The Rhythm Compass Visualization: A New Way of Seeing Music with Curtis Madigan (Episode #49)

Curtis Madigan Rhythm DoctorDr. Lynn Hellerstein of Vision Beyond Sight speaks with Curtis Madigan, aka The Rhythm Doctor. He is a multi-instrumentalist, educator, coach to platinum-selling artists, the founder and CEO of Sound Formation, and a graduate of Berklee College of Music. Curtis talks about rhythm and visualization, and how we can utilize his own creations The Rhythm Compass and The Sound Formation Method to see and learn about music in a new and surprising way.

Click here and tune in to the show now to explore:

  • What is The Rhythm Compass and The Sound Formation Method?
  • Curtis’ connection with Dr. Linda Silverman and her book The Visual-Spatial Learner (check out her show here)
  • How does The Rhythm Compass work and highlight rhythm?
  • How do kids learn about The Rhythm Compass?
  • Gifted kids and music
  • Comparing music notation and The Rhythm Compass
  • How does Curtis relate to Dr. Lynn’s See It. Say It. Do It! process?
  • Problems with sight-reading music
  • How does Curtis “The Rhythm Doctor” help music students and professional musicians?
  • What are “rhythmic diseases”?

About Curtis Madigan:

Curtis Madigan grew up in Iowa with his two sisters Elise and Kara, his brother Josh, and his parents Genia and Joe. He was inspired to take up guitar at age ten. He took lessons with Merrill Birchmeyer and University of Iowa guitar faculty Steve Grismore. Despite his deep love of athletics, he knew that his main passion was music. He was fortunate to work with seven-time GRAMMY-winning artist Maria Schneider as the all-state guitarist during his junior year of high school and with the late Fred Sturm as the all-state guitarist his senior year. He was very fortunate to work with Rich Medd and Rob Medd in the exceptional West High School wind ensemble and jazz bands which regularly won statewide competitions.

Curtis was awarded Berklee College of Music’s BEST scholarship to study guitar performance and composition. In Boston at Berklee, he met and performed with numerous high-level artists that he continues to work with to this day. It was also at Berklee that Curtis realized there was a huge dearth of information in music education pedagogy in the field of rhythm. 

After Berklee, Curtis moved to Los Angeles where he trained in yoga and numerous martial arts including Liangong, Swimming Dragon, and Wing Chun. After very intensive training in meditation and martial arts, Curtis turned his attention on the gap in his understanding of music. First he created and developed The Rhythm Compass™ which became part of his comprehensive theory of rhythm. Then he founded his company Sound Formation and the Sound Formation Method™. He’s now spoken internationally on his theory of rhythm and has created music programs that are being taught globally. He has published numerous books on his methodology for multiple instruments, coaches professional musicians at the highest level, is the go-to person for getting musicians out of pain and enhancing technical ability, and has become affectionately known as “The Rhythm Doctor.

Connect with Curtis Madigan and Sound Formation:

Website | Facebook | Twitter LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube

Free Ebook - 5 Simple Principles to Improve Your Groove: Sign up here to grab a FREE EBOOK that will teach you exactly what you're missing in your rhythmic feel, simple principles that deliver profound results, and why rhythm seems elusive and harder than it should be.

Ear Training Assessment: Understand where your strengths and weaknesses are in rhythm and harmony and how to alleviate these gaps. Click here to sign up for a consultation.

New Book - SFM Percussion Level 3, out December 15th, 2022: Learn essential principles of rhythm, new ways of conceptualizing rhythm, ear training in 3/8, 6/8, and 12/8, how to master accent displacement, triplet elisions and syncopations, rhythmic perception techniques, and anatomy of a groove. Click here to check it out!

"Once you recognize rhythmic shapes on the Rhythm Compass, you literally start to see shapes when you’re sight-reading. And so you’re able to rapidly make sense of a lot of information that you’re looking at really quickly because you’re just going, 'Oh it’s that shape that I know in the practice.' It kinda pops out. So one person that I trained—a local bass player in Denver, a professional musician—he said it’s akin to going from 2D to 3D when he started using the Rhythm Compass shapes because they would just pop out on him when he’s reading music." - Curtis Madigan

Click here to play this show now!

Dr. Lynn Hellerstein, Developmental Optometrist, co-owner of Hellerstein & Brenner Vision Center, P.C., award-winning author and international speaker, holds powerful and inspiring conversations with her guests in the areas of health, wellness, education, sports and psychology. They share their inspirational stories of healing and transformation through their vision expansion. Vision Beyond Sight Podcast will help you see with clarity, gain courage and confidence. Welcome to Vision Beyond Sight!

Dr. Lynn’s books are available at and

Dr. Lynn is available for speaking engagements and consulting. For more information, visit

To learn more about vision therapy or to find a doctor providing vision therapy in your area, visit

To learn more about vision and the impact in concussion/brain injury, visit Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association.

Subscribe to Vision Beyond Sight! New episodes every Wednesday at 9 am MT/10 am CT

Spotify Stitcher Audible iHeart Radio | Amazon Music | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts

Return to the Vision Beyond Sight Podcast Page
Connect with Dr. Lynn

About Dr. Lynn

A pioneer in vision therapy and developmental optometry, for more than 30 years, Dr. Lynn Hellerstein has helped thousands of children and adults improve their vision and transform their lives — at home, in the classroom, and most recently on the playing field. Her breakthrough methods unlock barriers to learning and “rewire” around brain injuries, and vision perception or processing deficits. But you don’t have to have a vision problem to benefit: her brain training strategies may be the missing magic if you’re an athlete trying to nail a tricky shot or stay cool in competition. If it’s a skill you can visualize, Dr. Hellerstein can help train your eyes — and mind’s eye — on success.

Award-winning and #1 bestselling author, Dr. Lynn has published numerous professional peer reviewed articles, chapters and four books.

See It. Say It. Do It! (2009) - How to see/recognize your goal, declare your intention, and taking action to achieve your vision.

See It. Say It. Do It! Organize It! (2011) - How to create a step by step process to make achieving your goal a reality.

50 Tips To Improve Your Sports Performance (2013) - How to improve your sports performance today by enhancing eye-mind-body coordination skills, achieving the mental edge, and preventing injuries.

Expand Your Vision (2021) - Discover the power of the seeing brain…the creator of your true vision. Gain Clarity, Courage, and Confidence. In this #1 Amazon best-selling innovative newest book, the power of visualizing and believing in the process to break through internal barriers and create new possibilities for achieving your goal is explored. Visualization can be used to increase creativity, to reduce stress and anxiety, and to build confidence in all of the things that they do.