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Re: I can't play and count at the same time! [Re: chongjasmine] #2846475
05/08/19 01:43 PM
05/08/19 01:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,954
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Posts: 16,954
Boynton Beach, FL
I was recently working on Debussy's Bruyères. Since I learned to count out loud while playing early on in my education, I don't normally need to count or even write in counting, but this one was so tricky it required it!

[Linked Image]

(Sorry this is blurry, it's fine on my phone, but when I upload it it becomes blurry for some reason.)


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: I can't play and count at the same time! [Re: chongjasmine] #2846540
05/08/19 06:18 PM
05/08/19 06:18 PM
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 4
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Cocorbett Offline
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Joined: May 2019
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Hi! A long time lurker and an adult beginner since few years here, and I have (had) exactly the same problem.

I didn't learn to count out loud in the beginning, but I would like eventually to be able to sing and play at the same time and being able to open your mouth while playing would help in that. For me it really was so that playing stopped immediately when I tried to produce any sound with my mouth. Few months back I decided to do something about this, and it only took a day of deliberate practice to get from zero to being able to count and play simple rhythms. So for someone who can already handle the basics, learning to count is not that hard. Also, I don't feel that I really missed anything by learning to play with metronome first and learning to count out loud later.

How I see it is that beginner/intermediate piano practice has lot to do with learning to play more voices simultaneously. And the rhythms in those voices getting more complicated and more different from each other. You start practicing with single voice (right hand alone) and then proceed to play two voices (left + right) and eventually to more than one voice in one or both hands. Counting out loud (or singing) is just one more voice that you need to produce at the same time while playing so it adds complexity. The fewer there are voices and the more simple they are the easier it is to play, and this applies to counting too. I bet anyone can count 1-2-3-4 while just playing straight quarter notes, and if you can play two voice pieces (left+right) then left+count and right+count also come pretty easily. Left+right+count on the other hand is one more voice that you are used to handle so it's a new skill that just needs practice.

I've found that at least for me counting is rather intuitive to understand and practice when thinking it as part of the music. Just align the count with the rest of the piece you are playing and then learn the three voice music. I know this is kind of inverse to the "normal" way of counting where you are expected to be able to count first and then align the piece to the count, but if you already can play with the metronome, but cannot count, then this is the direction you are going. To learn to count evenly, do the practicing with metronome. I'm also learning to use Musecore so I wrote down the exercise I did (well not exactly, but you get the idea): Start with something simple, repeat until comfortable, and proceed to harder stuff. The good thing with this snippet is that you can probably get to bars 5-6 quite fast and then you already know how to play half of the pop songs cool

[Linked Image]


Last edited by Cocorbett; 05/08/19 06:20 PM. Reason: Trying to fix the image link
Re: I can't play and count at the same time! [Re: Morodiene] #2846550
05/08/19 06:37 PM
05/08/19 06:37 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 5,013
Richmond, BC, Canada
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted by Morodiene
I was recently working on Debussy's Bruyères. Since I learned to count out loud while playing early on in my education, I don't normally need to count or even write in counting, but this one was so tricky it required it!
. . .


The same, here. I don't bother writing-in beats for most things. But once in a while I need the extra help of _seeing_ "1 . 2 .3 . 4" over the notes (or rests) where they occur. More in choral music, than in piano music.

The second measure of Pao Gasol's excerpt has another problem:

. . . The rhythm of the text is _syncopated_ -- two important words occur on the "and", not on the beats.

That adds to the frustration when you're learning to play it, and adds to the joy when you finally get it right.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: I can't play and count at the same time! [Re: Charles Cohen] #2846586
05/08/19 09:58 PM
05/08/19 09:58 PM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 55
Chicago
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Pau Gasol Offline
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Posts: 55
Chicago
Originally Posted by Charles Cohen


The second measure of Pao Gasol's excerpt has another problem:

. . . The rhythm of the text is _syncopated_ -- two important words occur on the "and", not on the beats.

That adds to the frustration when you're learning to play it, and adds to the joy when you finally get it right.



I think that's why I've stumbled over that measure. But I've been working on it slowly, here at home. Writing the numbers on the printed page has helped. I'll get it sooner or later!

Re: I can't play and count at the same time! [Re: Pau Gasol] #2846598
05/08/19 11:28 PM
05/08/19 11:28 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,654
Pennsylvania
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dmd Offline
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Pennsylvania
Originally Posted by Pau Gasol
Originally Posted by Charles Cohen


The second measure of Pao Gasol's excerpt has another problem:

. . . The rhythm of the text is _syncopated_ -- two important words occur on the "and", not on the beats.

That adds to the frustration when you're learning to play it, and adds to the joy when you finally get it right.



I think that's why I've stumbled over that measure. But I've been working on it slowly, here at home. Writing the numbers on the printed page has helped. I'll get it sooner or later!



Well, I would suggest to ignore the words.

Play what is written with notation.


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Edifier R1850DB Active Bookshelf Speakers, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs
Re: I can't play and count at the same time! [Re: dmd] #2846753
05/09/19 11:27 AM
05/09/19 11:27 AM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 55
Chicago
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Pau Gasol Offline
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Posts: 55
Chicago
Originally Posted by dmd

Well, I would suggest to ignore the words.

Play what is written with notation.


I finally had the brilliant idea to use "white out" and get rid of the words.... Numbers only now! Its working!

Re: I can't play and count at the same time! [Re: Pau Gasol] #2846785
05/09/19 12:38 PM
05/09/19 12:38 PM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,054
Israel
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Nahum Offline
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Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 3,054
Israel
Originally Posted by Pau Gasol


That makes sense.

I brought this in to work with me.... Maybe I can tap out the rhythm on my desk. I have the other 98% of the song down perfectly and in the correct rhythm; I just have to work on this and the measure which comes afterward (not shown here).

[Linked Image]



About strategy and tools. The presence of syncopation inside the bars and at the joints between them is difficult rhythmically for every student. Therefore, the first step is to temporarily eliminate syncope; those. on the one hand remove the slurs between the eighths, on the other hand - split the dotted quarter into 3 separate eighths.
Thus, in this bar it turns just eight eighths. And in the next bar to do likewise.

[Linked Image]

The problem is that one-and-two-and-three-and-four is not a rhythmic language, but a counting language; and furthermore has no relation to the text of the song . It is more effective to use the syllables of English text as a rhythmic language in the form of eighths (and English is really more rhythmic than any other), and repeat syllables and short words where one note is longer than one eighth. At the end, the notes are filled with a rhythmic pulsation of the text, what is the goal.
In addition, there is a rhythmic strategy specifically for jazz, pop and rock music: the transformation of f a half-bar note text into a repeating riff which instantly simplifies the rhythm. There is a reason for this: in these genres, the rhythmic patterns are very tortuous and vary not only between bars, but also inside bars, which can cause the rhythmic deformation of the subsequent rhythm due to the memory of the previous one.

Re: I can't play and count at the same time! [Re: Pianoperformance] #2846872
05/09/19 07:09 PM
05/09/19 07:09 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 615
Rockville, MD
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500 Post Club Member
Seeker  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 615
Rockville, MD
Originally Posted by Pianoperformance
. Go slooooooow. It will get faster once you get new skill under your belt.


I agree with this prescription.

The problem you are having---I think---is having to do more than one thing at a time. Eventually, with practice, you will be able to "time slice" your attention so that you can seamlessly count AND play at the same time.

For now, if you are like many of my students, you will have to alternate paying attention to what note you are playing, where it is on the piano, with counting and keeping the beat.

It's NOT easy, but people can learn to do it. I bet you can too.

If you have a smartphone, get yourself a metronome app, set it very slow, play along with it without counting. Once you can match pace with the metronome, try reading the music and counting in rhythm with the metronome WITHOUT actually pressing down the keys.

You know what to do next....

Good luck on your piano journey.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
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