Tap Your Way to a Sharper Memory With the New Polyrhythm Challenge

Minor slip-ups in our day-to-day life aren’t that uncommon. But if you’re worried about your memory, you can do any memory game now and then. But the problem is, such brain exercises aren’t always fun, and also it’s hard to make them a regular habit. But thankfully, a new trend on social media effectively solves the problem by ticking the boxes. Dubbed ‘The Polyrhythm Challenge,’ this memory game is fun and short for regular practicing, making your mind sharper. You just need a piece of paper, two pens, and a flat surface to tap.

The Prep

You’ll find several videos on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram with step-by-step instructions for the polyrhythm challenge. For the prep work, orient the piece of paper as a portrait and draw a vertical line in the middle. Then draw three more lines horizontally, creating eight evenly shaped boxes. Now write 4, 3, 2, and 1 on each side, filling up each box. Now grab two pencils, pens, or any tapping tool. For extra help to stay on beat, play a free metronome on your phone or computer. Set the metronome to 55 beats per minute, place the paper in front of you on a flat surface, hold your two tapping tools in two hands, and you’re all set to begin!

The Process

You’ll need to follow the instructions to tap the boxes using the pens, holding one in each hand. As the challenge progresses, the beats per measure will change from the same as the metronome to double and triple in time. You’ll also have to switch the sides of your hands to interchange the beats. While it may sound overwhelming or confusing at first, everything will gradually make sense once you start to tap the boxes following the steps of the instruction. At first, you’ll surely miss a few beats and struggle to coordinate the taps of your right and left hands, but there’s always the next attempt!

The Benefits

At first, this polyrhythm challenge might seem too challenging and complex. But if you keep practicing regularly, it’ll get easier. The more you practice, the better you’ll get, and the better you get, the more you strengthen your brain’s cognitive function. According to Dave Farrow, the two-time Guinness World Record Holder for having the greatest memory, picking up a new hobby or motor skill kicks the brain back into gear, no matter how easy or hard the task is. The key here is that it has to be something new to you, beyond your familiar knowledge or comfort zone. Also, a recent 2022 study, published in the Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, found that eight weeks of musical rhythm training improved the participants’ memory. As per the study authors, rhythm training effectively exercised the participants’ selective attention, visual perception, and short-term memory. So, no matter how comfortable or uncomfortable you feel, don’t forget to tap out this new ‘polyrhythm challenge’ now and then, managing a minute or two to squeeze out from your work. After a while, you’ll notice a boost of change in yourself, as your brain function will soon become unbeatable!