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Stubbie #3153687 09/06/21 10:53 AM
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Thank you all for your help!

Originally Posted by Stubbie
Animisha, it might help to mentally add a "count" between the beats to help fill the space, e.g. count the piece as 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

This is the easiest advice in this thread, so I will start by testing this one. smile
I think 1 e & a 2 e & a is simply horrific and I never use it.

If it doesn't help, I will try some of the other tips. cool


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You can try nodding your head instead of counting, as that may keep your beat more regular. Jazz players often do that.

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Originally Posted by liliboulanger
You can try nodding your head instead of counting, as that may keep your beat more regular. Jazz players often do that.

It is generally recommended that if you want to internalize rhythm, that counting out loud is recommended.


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Have you tried counting 1 + 2 HOLD, 1 + 2 HOLD? Then when the rhythm is steady, count 1 + 2 +. You want to feel the pulse of two beats per measure. For that reason, I would not recommend counting to 4. Turn on the metronome so that it clicks on the half beat (4 clicks per measure). When the pulse is steady, set the metronome to 2 clicks per measure, then 1 click per measure. Count out loud. Good luck and report back!



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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by liliboulanger
You can try nodding your head instead of counting, as that may keep your beat more regular. Jazz players often do that.

It is generally recommended that if you want to internalize rhythm, that counting out loud is recommended.
The OP has been counting aloud and it's not working for her (- presumably, she's not counting the beats regularly but doesn't realize it), so I agree with liliboulanger that an alternative method which involves a physical movement (not 'counting in the head' or 'visualizing'/imagining a movement etc) is needed.

It needs to be something that's rhythmic and has a natural regularity to the movement. Head bobbing is good, as is clapping aloud or foot tapping, but the latter two are not possible if you're using your hands and feet.

Basically, something that one can do while practicing that is easy to maintain regularity for a few minutes, which doesn't rely on an external source of beat. For most students, counting aloud does the trick. If that doesn't work, we have to find an alternative. Eventually, of course, the sense of a regular beat will be internalized.


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Use the counting plus metronome to go at the speed where you are making no mistake. Tackle a few bars at a time…look at where beat happens with metronome. Use the metronome to internalize the rhythm. Only when you are not making any mistakes, increase the speed by a few ticks and repeat… it is laborious. Hence, to keep things interesting…be mindful when you are no longer concentrating…take a break or tackle another piece.

I don’t like metronome sound or flashing lights. So I invested in the Core, it’s a watch with a metronome beat against the skin. I now use a metronome as part of learning a piece of music and with slow practice…before It was a no go with any metronome.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by liliboulanger
You can try nodding your head instead of counting, as that may keep your beat more regular. Jazz players often do that.

It is generally recommended that if you want to internalize rhythm, that counting out loud is recommended.

It can become a problem if one also plays a wind instrument. Being used to counting aloud from childhood piano lessons, I *still* have problems with rhythmic throat movements that are audible within my long notes on flute or recorder.


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Originally Posted by tangleweeds
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by liliboulanger
You can try nodding your head instead of counting, as that may keep your beat more regular. Jazz players often do that.

It is generally recommended that if you want to internalize rhythm, that counting out loud is recommended.

It can become a problem if one also plays a wind instrument. Being used to counting aloud from childhood piano lessons, I *still* have problems with rhythmic throat movements that are audible within my long notes on flute or recorder.

I sometimes see amateur pianists nodding their head as they play, more frequently playing duets, and it does not look good and is a sign that they cannot count in their head or feel the pulse. Then it becomes an ingrained habit. I don’t recall jazz musicians nodding to keep the rhythm. They do use their feet. Another reason to not nod your head to keep the beat is that your eyes move with your head, making it harder to keep your eyes on the score. But the biggest reason not to nod is there is no guarantee that you are moving your head in precise rhythm. I would stick with the metronome and count out loud until the rhythm is solid.



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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
I sometimes see pianists nodding their head as they are playing, more frequently playing duets, and it does not look good. Then it becomes an ingrained habit.
It doesn't have to be, just as counting beats aloud doesn't have to become ingrained.

The most important thing is that one has to learn to play with strict time, by whatever means.

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I don’t recall jazz musicians nodding to keep the rhythm.
Quite a number do that, especially when playing in trios, though not necessarily to keep time.


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Other reasons to not nod your head to keep the beat are that your eyes move with your head, making it harder to keep your eyes on the score.
Woodwind players move their heads all the time, but they have no trouble keeping their eyes on the score:

Head nodding can be very slight, just enough to "feel" the steady beat.


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I would stick with the metronome and count out loud until the rhythm is solid.
Isn't that what the OP has been doing all this time, and it isn't working?

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” - not by Albert E.


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With apologies to Nahum, who may disagree:

Play the piece with a metronome, slowly, until you can reliably match the metronome's beats. Use 4 beats per measure, because that gives you a "tick" on the eighth notes.

If that's hard for you, play a scale to the metronome, one (or two) notes per beat, until you can do that evenly. Then graduate, and play the piece.

As you have found, a problem with "I like to use rubato" is that -- until you can play strictly in time -- you don't _know_ when you're using rubato.

A tape recorder (as previously suggested) might be useful. When you go out-of-time with the metronome (it happens), a recording might help you figure out what you did wrong.


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If I understand the problem correctly and "rushing the quarter notes" means ending the measures too soon, there is a simple trick for that. Find a word or a phrase which, when pronounced as fast as you can, fits exactly into the time interval between playing the quarter and the next half note. And pronounce it until the quarter duration at your chosen tempo is internalized.

It's best to use a metronome to find the right phrase.

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I just looked at the music. With those eighth note rests being where they are, I'd for counting in eighths like someone suggested and kind of consider the whole piece in 4/8 time sort of (which in a way it also is).

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This is what I see. I could see the bass note coming in after the first rest as creating a first mischief.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ly8ctia60fjhj19/PW%20counts.jpg?dl=0

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As an update, I am working with the easiest solution, which is to count 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &. I put my talking metronome on the right tempo and count together with it, and then I turn off the metronome and count freely. As far as I can hear, it works! So next I'll make a recording and submit it, so my teacher can judge if she also think it is fine now. (Which will take some time because I have another piece in the pipeline.)

I started also to move my body on the beats, but stopped doing so after reading here that it doesn't look good.

I'll let you know once I have had feedback from my teacher! cool


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Originally Posted by Animisha
I'll let you know once I have had feedback from my teacher! cool
Why don't you post an audio of a few bars?

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Originally Posted by Animisha
As an update, I am working with the easiest solution, which is to count 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &. I put my talking metronome on the right tempo and count together with it, and then I turn off the metronome and count freely. As far as I can hear, it works! So next I'll make a recording and submit it, so my teacher can judge if she also think it is fine now. (Which will take some time because I have another piece in the pipeline.)

I started also to move my body on the beats, but stopped doing so after reading here that it doesn't look good.

I'll let you know once I have had feedback from my teacher! cool

Happy to hear it's working for you!


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Originally Posted by Animisha
I started also to move my body on the beats, but stopped doing so after reading here that it doesn't look good.

So, is looking good is more important than playing good?

The only times I have been able to help people, including myself, to improve and eventually achieve a steady and relaxed rhythmic pulse is to incorporate body movement into the process.


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Originally Posted by rocket88
Originally Posted by Animisha
I started also to move my body on the beats, but stopped doing so after reading here that it doesn't look good.

So, is looking good is more important than playing good?

The only times I have been able to help people, including myself, to improve and eventually achieve a steady and relaxed rhythmic pulse is to incorporate body movement into the process.

I wonder who said it doesn’t look good. I think when musicians move and have their own style of a movement it looks rather cool and confident. I would say move or do whatever helps you keep rhythm and enjoy playing.

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I've never cared about looking good - not even when performing, let alone when practicing in the privacy of my home, with only the housemites to keep their beady eyes on me. I just do whatever it takes for me to sound good.

But I've never heard anyone tell me that I'm gyrating in a very unmasculine way (whatever that is), or that I'm rolling my eyes at the non-existent fly on the ceiling, or I'm chewing cud when there's (hopefully) no cud to chew.

Let's get real - it's far more annoying for any listener to hear inept playing where the tempo billows like the wind than it is for him to detect that the pianist is nodding his head very slightly in time with the beats.

What did I do (or rather, what did my first teacher made me do) as a kid in order that I kept strict time when playing? I had to sing aloud the beats 1-2-3-4 or 1-and-2-and-3 (depending on context), using notes that are either (part of) the melody or harmony, or which 'fits'. Every piece that I learnt for the first few months. Soon, the sense of a regular beat was completely ingrained, and I'd also developed a strong sense of pitch. From then on, I didn't need to continue doing that any more (though I'd still occasionally deploy it when I felt like it, or when practicing a tricky rhythm).

Which is why I make all my students do the same. If that isn't enough to enforce the sense of a regular beat, I'd add on body movements. No student of mine is unable to keep strict time all the way through their pieces by six months into lessons.


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