and
perceptual skills. A Tierneya and N Krausa, Brain Lang. 2013 March ; 124(3): 225–231