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#1350235 - 01/15/10 07:19 AM I don't practice with a metronome neither I count.
fe2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/09
Posts: 380
Loc: Brazil
Hey there, I need somebody to tell if I'm really making a mistake by not using a metronome neither counting at all. Is this something I need to get used to? Is this essential?
_________________________
Roland FP7F

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#1350238 - 01/15/10 07:35 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: fe2008]
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands
Is counting essential?

Yes.

I don't know how long you have been playing. If you are a real beginner and only play short well-known pieces of music you'll probably get away with playing the rythm 'by ear'.

But as soon as things get more complicated (16th or shorter notes, syncopated rythms, pieces of music you are not familiar with, weird time signatures, changing time signatures within a piece, different rythms for left and right hand) you'll get lost during your attempts to master a piece.

Much better to get used to counting before you reach that point.

(a metronome can be useful for real complex rythms, or for checking wether you keep a constant tempo throughout a piece, or to force you to practice low speed. Not as basically necessary as straightforward counting, but a very useful practice tool)

Ingrid

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#1350267 - 01/15/10 08:54 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: IngridT]
mooshinator Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 66
Loc: Upstate New York
I am a beginner and I find counting to be very, very important when learning a new piece at slow tempo.

As I increase the tempo up to full speed, there's a point where I become unable to count anymore, though. I don't know if it will come with practice, or if it's something I should work on harder, but at a certain tempo I just can't count and play at the same time or my brain gets overwhelmed.

So at that point, I usually turn on the metronome and use that to work my speed up.

But some combination of the two of them is definitely essential for me.

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#1350272 - 01/15/10 09:04 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: mooshinator]
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands
Mooshinator...

My experience (playing 3 yrs, so also still a beginner) is that once you know how a piece should sound, rythm wise, you don't have to count throughout every beat and measure. For complex pieces though, I notice that sometimes I continue counting through a few difficult spots. What I also often do is kind of count-singing. Like I use the one-and-two-etc to kind of 'sing' the melody (instead of whatever other text there is, or instead of humming a textless-piece. It sounds ridiculous, but works well. It's like the counting and the playing more or less 'merge'..more pleasant for the brain I think. (and also an easy way to work on rythms when away from the piano. In the car. or on your bike)

Ingrid

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#1350278 - 01/15/10 09:15 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: fe2008]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4378
Loc: Jersey Shore
Originally Posted By: fe2008
Hey there, I need somebody to tell if I'm really making a mistake by not using a metronome neither counting at all. Is this something I need to get used to? Is this essential?


Being a good counter is my biggest downfall. It is extremely important.

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#1350305 - 01/15/10 09:48 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Mark...]
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
I find that I have to focus on the rhythm problems the most. I can fix an incorrect note far, far easier than incorrect rhythm. I've even had to stop working on pieces because I could not fix the rhythm mistakes I have learned in them.

Rich
_________________________

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#1350375 - 01/15/10 11:22 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: DragonPianoPlayer]
why_cant_I_play Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/05/09
Posts: 34
Loc: USA - East Coast
I am probably a minority in my opinion so take it with a grain of salt. I started to play fairly recently and am in my 40's, and I have come to the realization that I will never be an expert Piano player and hence am resigned to the fact that I will only be playing pieces that I love to hear i.e. I doubt I will ever be able to look at sheet music and just be able to play.

So I have basically decided on just doing it by ear and if I can play the pieces I like fairly close than I am OK with it.

As I said I am probably a minority in this opinion but you need to decide what type of player do you want to be, I would think its fairly important to use a metronome/count if you want to be at the level as some of the other contributors to this forum.

All the best.

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#1350378 - 01/15/10 11:24 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: why_cant_I_play]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
Counting is for rhythm; the metronome is for tempo. Both are important.
_________________________
Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

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#1350409 - 01/15/10 12:06 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: IngridT]
Rachel J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 325
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Originally Posted By: IngridT
Is counting essential?

Yes.

I don't know how long you have been playing. If you are a real beginner and only play short well-known pieces of music you'll probably get away with playing the rythm 'by ear'.

But as soon as things get more complicated (16th or shorter notes, syncopated rythms, pieces of music you are not familiar with, weird time signatures, changing time signatures within a piece, different rythms for left and right hand) you'll get lost during your attempts to master a piece.

Much better to get used to counting before you reach that point.

(a metronome can be useful for real complex rythms, or for checking wether you keep a constant tempo throughout a piece, or to force you to practice low speed. Not as basically necessary as straightforward counting, but a very useful practice tool)

Ingrid


Ingrid has summed up my feelings exactly... To really achieve perfect rhythm, you need to have the ability to count correctly as you play. To achieve a rock-solid steady tempo, you need to have the ability to stay with a metronome.

Whether you work hard at these things is really up to you to decide how good you want to be!
_________________________
Rachel Jimenez Piano teacher in Brooklyn, NY / Author of Fundamental Keys method
My professional website: FundamentalKeys.com
Latest blog post: "A marvelous pianist and mentor"

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#1350435 - 01/15/10 12:32 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: IngridT]
mooshinator Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 66
Loc: Upstate New York
Originally Posted By: IngridT
Mooshinator...

My experience (playing 3 yrs, so also still a beginner) is that once you know how a piece should sound, rythm wise, you don't have to count throughout every beat and measure. For complex pieces though, I notice that sometimes I continue counting through a few difficult spots. What I also often do is kind of count-singing. Like I use the one-and-two-etc to kind of 'sing' the melody (instead of whatever other text there is, or instead of humming a textless-piece. It sounds ridiculous, but works well. It's like the counting and the playing more or less 'merge'..more pleasant for the brain I think. (and also an easy way to work on rythms when away from the piano. In the car. or on your bike)

Ingrid


Thank you, Ingrid, reading your post made me think of several ideas that I could try!

I know *exactly* what you mean about singing the count! I used to do it all the time before my method book got into eighth notes. Without eighth notes, I was able to sing the count and play at full tempo. Once I added in eighth notes, however, my brain got overloaded.

However, you make an interesting point about not needing every single beat in the count once you understand the rhythm. One thing I may try is when I am learning the song at slow tempo I will continue to do a "full count", and by that I mean saying "and" for the eighth notes.

But once I learn the rhythm and start speeding up the tempo, I may try dropping the "and"s and reverting to just counting the beats like a metronome, 1 - 2 - 3 - 4... by doing that, I might be able to once again "sing the count" and count and play at full tempo...

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#1350449 - 01/15/10 12:54 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: mooshinator]
Nguyen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/09
Posts: 430
Loc: Massachusetts
I think if you have in a year or 2 goal, not rushing to play your favorite pieces right away or soon, counting definitely will come with practice. Same with LF, RH coordination, counting is extremely difficult at first. And like LF, RH coordination, we have to overcome that to play any piece, favorite or not, counting will also become easier. I haven’t encountered difficult rhythms yet, but the ones that were so difficult to me months ago are now very doable after a few tries.


Edited by Nguyen (01/15/10 12:56 PM)
_________________________
Nguyen - Student Pianist

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#1350481 - 01/15/10 01:33 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: fe2008]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: fe2008
Hey there, I need somebody to tell if I'm really making a mistake by not using a metronome neither counting at all. Is this something I need to get used to? Is this essential?

Going the classical route? Probably. Not classical? Not really.
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1350487 - 01/15/10 01:39 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: eweiss]
fe2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/09
Posts: 380
Loc: Brazil
Thanks everyone, I'll start slowly.
_________________________
Roland FP7F

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#1350491 - 01/15/10 01:45 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Mark...]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Mark...


Being a good counter is my biggest downfall. It is extremely important.


Why is that a downfall?

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#1350579 - 01/15/10 03:40 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Andromaque]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
I came up with something I called the "MiM Index Finger Method" :-) It is basically about using your index finger to point and touch the sheet as you count, as well as when you are listening to the recorded piece.

So, I look at the time signature, say it is 4/4. I then point to each note and count like" 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and, etc., placing my finger on each note, and keeping it for the duration of the note. Doing this a few times before you play anything ensures that when you do play, you don't go off in the wrong direction, pick the wrong tempo, miss a note, etc. What I noticed is that if you try to start learning a piece before fully understanding when and where each note goes, you end up paying up for that later on as you try to unlearn the mistake. I have been playing for about 14 years, but still take it with a grain of salt.
_________________________
Happy Playing All
http://www.box.net/shared/897uu7aqv4

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#1350597 - 01/15/10 04:10 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Andromaque]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4378
Loc: Jersey Shore
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Originally Posted By: Mark...


Being a good counter is my biggest downfall. It is extremely important.


Why is that a downfall?


When I started self teaching, before I got a teacher, I didn't count. When I finally got a teacher, I was way behind in that area and I'm still trying to fix my counting problem. If I was better at it, my pieces wouldn't sound so hackish. It's a real problem for me and its really hurting me as I advance.

That's why I tell people, get a teacher early, it can save you major problems...


Edited by Mark... (01/15/10 04:12 PM)

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#1350601 - 01/15/10 04:13 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: eweiss]
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
Originally Posted By: eweiss
Originally Posted By: fe2008
Hey there, I need somebody to tell if I'm really making a mistake by not using a metronome neither counting at all. Is this something I need to get used to? Is this essential?

Going the classical route? Probably. Not classical? Not really.


Playing ensemble. Definitely.
_________________________

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#1350778 - 01/15/10 09:04 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: packa]
BlueBKLYN Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/10
Posts: 37
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: packa
Counting is for rhythm; the metronome is for tempo. Both are important.

Exactly this.

And I don't know if it will help anyone, but I have lots of difficult measures marked with the counts directly on the music--written in by me. 1 & 2 e & a 3 4 & etc.

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#1350849 - 01/16/10 12:49 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: BlueBKLYN]
MimosaPudica Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/09
Posts: 16
i find it very difficult to count when the rhythm become complicated...
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#1350854 - 01/16/10 12:58 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: MimosaPudica]
Nguyen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/09
Posts: 430
Loc: Massachusetts
Would slow it down help? I wonder if Beethoven, Mozart or Chopin had metronomes in their days; or did they simply just have to count?
_________________________
Nguyen - Student Pianist

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#1350964 - 01/16/10 08:43 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Nguyen]
Rachel J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 325
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Originally Posted By: Nguyen
Would slow it down help? I wonder if Beethoven, Mozart or Chopin had metronomes in their days; or did they simply just have to count?


Slowing down is essential! The metronome was invented during Beethoven's lifetime, but I don't think people really started using it while practicing right away.

I tell my students to stop and think carefully about the rhythm of what they are playing. Something like counting out loud while tapping out the notes of the "busier" hand (on the case of the piano for example), first slowly, then gradually up to tempo, is an invaluable exercise.
_________________________
Rachel Jimenez Piano teacher in Brooklyn, NY / Author of Fundamental Keys method
My professional website: FundamentalKeys.com
Latest blog post: "A marvelous pianist and mentor"

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#1351052 - 01/16/10 11:12 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Rachel J]
Nguyen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/09
Posts: 430
Loc: Massachusetts
Rachel, thank you. Does tapping steady beats LH (2 beats/3 beats/4 beats depend on Time Signature) and tapping RH melody count? Or one has to count out loud together with tapping? I count most of the time but sometimes it’s too tiring because counting is like singing, I can’t breath while I count so for some pieces, I just tap both hands and my left foot. When I play, I stop tapping and counting altogether once I know how it goes. I'm practicing tapping my left foot as playing now but that's too tough together with pedaling and playing both hands.
_________________________
Nguyen - Student Pianist

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#1351054 - 01/16/10 11:17 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Nguyen]
Rachel J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 325
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Originally Posted By: Nguyen
Rachel, thank you. Does tapping steady beats LH (2 beats/3 beats/4 beats depend on Time Signature) and tapping RH melody count? Or one has to count out loud together with tapping? I count most of the time but sometimes it’s too tiring because counting is like singing, I can’t breath while I count so for some pieces, I just tap both hands and my left foot. When I play, I stop tapping and counting altogether once I know how it goes. I'm practicing tapping my left foot as playing now but that's too tough together with pedaling and playing both hands.


Yes, tapping straight quarter notes in the other hand or with your foot can be okay. However, with my students, I've noticed that that requires even more coordination than counting out loud because it requires moving a part of your body to the beat. For the students who are really having trouble with rhythm, doing that would really not help! Just speaking the beat numbers in a normal tone of voice should not be too tiring.
_________________________
Rachel Jimenez Piano teacher in Brooklyn, NY / Author of Fundamental Keys method
My professional website: FundamentalKeys.com
Latest blog post: "A marvelous pianist and mentor"

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#1351060 - 01/16/10 11:36 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Rachel J]
Nguyen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/09
Posts: 430
Loc: Massachusetts
So, a combination of all the above would be perfect, whichever one is most comfortable with? The goal is to master rhythm?
_________________________
Nguyen - Student Pianist

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#1351094 - 01/16/10 12:37 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Nguyen]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: Nguyen
The goal is to master rhythm?


Absolutely. The aim is to get it right - to have the same number of beats in each bar (preferably the number chosen by the composer), and to have those beats coming steady - not getting faster and not getting slower.

Trouble is, most people at the earlier stages (and some at the later stages too) can't tell if they're getting it right or not. In the absence of a teacher, it can be bad and you don't know it.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1351096 - 01/16/10 12:41 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: ten left thumbs]
Rachel J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 325
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Right... A combination of all is best! It's true, too, though, that it's hard to know if you are doing things correctly without a teacher.
_________________________
Rachel Jimenez Piano teacher in Brooklyn, NY / Author of Fundamental Keys method
My professional website: FundamentalKeys.com
Latest blog post: "A marvelous pianist and mentor"

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#1351104 - 01/16/10 12:52 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: ten left thumbs]
BlueBKLYN Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/10
Posts: 37
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
(preferably the number chosen by the composer),

grin

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#1351112 - 01/16/10 01:04 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Rachel J]
Nguyen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/09
Posts: 430
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Absolutely. The aim is to get it right - to have the same number of beats in each bar (preferably the number chosen by the composer), and to have those beats coming steady - not getting faster and not getting slower.

Trouble is, most people at the earlier stages (and some at the later stages too) can't tell if they're getting it right or not. In the absence of a teacher, it can be bad and you don't know it.


Originally Posted By: Rachel J
Right... A combination of all is best! It's true, too, though, that it's hard to know if you are doing things correctly without a teacher.

Hmmm… The more I ask, the more complicated it gets… confused

Is Bar and Measure the same? I thought a Bar is either a Treble or Bass staff. Then the Grand Staff has both Bars? grin
_________________________
Nguyen - Student Pianist

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#1351116 - 01/16/10 01:08 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Nguyen]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Ya. 12 bars is the same as 12 measures my east coast friend. thumb
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1351126 - 01/16/10 01:18 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: eweiss]
Nguyen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/09
Posts: 430
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: eweiss
Ya. 12 bars is the same as 12 measures my east coast friend. thumb
Why 12? Why not 1 bar = 1 measure? You just keep adding more question marks to my already overwhelming brain. grin

Thank you for rubbing it in. It's freezing our rear ends off here and I bet you folks over there are enjoying that Sunny California sky. laugh grin
_________________________
Nguyen - Student Pianist

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#1351128 - 01/16/10 01:22 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Nguyen]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Ok. 1 bar = 1 measure. And I am enjoying the 68 degrees and sunny weather here in San Diego. Maybe I'll go to the ocean today and check out what's a happenin.
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1351137 - 01/16/10 01:34 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: eweiss]
Nguyen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/09
Posts: 430
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: eweiss
...And I am enjoying the 68 degrees and sunny weather here in San Diego. Maybe I'll go to the ocean today and check out what's a happenin.

mad

smile
_________________________
Nguyen - Student Pianist

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#1351178 - 01/16/10 02:29 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Nguyen]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Brits say 'bar', Yanks say 'measure'. It means the same thing. smile
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1351368 - 01/16/10 08:38 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: ten left thumbs]
Michael Darnton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 243
Loc: Chicago
Now, I'm not saying everyone wants to play in a band, but. . . I once had to play with a fiddle player who had only played by himself. He didn't count, either, and he didn't realize that he'd learned many things wrong. By that, I mean that he dropped beats all over the place. Things weren't the things he thought they were, we couldn't play with him, and people couldn't dance to him. He had to relearn everything.

My point is that counting is necessary to keep your music within the framework you intend. You can argue that you're making your own framework, but if you don't count, no, actually you aren't--you're just playing a mess that YOU think is good, but not necessarily others, because they realize what's missing.
_________________________
http://darntonviolins.com and http://darntonhersh.com

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#1353010 - 01/18/10 10:04 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Michael Darnton]
KrAYZEE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/09
Posts: 83
Loc: Los Angeles
Okay, I know this is verging on, or even crossing into useless pedantry but "Bar" is short for bar line and those, of course, are the vertical lines that divide measures. So in practice, when someone says, "play for 32 measures" or says "play for 32 bars", yes, it all comes out the same.

Kurt

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#1353045 - 01/18/10 11:00 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: KrAYZEE]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: KrAYZEE
Okay, I know this is verging on, or even crossing into useless pedantry but "Bar" is short for bar line and those, of course, are the vertical lines that divide measures. So in practice, when someone says, "play for 32 measures" or says "play for 32 bars", yes, it all comes out the same.

Well, if we're going to board the train to pedantry, we might as well go to the end of the line. The Harvard Dictionary of Music says "bar" can be used in any of 3 senses: 1) Measure; 2) Bar line; 3) Bar form.
_________________________
Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

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#1353078 - 01/19/10 12:02 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: packa]
DancinDigits Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 68
Loc: USA
My teacher taught me only to use a metronome to help determine speed, but to never play along with it - the reason was that he wanted me to develop my own sense of rhythm without any outside aid.

At first I did the tap the foot thing, and also counting (whichever worked best at the time) when learning a new piece. After a certain amount of practice, I would no longer have to tap the foot or even count as the rhythm of the piece I now knew 'instinctively'. It was like my hands no longer needed direction from my brain - they knew what to do all on their own. (Wow - sounds like something that would be in a sci-fi movie. LOL)

Eventually I started to recognize rhythm not so much by counting each individual beat, but by analyzing and recognizing the time value of each note relative to the other notes. Its kind of hard to explain, but if the quarter note was the note that beat the measure, I would use it to establish the time value of the other notes comparatively.

But of course, for complex rhythms, or for ones I am not certain of, I slow the tempo way down and do the ole count the beats thing.

I also was taught to give a piece expression, to add a touch of tempo change - IOW don't play a piece in strict, never changing, tempo. In some places speed up a bit - in others slow down a bit. This helps to give the piece expression and less of a mechanical sound to it.

But when learning it, and especially when playing with other musicians, you should initially pay strict attention to a steady tempo. The piece can be worked with once everyone has the basics down.
_________________________
Music is the voice of the heart.

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#1353189 - 01/19/10 05:41 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: DancinDigits]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
DancinDigits, there's nothing wrong with using a metronome as you teacher suggests - if it works. Counting is fine. You have a teacher to let you know you are getting it right.

Originally Posted By: DancinDigits


I also was taught to give a piece expression, to add a touch of tempo change - IOW don't play a piece in strict, never changing, tempo. In some places speed up a bit - in others slow down a bit. This helps to give the piece expression and less of a mechanical sound to it.


There are some types of music where it is OK, even preferable, to accelerando and ritardando. There are types of music where this is absolutely *not* OK, and you need to keep a steady, even beat, the whole way through. Rock, dance music and march music are like this. I certainly disagree that music with a steady, unchanging beat lacks expression and sounds mechanical.
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#1353256 - 01/19/10 09:01 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: ten left thumbs]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
I use the metronome for a number of things:

- Setting a tempo

- From time to time checking whether I am making unwitting tempo variations. (Sometimes, after having intensively practised a piece tempo variations can creep in.)

- Always, and I do mean *always* running through my parts with a metronome well before playing with other musicians.

As far as varying the tempo with a piece is concerned: the music should live and breath. Metronomic precision kills music. The amount and style of rubato and tempo variation in classical music ('classical' used in its widest sense) depends very much on the period and on the composer. Ideally it should grow out of the music, and isn't something to be imposed onto it - the markings in the score are a guide to this. The sense of what is appropriate grows with getting to know the style of the period and of the composer through listening to lots and lots of music.

As for counting, I confess to not counting, apart from when there are tricky passages, as I can usually 'see' the rhythm. However, I am sure that I would be much better off if I regularly counted. Getting into that habit would have greatly helped on the odd occasions when I've played with other people - as counting is then absolutely essential.


Edited by John_B (01/19/10 09:04 AM)
Edit Reason: Added a sentence

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#1353261 - 01/19/10 09:11 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: KrAYZEE]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: KrAYZEE
Okay, I know this is verging on, or even crossing into useless pedantry but "Bar" is short for bar line and those, of course, are the vertical lines that divide measures. So in practice, when someone says, "play for 32 measures" or says "play for 32 bars", yes, it all comes out the same.


Crossing far beyond pedantry into the realm of pedantryissimo: in the UK 'Bar' means exactly the same as 'Measure'. Here, it is never used as a shortened version of 'Bar Line'.

(What was it the man said: "Two countries divided by a common language." ) wink

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#1353310 - 01/19/10 10:50 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: John_B]
Nguyen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/09
Posts: 430
Loc: Massachusetts
Good stuff, very insightful.

You know, when I asked the “Bar” and “Measure” question, I thought to myself, “people will think it’s a dumb question, everyone knows “bar” but me. Going through the book, I could find “measure” but not “bar” hmmm… What the heck with it! Better be dumb and get it straighten out than being in the dark and pretend you know…”

After a bunch of answers, and a Harvard Dictionary of Music interpretation, I guess it’s a pretty good question after all, huh.
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#1353341 - 01/19/10 11:29 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Nguyen]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Nquyen,

IMO there is no such thing as a dumb question.

thumb

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#1353342 - 01/19/10 11:30 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: John_B]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 736
Loc: Canada
They're only dumb if we don't ask them...
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(Started playing July 2008)



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#1353425 - 01/19/10 01:10 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: joyoussong]
Michael Darnton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 243
Loc: Chicago
Being an artiste is fine and dandy, but playing with a metronome separates those artistic pauses from the places where you slow down because you can't quite get your fingers where they are supposed to be. I'm surprised that ANY real teachers are suggesting not using a metronome at at least one point in the preparation cycle--that's a new one for me. Gotta learn the piece right first, before you can art it up.
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#1353448 - 01/19/10 01:51 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: joyoussong]
Nguyen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/09
Posts: 430
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: John_B
Nquyen,

IMO there is no such thing as a dumb question.

thumb

Originally Posted By: joyoussong
They're only dumb if we don't ask them...

Well, sometime I do pretend I know and don’t ask, especially if I sense everyone else does, you know, so no one rolls their eyes looking at me funny. Sad but true. Don’t tell me you never did it in grades school and college. LOL. laugh
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#1353471 - 01/19/10 02:43 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Nguyen]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 736
Loc: Canada
Of course I've done it! Still do, even though I'm old enough to know better. wink
_________________________
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(Started playing July 2008)



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#1353780 - 01/19/10 11:38 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: John_B]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: John_B
Crossing far beyond pedantry into the realm of pedantryissimo: in the UK 'Bar' means exactly the same as 'Measure'. Here, it is never used as a shortened version of 'Bar Line'.

This may very well be true in modern usage. But the Oxford English Dictionary indicates the oldest musical definition of "bar" in British English as meaning "bar line" (dating from at least 1665), while "bar" meaning "measure" is only dated to 1779.

Okay, my last ultra-pedantic word on this subject (I promise).
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Estonia L168 #1718

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#1353784 - 01/19/10 11:47 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: John_B]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5932
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: John_B
... in the UK 'Bar' means exactly the same as 'Measure'. Here, it is never used as a shortened version of 'Bar Line'.
Nor here in Australia either. smile
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1353824 - 01/20/10 12:50 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: currawong]
HappyApple Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/09
Posts: 254
Loc: Tennessee, USA
My teacher doesn't like me count. He says that I have good timing and don't need to. But I think I do need to. It's just that I have known every song... oops (piece) he has given me to play. So, I know the beat. As far as tempo goes, I think a metronome would be great to know just how a certain piece was intended to be played. As for now, slow is my speed on everything. cool
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#1353834 - 01/20/10 01:05 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: HappyApple]
crogersrx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 712
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Rachel J said something on her website that I really liked about counting. You should start practicing with hands separate and learn a measure or two at a time, count it as you're playing it and more or less memorize it. Then do the same with counting it as you start putting the hands together and do play a few bars or phrases at a time. As you establish good fingering, counting, dynamics at the beginning while roughing it out, you can let the counting, fingerings, and dynamics all sort of sink in to the automatic muscle memory as the piece comes to fruition.

When you have the piece totally memorized or at least can play it without depending soley on the music, then you can start adding artistic phrasing, rubato, and dynamics.

So, make counting part of the early stages after getting the basic fingersing down, then it won't be such a bother later.
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San Francisco, CA
1887 Knabe 6'4" (Rebuilt)

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