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#1066635 - 07/10/08 03:58 PM counting, rhythm, fractions
musdan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/05
Posts: 1187
Back to the fourth grade and drawing pies on the blackboard,

My first teacher sort of taught it but didn't really spend much time on counting/rhythm. It's important to my new teacher and she's right on.

Math and I are at odds with each other and it's really a challenge for me - whole notes, 1/2, 1/4 8th etc. and in turn keeping the right rhythm in the pieces we are working on.

I know it will all come together - just have to keep at it till it sinks in.

My guess is that I'm not alone in this counting/rhythm puzzle.


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#1066636 - 07/10/08 04:41 PM Re: counting, rhythm, fractions
Jacob777 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/07
Posts: 103
You are not alone \:\)
For me, though, since I read the advice in this thread http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/32/6762.html my sense of time and rhythm has improved tremendously and I can honestly say that this has been the single most important factor in my overall improvement in the last 6 months. So I definitely think it would be worth your while to invest the time and energy to improve in this area.

#1066637 - 07/10/08 06:20 PM Re: counting, rhythm, fractions
jjtpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Jamestown, NC
I like to think in terms of the pulse.

If you're in a quarter note pulse, eights divide the pulse into 2 equal parts, triplets divide the pulse into three equal parts and sixteenths divide the pulse into four equal parts.
Live Music Is Best

#1066638 - 07/10/08 07:02 PM Re: counting, rhythm, fractions
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Like math, lots of people have trouble with rhythm/counting (like me!), and, like math, there are a zillion ways to explain/conceptualize this stuff...so you just have to keep asking questions about what in particular you're having difficulty with, and eventually someone will explain it, or a lightbulb will come on, and you'll get it.

It's not really that difficult, once you get a handle on it. But it's getting the right handle that can sometimes take a while ;\)

Like math - I firmly believe that the main problem with math is that it tends to be taught by people who find math easy!! ;\)

You're on the right track. Think of each measure like a whole pie. The time signature tells you how many pieces you can divide it into. The notes tell you how to further subdivide each piece.

I would definitely learn this stuff away from the piano first, in order to understand its organizational structure. And that I would do in 2 different ways:

One, to learn the basic structure (ie the 'pyramid' of notes...ie in 4/4 time 1 whole note = 2 half notes = 4 quarter notes = 8 8th notes etc...), and to be able to work it out on paper, do rhythm worksheets where you fill in the missing note, etc.1

Two, to apply what you learned...clap rhythms while counting out loud, etc.

THEN put it all together with notes at the piano.
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

#1066639 - 07/10/08 07:16 PM Re: counting, rhythm, fractions
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1399
Loc: Dallas, TX
Learning the notation and organizational principles is certainly first. But you also have to learn to feel it at the keyboard.

A metronome is invaluable for dealing with many rhythm problems: even triplets, alternating between triplet and eighth notes in the same measure, polyrhythms (like 2-against-3), giving long notes and rests their proper values, etc.
Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

#1066640 - 07/10/08 07:57 PM Re: counting, rhythm, fractions
DragonPianoPlayer Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2452
Loc: Denver, CO
I have

Play at first Sight

Sight Read any Rhythm Instantly

both of which seem to be very useful for learning rhythms. (I have not worked through both of them.)

I also found this book to have a very interesting approach (even though it is for band):
The Simple Rhythmatician

The first two books focus on feeling the patterns and pulses instead of detailed counting. The last book as a link to an introduction section that will explain it's approach.


#1066641 - 07/10/08 08:09 PM Re: counting, rhythm, fractions
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
I am pretty firm in the belief that one of the reasons so many people say they "have trouble" with counting/rhythms is that it is not taught as a seperate skill...and it should be.

Especially as beginners, people think the notes are more important than the rhythms, and when the music gets more difficult, will concentrate on the notes more than getting the rhythms right.

It's really too much to ask for many beginners and relative beginners to be learning to count out/play rhythms *only* at the piano. Teach it as a seperate skill, away from the piano, get people confident that they can read/play rhythms correctly, then combine and learn it at the keyboard as well.

It gets to be overwhelming otherwise.
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

#1066642 - 07/11/08 08:14 AM Re: counting, rhythm, fractions
musdan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/05
Posts: 1187
Many thanks for all your helpful suggestions.

Guess it's back to the drawing board.


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