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#2239586 - 03/01/14 02:19 PM need advice...steady rhythm tending ahead of the beat
dcb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 199
You would think that playing with a metronome and playing on the beat wouldn't be too difficult, but I think I've gotten into a habit that I'm struggling to break out of.

I tend to play just slightly ahead of the beat. In actuality, I probably play on the beat 25% and slightly ahead of the beat 75% of the time.

Any ideas for how to correct this? Ultimately, I want to have enough control to be able to play on, ahead, and behind the beat on command.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. I've been practicing this a lot and haven't seen any improvement.

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#2239604 - 03/01/14 02:58 PM Re: need advice...steady rhythm tending ahead of the beat [Re: dcb]
newbert Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 285
Loc: Upstate New York, USA
Originally Posted By: dcb
You would think that playing with a metronome and playing on the beat wouldn't be too difficult, but I think I've gotten into a habit that I'm struggling to break out of.

I tend to play just slightly ahead of the beat. In actuality, I probably play on the beat 25% and slightly ahead of the beat 75% of the time.

Any ideas for how to correct this? Ultimately, I want to have enough control to be able to play on, ahead, and behind the beat on command.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. I've been practicing this a lot and haven't seen any improvement.



I don't have an answer for you, but I certainly can commisserate! I have exactly the same problem. I'm always running ahead of the metronome - especially when playing a Blues piece where the left hand repeats patterns.
_________________________
Bert


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#2239611 - 03/01/14 03:08 PM Re: need advice...steady rhythm tending ahead of the beat [Re: dcb]
Whizbang Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 735
I guess it depends on how much you are anticipating the beat and what genre of music you are playing. Complete faithfulness to the beat can come across as robotic.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2239693 - 03/01/14 06:50 PM Re: need advice...steady rhythm tending ahead of the beat [Re: dcb]
Derulux Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5285
Loc: Philadelphia
First idea: slow down. I always found that, when I was entering early, I was usually afraid of entering late, and so I'd "jump" the beat. If you let go of time, and relax with it, you'll start to hear it better.

Other thing - practice with music that has an actual, distinctive, clear note on the beat. Nothing matters except hitting the beat. When you can do it, move on to something more complex.

Third thing - if nothing seems to work, it could be technique.. ie- you may not have sufficient "flexibility" in your technical facilities to slow down/speed up as microscopically needed to stay in time. Without fully breaking down and analyzing your technique, you can sometimes practice fixing this by taking a piece you know very well and playing along to someone else playing it. Youtube recordings are great for this. Change the performer constantly, so you really have to change what it is you're doing at the keys. Eventually, you'll start to feel the rhythm of that performer, and you'll find their beat. And once you can find an arbitrary performer's beat, you can keep up with any metronome. wink
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2239744 - 03/01/14 09:08 PM Re: need advice...steady rhythm tending ahead of the beat [Re: dcb]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 625
Loc: Chicago
For me, accenting notes helps a lot. Pick a note to accent and that seems to makes things click.

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#2239825 - 03/01/14 11:19 PM Re: need advice...steady rhythm tending ahead of the beat [Re: jjo]
malkin Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2419
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: jjo
For me, accenting notes helps a lot. Pick a note to accent and that seems to makes things click.


This.
Try accenting beat 1.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2239874 - 03/02/14 01:11 AM Re: need advice...steady rhythm tending ahead of the beat [Re: dcb]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 951
I think the tendency is to be ahead of the beat instead of behind it for most people. What tempo are you attempting? Are you strong at any tempo?

Try this. Start at about 100 bpm (or wherever you feel strongest). Try to play just one note exactly on the beat. As you are successful, slow down the metronome by 5-10 bpm. When it gets too slow to accurately play on the beat, play 2 notes per click. Keep going slower. Then increase to 4 clicks per beat. The goal here is to stop counting and feel when the beat is coming. Subdividing each beat into 2 or 4 can sometimes help that.

Overall, if you want to work on your timing, try to master SLOW tempos.
_________________________
-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 21+ year teacher and touring musician
My Downloadable Video Piano Lessons
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#2240184 - 03/02/14 02:37 PM Re: need advice...steady rhythm tending ahead of the beat [Re: dcb]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1901
Loc: Philadelphia area
Each of us seem to feel rhythms differently. Improvising on simple rhythmic patterns can help.

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#2240449 - 03/02/14 10:26 PM Re: need advice...steady rhythm tending ahead of the beat [Re: Dave B]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1172
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Quote:
First idea: slow down. . . .


+1.

Practice with a metronome. _Listen carefully_. When you hear that you're coming in early, _stop_.

"Even rhythm" isn't natural for most people; it has to be learned. Don't worry about becoming "robotic". It's a lot easier to play freely, than it is to keep a rock-steady rhythm.

. Charles

PS -- if there are local drum circles, you might try one out. It's a different instrument, but a groove is a groove.



Edited by Charles Cohen (03/02/14 10:27 PM)

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#2240465 - 03/02/14 11:27 PM Re: need advice...steady rhythm tending ahead of the beat [Re: dcb]
SoundThumb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/10
Posts: 334
Loc: San Diego, CA
Can you tap your foot in time to the metronome? Usually, this is pretty easy if you are used to tapping your foot to the music you listen to. Next tap your foot while you play. It is pretty hard to play piano at a different beat than that of the tapping foot. Finally, train yourself to play without tapping your foot (if you have a teacher like mine who frowns of foot tapping.)

This process seems to be working for me.

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