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Best way to practice rhythm?
#1154606 02/28/09 12:55 PM
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Hi Guys,
what is the best way to practice rhythm as a beginner. I have now had a couple of lessons and the teacher want me to practice scales, broken-chords, music notation and sight-reading. I can manage only about 1-2 hours a day though, and i struggle with how to correctly time the rhythm, particularly with all the different notation that i am trying to understand in parallel.

How did you approach rhythm practice as a beginner, i find it very difficult - even to understand. It seems to me, that a software program would be good for this, offering feedback about progress. Has anybody found anything that i might find useful?

It is really methods for practicing, on a computer or by the piano (ideally both), that will make the most of what time i can spend on it.

Thanks


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Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
Ingersoll #1154748 02/28/09 03:51 PM
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Hi Ingersoll,

I honestly don’t think there is anything better than an old fashioned metronome. To me, rhythm and timing is more important than sight-reading accuracy. Not to criticize anyone, but I have noticed some budding pianist become very proficient at sight-reading music but their timing and rhythm is broken and erratic. It seems to me that the broken and erratic timing and rhythm is more noticeable than if they miss a note or two here and there.

Plus, I see nothing wrong with tapping your foot or bobbing your head to help keep time and rhythm.

Personally, I have a tendency to start out at a certain tempo and speed up ever so slightly before I get to the end of the piece/tune/song (especially on fast tempo tunes).

Regardless, it does take time and practice to master timing, tempo and rhythm.

Hope this helps and keep up the good work!

Rick


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Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
Rickster #1154779 02/28/09 04:38 PM
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If you were my student, I would encourage you to practice JUST the rhythm by tapping it. If your piece has hands together, practice each hand separate.

If you can't do that, then the rhythm is too difficult and you need to do simpler rhythms first.


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Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
cjp_piano #1154802 02/28/09 05:44 PM
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I'm working from a book now that has exercises that want you to play with the right hand while tapping with the left and then switch. Seems to be helping and is fun!


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Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
SAMoore #1154825 02/28/09 06:23 PM
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I think it helps to read the piece away from the piano and count out the rhythm (one-a-and-a-two-a, etc). If you want to clap or tap or wiggle something, great, but the main thing is isolate the rhythm from everything else until you thoroughly understand it. Also, listening to someone else playing the piece (YouTube, CDs, etc) can help a lot.

As for software, I've made midi files of hard passages to listen to them. I'm not sure what software could do beyond that.

I agree with Rickster on frequent use of the metronome, but I would add that sight-reading and and practiced play are two different animals. My rhythm sucks when I sight-read a piece I've never heard before, but on practiced and memorized pieces I stay on tempo pretty well. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
bluekeys #1154868 02/28/09 07:58 PM
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I think, when I was young, I must have inculcated my rhythmic sense by playing and listening to those idioms most demanding of it - ragtime, boogie, jazz, blues and the like. I cannot remember ever using a metronome or counting. Maybe learning a few simple pieces in those styles would help you.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
Ted #1154920 02/28/09 09:29 PM
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I've been struggling with rhythm and counting for a while. Just today I was asked to listen to the CD of the book I'm learning from to try to grasp the rhythm and quite frankly the instruction I was given in class and what the CD sounds like seem like two different animals. All I know is that this is becoming increasingly frustrating. I'm currently studying Chopin's prelude in E minor. It seems like a simple enough piece but it's always the rhythm that gets me. For those of you who are more experienced, what speed is best on the metronome and what's the best way to count this piece?


MVB
Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
MVB #1155200 03/01/09 11:53 AM
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Struggling while playing the piano in any way is a strong indication that you are not ready to play the piece because it contains things that you can not yet do accurately.

Being able to play a piece means you have the visual and tactile skills already in place and can keep a steady beat and know the note value counts of each note appearing in the piece. Without the proven ability to coordinate your hands in each and every measure and then "string" it together measure by measure, you are not going to get anywhere.

So, yours doesn't sound like the CD, are you surprized?

If it was frustrating in the beginning for you, and you become increasingly frustrated, you could have stopped the music when you first detected frustration. Frustration is reason to stop and think about what you can and cannot do with this music going into learning it. Frustration should tell you something important.

Why do people think it's reasonable or desirable to struggle with their music making?

Have you analyzed the patterns? Have you studied hands together? Are you consistant in fingering? Where are your problem areas?
Are you making any progress at all?

You cannot force and you should not struggle!

Music is a natural process such as having learned to walk and talk - developmental stages of preparation for life. I would chance to say you don't have your preparation yet in place.

Get thee to the sweet part of music making - head banging is destructive to your head and your psyche.

Mumble, mumble.

Betty

Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
Betty Patnude #1155490 03/01/09 08:40 PM
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Hi Ingersoll,

I use a metronome and count. On the digital piano I have rhythms I can play with and that is fun, pretending to play along with a drummer. It comes with practice.


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Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
Lewbo #1155529 03/01/09 09:32 PM
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If you can play Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm," then it shows that you DO have rhythm.[Linked Image]


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Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
chihuahua #1155536 03/01/09 09:43 PM
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If you can spell rhythm then you still have a hope.

R - Rhythm
H - Has
M - My
T - Two
H - Hips
M - Moving


Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
chihuahua #1155660 03/02/09 01:53 AM
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You got rhythm?

This is another way to learn rhythm.

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Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
chihuahua #1156457 03/03/09 11:32 AM
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I had alot of rhythm problems when I started with my new teacher-(unfortunately my previous teachers never corrected this). For the first few weeks she would have me work on clapping or saying ta in rhythm. I got a book to practice just rhytym with. The book basically just had lines of rhythm not notes on a staff. Then I would go to my lesson and demonstate this for her and she would correct me if needed. This helped me tremendously. She said the difference is like night an day. Now it comes so much easier. When I look at music the rhythm makes more sense to me and I am started to understand more complicated rhythms easily. She also said before I start a piece I should tap out and memorize the rhythm.
Oh also if you have a note relationship chart - that is helpful too.
Best of luck!


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And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
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Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
Kymber #1156470 03/03/09 11:57 AM
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Quote
The book basically just had lines of rhythm not notes on a staff.


Kymber,
I am curious as to what this would look like. What is the name of the book?








Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
Strings & Wood #1156521 03/03/09 01:43 PM
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Hi Carl MC,
This is the book I used:
http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-...mp;s=books&qid=1236105276&sr=8-2

It's possible there are better books out there. But, since I was working with a teacher this did the job. If I didn't have a teacher I would probably get on that comes with a cd.
Like this one maybe: http://www.amazon.com/Rhythm-Bible-...mp;s=books&qid=1236105546&sr=8-1

If you click on the "look inside" feature of the second book you can see an example of what it looks like. It's basically just one straight line of notes so you don't have to worry about pitch or anything else like that. I found it very helpful especially since I was basically correcting a long time rhythm error/misuncerstanding. Spending the time on this first really helped a lot.


“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee
Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
Kymber #1156684 03/03/09 05:37 PM
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Allan Small has a book called "Basic Timing" which is a simple elementary level one exercise per line covering combinations of rhythm starting with steady TA (quarter notes) and introducing all other note values. The pieces are played in unison which helps both sides of the brain solve the "challenge/task/problem" at once - a good thing.

People who have trouble coordinating hands together should spend some time previously in unison playing.

I have found it very helpful for students who were having a difficult time of moving within a steady beat.

In addition I use "Note Value Counting" not metric counting for students still in "fundamental" learning.

You can probably find this in the sheetmusicplus site at the lover left of the screen and just take a "look/see".


Betty

Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
Betty Patnude #1156689 03/03/09 05:45 PM
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R - Rhythm
H - Has
Y - YOUR
T - Two
H - Hips
M - Moving

How embarrasing! I spelled rhythm wrong above! I just noticed it! It is a hard one to spell, and I like teaching the kids to walk around the room, wiggle their hips, arms, feet, and get groovy, while reciting the "rap": "Rhythm has your two hips moving!" Add an occasional clap or other gestures for fun!

It's a tension relaxer, too. Clap! Clap!


Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
Betty Patnude #1158787 03/06/09 09:58 PM
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At the college I attend one of my professors has a device called something like "Tap Master II". I can't remember for sure at the moment. It's pretty old and works off of cassette tapes. Basically you tap the big button on the machine in time with the rhythms in the book and the songs on the tape so it can tell you how many you got right. Good luck finding one though.

Re: Best way to practice rhythm?
elementc #1158900 03/07/09 04:51 AM
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This is a great thing I started out with when learning rhythm. It makes you understand the theory also:)

Rhythm Lessons


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