Timing - Rhythm problems

Technique, methods and advice for learners

Postby classicafila » Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:30 pm

I would like to ask how can I improve my timing? I already have Basic Timing for Pianists by Allen Small and Twenty Four Studies for Rhythm and Expression Op.125 by Stephen Heller.
Ever since the beginning of my piano studies I have had problems with timing and rhythm. I do not like having to count and I am not so good with the metronome. Thank you for your comments.
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Postby pianogal » Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:33 pm

I would say keep trying with the metronome in a SLOW speed. That way, you will have extra time to think! :;): good luck!

Oh, maybe count the music with or without the metronome. Don't play yet.
Don't ever give up piano, because you will like it someday
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Postby 112-1182392787 » Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:24 am

How are you approaching these exercises, the metronome, and counting? Have you figured out at what point it starts being a problem; strong and weak areas?

Some ideas:

If you try to "follow" a metronome, it is difficult, because you are always behind, trying to catch up. If you imagine that you share a common heartbeat, sometimes that does the trick. Sometimes tapping out the rhythm, or chanting it as "da da-ha" (or whatever helps) without worrying about the notes until it is familiar has helped me. You sort of "read" the music as something rhythmic, as though you were a drummer. Later you work on it as music, but you are already totally familiar with the rhythm so your brain has less to learn.

What else:

Getting a feeling for meter: 3/4 = strong weak weak; 4/4 = strong weak strongish weak; triplets (6/8, 9/8) are like a wheel divided into thirds that is perpetually going smoothly in a circle but bumps slightly on the first of the three (1-2-3-4-5-6). If you can make the meter come alive and make sense, then the rhythm of the notes sort of end up fitting inside that meter, because you will have a feeling for it in the back of your mind.

Some time ago I realized that I didn't have a feeling for when a note ended, and that's what was throwing me off. When you are counting 1-2-3, then "2" marks where "1" ends. It seems obvious, but this helped me.

I also noticed that I had not really taken the time to understand note values, even though I thought I knew them. I took paper and pencil, drew them out if I had to, tapped them, compared them. That helped a lot. Working on basic music theory is also helpful.

You can practice rhythm, tempo, and meter when you are not practicing music: walking, in the bus - be creative and playful.
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Postby Tarnia » Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:51 am

I have a similar problem. While the previous posts are AMAZING, one thing that also helped me was to invest in one of those metronomes that 'ding' on the first beat. So you can set the time to 4/4, and it goes ding, beat, beat, beat or 6/8 ding, beat, beat,beat,beat,beat. I realize this isn't QUITE what you are asking, and I would try the above stuff first, but as I said, it has helped me. Part of my problem I think was the metronome just became background noise-similarly, my counting. The ding helps prevent that and also accents the first beat.
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Postby Tranquillo » Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:32 am

Yes I would say go with what pianogal said to try to SLOWDOWN...
But with regards to counting and timing what have you tried ... different things work with different kind of people ... some like mnemonics - pear (crotchet) apple (minim) etc
Others like the 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 ... etc
Some have their teaches tap with a pen.
I personally find Kodaly counting syallables effective - ta ta te etc.
Different things work for different people . See what works for you. I find observing the time signature and clapping the beat consistently before playing helps . Teachers in my highschool made me do that if I had an error and it worked effectively.
If you find it hard to work with the metronome I suggest not using it just yet ... clap first ... say it ... play it and say it at the same time ... then try the metronome ... well I hope that helps .
Music is organised sound
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