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How can I improve my rhythm hearing? #2766444
09/19/18 11:45 AM
09/19/18 11:45 AM
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Sorry if I am starting new thread on the topic that was probably already discussed here thousand times (including my own thread I think, which for unknown reason I cannot find...)
After 2.5 years of trying to play piano and analyzing my achievements and faults I am coming to the conclusion that my rhythm hearing is my major problem (if not to say blocker). I have excellent tone hearing - confirmed by knowledgeable people and all test that I tried. My finger technique is much better that it could be expected given time I spent at the piano - also confirmed by those people.
The only blame I hear all the time - "you don't count!!!". I am trying to count... To my hearing it appears correct, but when I look at those graphs drawn in DAW software I ONLY VISUALLY see that real nightmare...
I know first suggestion that will come - metronome. I tried many, many times. Just cannot connect it (another confirmation of the problem?).
A software like Piano Marvel? Maybe I should try it again, but previously it didn't work for me.
Some other exercises, special pieces, etc.?


Started 2016-01-29
Casio Privia PX-760 => Garritan CFX Lite, Ravenscroft 275 => Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 =>ATH-40mx, Sennheiser HD598, JBL LSR305
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Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766450
09/19/18 11:57 AM
09/19/18 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by michaelvi
Sorry if I am starting new thread on the topic that was probably already discussed here thousand times (including my own thread I think, which for unknown reason I cannot find...)
After 2.5 years of trying to play piano and analyzing my achievements and faults I am coming to the conclusion that my rhythm hearing is my major problem (if not to say blocker). I have excellent tone hearing - confirmed by knowledgeable people and all test that I tried. My finger technique is much better that it could be expected given time I spent at the piano - also confirmed by those people.
The only blame I hear all the time - "you don't count!!!". I am trying to count... To my hearing it appears correct, but when I look at those graphs drawn in DAW software I ONLY VISUALLY see that real nightmare...
I know first suggestion that will come - metronome. I tried many, many times. Just cannot connect it (another confirmation of the problem?).
A software like Piano Marvel? Maybe I should try it again, but previously it didn't work for me.
Some other exercises, special pieces, etc.?


I don't think there is any easy answer other than to keep trying using various methods, shutting your eyes and listening and so on. In school we had a genius at all subjects and who got into Cambridge for maths before he was old enough to be allowed in. But he couldn't keep in time with the school orchestra when playing his flute. I sat next to him trying to count and help him but he couldn't manage it.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766454
09/19/18 12:09 PM
09/19/18 12:09 PM
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Start out by counting out loud while you play and continue to work on playing with the metronome..,,, using the
Metronome is a skill but well worth the energy. You are not unique in this problem! One thing that helps me is to use a metronome on my cellphone and plug in my earphones..

Last edited by dogperson; 09/19/18 12:10 PM.
Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766474
09/19/18 02:37 PM
09/19/18 02:37 PM
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I learned by counting out loud w tapping left foot. Gotta do it for a long boring time slowly . Then do it while listening to songs too

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Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766487
09/19/18 04:08 PM
09/19/18 04:08 PM
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Thank everybody for answers.
Basically, you say that there is not "magic secret" behind the issue and no special methodologies can help. I just need to "try harder"(C)

Maybe I should also try to explain my problem in a different way. For example, today I tried to follow these youtube lessons - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu8p_6tJYcQ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvl4ViY8ka0
I understand everything he says and draws ... until music starts. At that point I do not hear any correlation between what I hear and what he draws. I am emphasizing word "hear" because that describes my problem better than if I wrote "see". Again, I understand logic that he explains, I can count 1-2-3-4 and clap my shoulder at right moments - but only if I disconnect from music and just do it like if I had to clap at even time periods in a silence (I mean it seems to me that I do have internal time feeling unrelated to music). But I can't find those beats in the music I hear... So my feeling is that I need somehow to train rhythm hearing, not just rhythm feeling by itself.


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Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766500
09/19/18 05:05 PM
09/19/18 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by michaelvi
....I can count 1-2-3-4 and clap my shoulder at right moments - but only if I disconnect from music and just do it like if I had to clap at even time periods in a silence (I mean it seems to me that I do have internal time feeling unrelated to music). But I can't find those beats in the music I hear... So my feeling is that I need somehow to train rhythm hearing, not just rhythm feeling by itself.

I think it's best if you go back to first principles and start from scratch, with familiar tunes - like Happy Birthday.

Don't look it up - how many beats in a bar/measure? Sing it aloud. Then, with the tune in your head, clap the beats.

Does the tune start on a strong beat or weak one? Once you get the strong beats, you know how many beats to a bar.

And so on, always with very familiar songs or tunes you know. Nothing is too simple to practice clapping beats to.

Learn to beat time in duple, triple and quadruple time and try beating time to the music. No music is too simple to practice beating time to.

(BTW, that's also exactly what conductors do with their RH grin).


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766510
09/19/18 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by michaelvi

I know first suggestion that will come - metronome. I tried many, many times. Just cannot connect it (another confirmation of the problem?).


If you can't 'connect' to a metronome, whatever that means, then you keep practicing with it and you always practice with it and you don't practice any other way. The way you know your playing in time with a metronome is that you can't hear it cause you're playing at the same time and the note you play mask's the metronome's sound.

The ear training prep video you linked, is for after you learn how to practice with a metronome.

Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766514
09/19/18 06:38 PM
09/19/18 06:38 PM
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Perhaps trying to intellectually relate rhythm to external things such as notation, counting and metronomes might not be the easiest way to go. I have always found rhythm to be a deeply internal, almost physical sensation, felt first and represented second. It resides everywhere in daily life within innumerable processes. If we tried to think about the complex rhythms of speech before saying something we would either be tongue-tied or sound completely unnatural. An experiment worth trying might be to spend some time improvising, doesn’t matter what notes, little phrases using the rhythms you feel inside yourself. I am sure you don’t stop to think about the rhythms of your speech, so you could start with imitating those. If the man next door is hammering, imitate its pattern using any notes. The urban environment, in particular, is a huge mass of rhythms of every type.

I have encountered this block in people before, and have usually suggested playing more boogie and ragtime, but perhaps we are attempting to solve matters from the outside in instead of from the inside out.


"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: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766520
09/19/18 07:00 PM
09/19/18 07:00 PM
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Find a (good) drum teacher who actually works as a drummer and explain what you want.

Solving problems like you (the OP) describes is what they do.


Piano teacher.
Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: Ted] #2766532
09/19/18 07:46 PM
09/19/18 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Ted
Perhaps trying to intellectually relate rhythm to external things such as notation, counting and metronomes might not be the easiest way to go. I have always found rhythm to be a deeply internal, almost physical sensation, felt first and represented second. It resides everywhere in daily life within innumerable processes..


+1. And notation can only rather coarsely quantize rhythm into halves, quarters, eighths, etc. It's at best an approximation of how music should sound.


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Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766553
09/19/18 09:42 PM
09/19/18 09:42 PM
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I have had a few problems with timing, choosing to ignore the problem in part because of poor teaching, but also thinking it would just come like some sixth sense. I was also unable to use the metronome and even now close to six years of piano there are still some things that I have not got to grips with. Probably the biggest of those is not having a good internal sense of timing. However my teacher reminded me just today that it was drilled into her for years by her teachers before she started to get it.

The solution for me has always been to go back to the most basic thing I can do and slow down to a snails pace. Naturally I do scales and arpeggios (counting all the while) but I also do a fair bit of clapping exercises away from the piano. BTW melodic dictation is something you have to work at as a separate skill. Just being able to clap any rhythm does not mean when you hear a rhythm without seeing it you can easily identify it.

Originally Posted by michaelvi

The only blame I hear all the time - "you don't count!!!". I am trying to count... To my hearing it appears correct, but when I look at those graphs drawn in DAW software I ONLY VISUALLY see that real nightmare...


counting your own playing can be difficult until you know the piece inside out, back to front which can take many months before you are at that stage. You will have to make friends with the metronome at some stage and it is possible to get over your issue with them. I had a lot of difficulty as well with the metronome, but as usual I was trying to run before I could walk. So start off with something easy and build on success; it is possible.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: JohnSprung] #2766557
09/19/18 10:16 PM
09/19/18 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by Ted
Perhaps trying to intellectually relate rhythm to external things such as notation, counting and metronomes might not be the easiest way to go. I have always found rhythm to be a deeply internal, almost physical sensation, felt first and represented second. It resides everywhere in daily life within innumerable processes..


+1. And notation can only rather coarsely quantize rhythm into halves, quarters, eighths, etc. It's at best an approximation of how music should sound.




How relieved I am to know at least one other person realises that. Notation, over a couple of hundred years, has come to represent music itself, and it doesn't, it can't. Composers compose in terms of notation, players play to emulate it, but it is at best merely a very crude approximation, particularly with regard to rhythm, only a very small, simple subset of which can be notated unambiguously at all.


"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: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766565
09/19/18 11:15 PM
09/19/18 11:15 PM
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Had the same problem for the longest time, aggravated by poor teaching. For the first few decades of my life, I did not even *know* what rhythm was. Sure, I could understand it in a conceptual way but I had no idea what people meant when they said “feel the rhythm.” My dance teacher literally gave up on me at 10 years old.

The turning point was when I changed teachers. At my first lesson, my teacher made me play the 1st Hanon exercise and correctly diagnosed my rhythm issue as I literally gave him a headache with my uneven playing (at a very slow tempo at that). So my first challenge was to play Hanon #1 evenly at 60 bpm with a metronome.

I’d like to add that my teacher gets very physical with rhythm, as he would often march and clap or drum in time to the beat. It was overwhelming at first but I found that I could follow along better with his rhythmic marching than the constant tick of the metronome. But the most important thing was that he would always ask me if I “felt” the rhythm. He would literally stop me if he didn’t “feel the rhythm” from the first measure. From that I got the habit of pausing for a moment to count internally or tapping my lap to the beat before playing (the latter is personally more effective).

As others have said, rhythm/pulse is more of something you feel. I think that like you, I was formerly stuck in the mindset that I needed to hear it...but “hearing rhythm” is only about 1/4 of the picture. Because in order to get the rhythm right you have to get a steady pulse first—so you can’t listen for this pulse, because if you hear it, then it’s already too late! You have to play in time with the pulse so in the best scenario you wouldn’t even hear it.

Anyway, I would suggest you turn on the metronome, slowly at first (60-80 bpm) and spend a few moments trying to internalize and match the feel of the beat by drumming, clapping, etc. before playing the first note. Play something very simple—a scale, Hanon exercise, etc. To make it easier, play one note to for every beat at first. Then graduate to two notes per beat, etc.

It took me months and months of practice before I could get my bearings so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get there quickly.

As an aside, my ability to keep up with the metronome exploded in the last few months after I started doing duets with a friend. Keeping the rhythm in time is essential when playing a duet. So aside from counting I started turning on the metronome all the time when I was practicing my duet part. So the more I practiced, the better my ability to keep up with the metronome became.


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Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766567
09/19/18 11:33 PM
09/19/18 11:33 PM
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Do you spend time listening to music? It could be folk, bluegrass, jazz or rap. Do you dance? Some pianists have a good inner pulse and others do not. It is something that can be learned. Do you run or walk? That is rhythmic. Try counting as you walk, tapping out tunes on the kitchen counter.

You might be interested in this John Mortensen video on how pianists give low priority to rhythmic issues and what to do about it.







Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766575
09/20/18 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by michaelvi
Sorry if I am starting new thread on the topic that was probably already discussed here thousand times


Hasn't been.

Originally Posted by michaelvi
Some other exercises, special pieces, etc.?


Throw yourself into ragtime, bossa nova, tango. Butcher it for a long time. Don't stress but try to make it sound like the music you listen to. It will come.

(OTOH, I have like zip pitch sense.)


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Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766587
09/20/18 03:12 AM
09/20/18 03:12 AM
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Quote
. . . I’d like to add that my teacher gets very physical with rhythm, as he would often march and clap or drum in time to the beat. It was overwhelming at first but I found that I could follow along better with his rhythmic marching than the constant tick of the metronome. . .


That makes sense, to me.

My suggestion:

. . Find a local weekly drum circle, and attend regularly for a few months .

Most of them use djembes, and will let you rent one (for the class) for a reasonable cost. (Good djembes are expensive, but you don't need a good one for learning what you need to learn.)

If there's a decent leader, you'll enjoy it, and probably improve your sense of rhythm. I'll bet that the improvement will transfer immediately to your piano playing.






Last edited by Charles Cohen; 09/20/18 03:13 AM.

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Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: bennevis] #2766610
09/20/18 08:10 AM
09/20/18 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis

I think it's best if you go back to first principles and start from scratch, with familiar tunes - like Happy Birthday.

Don't look it up - how many beats in a bar/measure? Sing it aloud. Then, with the tune in your head, clap the beats.

Does the tune start on a strong beat or weak one? Once you get the strong beats, you know how many beats to a bar.
.


Happy birthday is a nasty one, not good for starters wink It does not even start on the tonic


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Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: wouter79] #2766619
09/20/18 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by wouter79
Originally Posted by bennevis

I think it's best if you go back to first principles and start from scratch, with familiar tunes - like Happy Birthday.

Don't look it up - how many beats in a bar/measure? Sing it aloud. Then, with the tune in your head, clap the beats.

Does the tune start on a strong beat or weak one? Once you get the strong beats, you know how many beats to a bar.
.


Happy birthday is a nasty one, not good for starters wink It does not even start on the tonic

For the purpose of rhythm, it's actually easier than Twinkle, Twinkle and Mary had, because (unlike them) HB has obvious strong regular beats even though the notes are difficult to sing. (Few men can actually sing it in tune).

And everyone knows it, even in deepest darkest Antarctica, unlike Twinkle and Mary. Even the penguins know it wink .


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2766675
09/20/18 01:27 PM
09/20/18 01:27 PM
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This just showed up in my inbox. Words of wisdom from Graham Fitch on developing an inner pulse.

https://practisingthepiano.com/rhythm-develop-steady-pulse/



Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: PianogrlNW] #2766723
09/20/18 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Words of wisdom from Graham Fitch on developing an inner pulse.

https://practisingthepiano.com/rhythm-develop-steady-pulse/

thumb
A choice quote from the article:

At the elementary level it’s the job of the teacher to set the pulse in lessons by counting out aloud energetically one or two bars before every scale, before every piece, and before every time a passage is repeated. After a while, the pupil is invited to set their own pulse by counting out aloud before they play. Laborious? A bit, but well worth the effort. In this way the process becomes internalised, and happens as second nature.

I well remember - at the age of ten - counting aloud with my first teacher, right from the first few minutes of my first lesson. I had to count aloud every piece I learnt for the first few months. She even got me singing the 'counts' in pitch with the notes I was playing - no mean feat for a very self-conscious kid to do in front of a teenage girl of nineteen, as she was then. But if she could do it in front of me, I could do it with her.....

And with a regular pulse drilled into me all those early months of lessons, I never needed to use a metronome all through my student days: my three subsequent teachers never asked me to play alongside the ticking of one, though once or twice, they might just check the tempo with one (but never when I was playing), and then ask me to play at that speed.

Personally, I believe that you can have music without notes, but no music without rhythm, or a pulse of some sort.

Listen to this iconic piece:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDhwFTw4VnI


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: Whizbang] #2766806
09/21/18 06:59 AM
09/21/18 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Whizbang
Throw yourself into ragtime, bossa nova, tango. Butcher it for a long time. Don't stress but try to make it sound like the music you listen to. It will come

Intuitively I understand that this suggestion makes a lot of sense. But unfortunately those are not quite my music genres (with rare exceptions)

Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Do you spend time listening to music? It could be folk, bluegrass, jazz or rap.
I do listen a lot but almost only classical music. Also pop and rock that was popular when I was a teenager (ABBA, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd) but that is also very selectively.

Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Do you dance?
My daughter has spent first 25 years of her live on ballroom dances and even became teacher and international judge. I of course always supported her to the maximum possible extend but still don't understand this kind of art at all. However, things like this one for example hugely impress me (is it possible to "reconstruct" this on piano?)

Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
You might be interested in this John Mortensen video on how pianists give low priority to rhythmic issues and what to do about it.
Very interesting indeed! Thank you!

Thank you all for your answers! This thread did trigger some new thoughts and gave me very good suggestions. I'll try to work further on this issue...


Started 2016-01-29
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Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2767276
09/24/18 01:24 AM
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Can you hear how steady and precise his rhythm and inner pulse is?






Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: PianogrlNW] #2767380
09/24/18 01:49 PM
09/24/18 01:49 PM
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michaelvi Offline OP
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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Can you hear how steady and precise his rhythm and inner pulse is?

Honestly? No. Sorry... I don't hear (feel, see, whatever) ANY rhythm (or pulse) in this song...


Started 2016-01-29
Casio Privia PX-760 => Garritan CFX Lite, Ravenscroft 275 => Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 =>ATH-40mx, Sennheiser HD598, JBL LSR305
Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: PianogrlNW] #2767382
09/24/18 02:01 PM
09/24/18 02:01 PM
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michaelvi Offline OP
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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Can you hear how steady and precise his rhythm and inner pulse is?

UPDATE: after 3rd try I think I heard some pulse while he was playing at the beginning, until he started singing. Then I lost it...

Last edited by michaelvi; 09/24/18 02:03 PM.

Started 2016-01-29
Casio Privia PX-760 => Garritan CFX Lite, Ravenscroft 275 => Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 =>ATH-40mx, Sennheiser HD598, JBL LSR305
Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2767401
09/24/18 04:16 PM
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emenelton Online content
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Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2767407
09/24/18 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by michaelvi
I do listen a lot but almost only classical music.

If classical music is your forte, this should do the trick thumb:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ORHVroiWHk

And the audience shows you how to clap in time too - even without the conductor's help grin.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: emenelton] #2767416
09/24/18 05:14 PM
09/24/18 05:14 PM
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michaelvi Offline OP
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Originally Posted by emenelton

For me it is clearly 4/4 but I won't be surprised you you tell me I am wrong


Started 2016-01-29
Casio Privia PX-760 => Garritan CFX Lite, Ravenscroft 275 => Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 =>ATH-40mx, Sennheiser HD598, JBL LSR305
Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2767437
09/24/18 07:11 PM
09/24/18 07:11 PM
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Great subject! Really insightful comments and instructive links - thanks. I am only 4 months in and started doing eighth notes which exposed a rhythmic weakness. I am either counting or using metronome on everything now! I'm pretty stubborn when I put my mind to something so it will come....it has to come...


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Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: PianogrlNW] #2767440
09/24/18 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Do you spend time listening to music? It could be folk, bluegrass, jazz or rap. Do you dance? Some pianists have a good inner pulse and others do not. It is something that can be learned. Do you run or walk? That is rhythmic. Try counting as you walk, tapping out tunes on the kitchen counter.

You might be interested in this John Mortensen video on how pianists give low priority to rhythmic issues and what to do about it.






Thank you so much for posting this. He sounds great. I have subscribed to his channel now.


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Re: How can I improve my rhythm hearing? [Re: michaelvi] #2767441
09/24/18 07:51 PM
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I agree with all that said count out loud. That is the only way I could seem to learn.


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