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Topic Options
#929989 - 02/08/09 08:54 PM A Method of Counting Music
William Clark Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 93
Counting. It is one of the most important skills a musician can posses, yet it is not always taught well. Occasionally, it is completely ignored by the teacher and/or student. Rhythm, a principal building block of music, depends on it! Playing something "as you heard it" is no substitute for counting music.

How to count just about any piece of music!

1. Understand the key signature.

2. Find the shortest note in the piece.

3. How many notes from #2 can fit in a full beat?

4. Use a counting system that uses that many syllables or numbers on every beat.

5. Write the counting on the score.

6. Using the metronome, begin at a slow tempo. Audibly count as you play with a staccato voice. Play the notes as you count, don't count as you play the notes.

Hints/Examples:

If the shortest note gets the entire beat there is no need to subdivide the counting. Ex. The shortest note is a quarter note in common time. Count, "1 2 3 4"

Ex. Eighth notes are the shortest notated in common time. Count, "1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &"

Dividing in threes (in 4/4). Count, "1[/b] 2 3 1[/b] 2 3 1[/b] 2 3 1[/b] 2 3" for every measure. Stress the 1's as you count.

Ex. Sixteenth notes in common time. Count, "1[/b] 2 3 4 1[/b] 2 3 4 1[/b] 2 3 4 1[/b] 2 3 4" in every measure. Counting could also be done, "1[/b] 2 3 4 2[/b] 2 3 4 3[/b] 2 3 4 4[/b] 2 3 4" but I find this to be a bit of a tongue twister.

A brief foray into multiple rhythms:

Counting the two most common multiple rhythms.


Students will never mis-play Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu again! ;\)

Hope this helps,

Wm
_________________________
A concert should be a profound and magical experience for both
the performer and audience. It is in performance that
you experience the true essence of a composer.

~W. Clark

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#929990 - 02/09/09 12:01 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Brian Taylor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 72
Loc: Etobicoke (Toronto) ON
 Quote:
Originally posted by William Clark:
Dividing in threes (in 4/4). Count, "1[/b] 2 3 1[/b] 2 3 1[/b] 2 3 1[/b] 2 3" for every measure. Stress the 1's as you count.

Ex. Sixteenth notes in common time. Count, "1[/b] 2 3 4 1[/b] 2 3 4 1[/b] 2 3 4 1[/b] 2 3 4" in every measure. Counting could also be done, "1[/b] 2 3 4 2[/b] 2 3 4 3[/b] 2 3 4 4[/b] 2 3 4" but I find this to be a bit of a tongue twister. [/b]
William,

Drawing on my band and orchestral experience, ensemble musicians will usually count multi-measure rests as 1 2 3 4, 2 2 3 4, 3 2 3 4, etc.

To subdivide within a measure, a frequent usage for triplets is 1-and-uh, 2-and-uh, 3-and-uh, 4-and-uh;

and for 16ths: 1-ee-and-uh, 2-ee-and-uh, 3-ee-and-uh, 4-ee-and-uh. This is not as much the tongue-twister that you prefer to avoid, and it helps to distinguish between multi-measure counting and intra-measure counting.

Brian.

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#929991 - 02/09/09 12:03 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
There are also counting systems associated with the Eastman school (geared towards woodwind players) and Kodaly (which addresses some issues with folk music and the developmental stages of young children)
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#929992 - 02/09/09 01:50 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Forget the numerics and addition/subtraction/subdivision and try "Note Value Counting".

Here you say aloud syllable of words that coincide with the duration of the note being played.

It is important that a student or pianist can keep a steady beat in any given tempo. If not, counting won't help an iota. One has to conquer arrythmic tendencies which could mean getting exercise with large muscles (legs/arms) before expecting such precision from finger digits, and accurately sending the impulse message to a specific hand and a specific finger. If enough time has not been given to this absolute first step in beginning piano, it will never get better because there is not a precision task master engaged.

I won't bore you here with the "Magic Words". Probably most adults would feel stupid doing something so easy.

However, it does compute grandly and efficiently.

Pianists with 10 fingers and 88 keys and two hands in movement does not work well with the metric counting 1 & 2 & (etc) because they must still assign or equate what the numerical means to the note in the present moment. No one can be in two places at once, so choosing the simplest thought combining vision with placement is essential.

Chorus, band, orchestra, ensembles work best with the metric counting because they usually have a conductor-director looking at a "SCORE" and combining many voices from many staves into one cohesive presentation beat by beat - starting and ending and staying together precisely.

The pianist must maintain their own thinking and sorting out the music with ONE brain and staying on track - anticipating/the present moment/reflecting on what was just done. Kind of like stringing beads on a thread. A mind body machine with physical mechanics on demand.

Demanding, isn't it!

Betty

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#929993 - 02/09/09 03:27 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Matt H Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/07
Posts: 170
Loc: Indiana
Betty,

My daughter had a choir teacher who taught syllables for "counting."

quarter note = ta
half note = ta-a
eighth note = ti
triplet = ta-ke-da
sixteenth = I don't know. They never got to this.

Her piano teacher, though, teaches numerical counting. Is the syllable method very common among piano teachers? I haven't encountered it much, but I do find that it helps one get the feel of the rhythm.

Matt

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#929994 - 02/09/09 03:37 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Those syllables are used in Kodaly and are common in choral/voice. 16th notes are "ti-ka-ti-ka"

There are regional variations, though.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#929995 - 02/09/09 08:09 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Matt H:

Yes, similar words to mine, glad you posted!

Yours: quarter note = ta
half note = ta-a
eighth note = ti
triplet = ta-ke-da
sixteenth = I don't know. They never got to this.

Mine: Subtracting from 4
4 beats) whole note - Say: "Hold That Whole Note"
2 beats) half note - Say: "Half Note"
1 beat( quarter - Say: "TA"

Each "chit" added on the original circle (4 beats) whole note, REDUCES the count by half.
(Say this until it is obviously clear for you. Try drawing these on paper.)

Draw a circle. (4 beats)
add a stem (reduced to 2 beats) half note
shade in the notehead (reduced to 1 beat) quarter note
add a flag (reduced to 1/2 of 1 beat) eighth note
add another flag (reduced to 1/4 of 1 beat) 16th note.


Added dots INCREASE note values by half:
3) dotted half note - "Half Note Dot"

1 and 1/2) dotted quarter - "TA - i"

dotted eighth and 1/16 note combinations: Looong/shorts. These were former equal 1/8 notes that had a 1/16th note from the 2nd 1/8 note moved to the 1st 1/8 note. (3/16 + 1/16) They sound like they are "limping".

Start at 4 beats and this makes lots of sense. The open circle (note head) is just waiting for your inner math to take effect.

Far enough.

I've posted before on this subject under "magic counting" or "note value counting". If you use my name to search with you might find some more explanations during the time I've been a posting member.

I think it's really "nifty" to have both ways to count. I am not neglecting the metric because we do it later on after the student has completely mastered the syllabic counting of matching sounds to duration of the note value.

It works, it works, it works! I was so joyful when I discovered ways to do this. It so absolutely works! Helps kids master their first years tasks and set up a wonderful foundation for the future. Rhythm being as important as it is!

Good luck!

Betty

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#929996 - 02/10/09 11:12 AM Re: A Method of Counting Music
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4974
Loc: boston north
I remember learning and teaching from the PIE BOOK or something like that.

It related simple rhythms to words.

Pie = quarter note

Ap-ple = even 8th notes (should they be anything else?)

Choc-o-late = triplets

Huc-kle-ber-ry = 16th notes

So we had -

Ap-ple Ap-ple Ap-ple Pie

Ap-ple Ap-ple Choc-o-late Pie

Ap-ple Ap-ple Huckleberry Huckleberry Pie

YUM!

And it works. Used it in teaching for years without the book. With a metronome. People relate to the rhythm of words I guess.

First just say it.
Then say it repeatedly with metronome
Then play it on a single note
Then play it with the notes written.
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#929997 - 02/15/09 10:53 AM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I think those who are beginning to work in counting by "syllabic deduction" will find it works to easily and accurately.

I hope people will explore it more for their own use.

It does require some training to use, and to check for accuracy, and it must have a steady tempo to construct it upon.

I'm convinced that kids enjoy it and can use it very efficiently, so much that counting has not been a problem for my beginners ever since finding "note value reading" as a solution to teaching counting.

Sometime in the future, students learn to use the mathematical metric counting, as they should to be able to conform to the theory and standards of the world. But, it is one, creative, exacting tool that really works very reliably.

Good subject!

Betty

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#929998 - 02/15/09 06:29 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
cjp_piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 202
Loc: Cincinnati OH
All the different ideas are great. I think it doesn't really matter what you use, or what they count, or even if they use numbers at all, as long as they can see the rhythm and know how it goes isn't that the point?
_________________________
MTNA Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, Piano
Instructor of Music Theory, Accompanist
Member: MTNA, OhioMTA, SW District OhioMTA
www.mtna.org
www.ohiomta.org
www.swomta.org

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#929999 - 02/15/09 06:46 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
cjp_piano,

I think many would be undisciplined in counting with no particular instruction or not using words to count with as they "construct" a music piece for the first time. I want them to be counting with their inner voice until it becomes automatic and dependable.

So many pianists are arrythmic and don't know it. Also, some teacher's produce this kind of student without realizing it because they too are arrythmic.

I think it takes a lot of time to learn to count by the 1-e-+-uhs and we stumble around trying to fit them in the measure properly.

In some songs, I "witeout" the measures because the kids stop at the bar lines to regroup.

Are you perhaps talking more about adults while I am talking about kids as students. I am speaking too about basic counting as a beginner, not a person already well versed in rhythmic activity.

The adult pianist could use any method of counting that has previously worked for him, the new to the piano student needs basic beat and sub-division of whole notes down to quarter noes. Eighth notes, and dots added to extend durations would be next. Sixteenths would be for the hand and finger developed student who can respond quickly. Each of those durations need to be "drilled" into being.

I notice you said "as long as they can SEE the rhythm and know how it goes isn't that the point?"

Well, yes, and no. Besides visual learning, there is tactile learning, and aural learning. I think the see/feel/hear is all part of teaching counting. Working with each sense separately is really bringing the counting picture home to the student.

Do you teach beginning piano students?

Betty

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#930000 - 02/16/09 11:00 AM Re: A Method of Counting Music
cjp_piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 202
Loc: Cincinnati OH
Betty, you're so thorough, I love you!!

I think my point was misunderstood. I wasn't saying DON'T use anything to teach rhythm. I was saying it doesn't matter which system you use as long as it works for them. I'm talking about adults AND young kids, and YES, I do teach beginning piano students, lots!

My point was that it doesn't matter if they learn sixteenths notes as "1-e-and-uh", or "ta-pi-tay-ti" or "huckleberry", just as long as they know how it goes. When I read a piece of music, sometimes it's difficult to say all the correct rhythm counting syllables or words, but I sure can play the rhythm correctly! Why? because I see the rhythms on the page and know how it's suppose to sound.

I wasn't saying visual learning is the only kind of learning that should be involved. But obviously the first thing you do when figuring out a rhythm of a new piece is LOOK at it.

I like how you said you white-out the bar lines because students sometimes interpret them as "stop and take a break!" ha ha . . .good idea!
_________________________
MTNA Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, Piano
Instructor of Music Theory, Accompanist
Member: MTNA, OhioMTA, SW District OhioMTA
www.mtna.org
www.ohiomta.org
www.swomta.org

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#930001 - 02/16/09 11:38 AM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I agree. I don't think the system matters.

What's important is that it's consistent, logical, and can be applied usefully to elementary, intermediate, and early-advanced literature.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#930002 - 02/16/09 12:37 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
galex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/15/08
Posts: 173
Loc: on the run
I know I am not a teacher, and thus shouldn't be posting here, But I thought I should add another example of counting, in an other language:
4/4: 1 2 3 4/1 2 3 4/etc. Read as: u-nu do-oi tre-ei pa-atru/etc. Each syllable 'expands' to fit the lowest subdivision of notes ex: from the usual doi (2) you get do-o-o-oi. I find the ways you count very interestin [partially because I find linguistics interesting \:D ]
@Betty I once posed the question 'why isn't absolute time used in all pieces?' and nearly got impaled \:D . I like the ideea of erasing bar lines [though one can argue that it would mess the rhytm in some pieces, I find them somewhat useless in others]. Satie is to be mentioned here.
_________________________
By the rivers of alcohol..

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#930003 - 02/16/09 02:03 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
cjp_piano said: "Betty, you're so thorough, I love you!!"

About thorough: Sorry about that, my habit in writing and talking is that the more the better, just to clarify, and not to forget something pertinent. I know I over do it. One could say excessively. I too like reading things written succinctly, some people have a gift for it.

About "I love you!"
Let's spread that love around a little - I see that you are indeed lovable and friendly and with a sense of humor.

;\)

Betty

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#930004 - 02/16/09 02:21 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Galex: @Betty I once posed the question 'why isn't absolute time used in all pieces?' and nearly got impaled.

Betty: I'm so sorry, Galex. I sometimes blunder or exceed my manners. I'm glad you didn't actually get impaled - but I understand that my words can be abrupt and too opinionated. I'm glad you told me.

Galex: I like the ideea of erasing bar lines [though one can argue that it would mess the rhytm in some pieces, I find them somewhat useless in others].

Betty: I think rhythm will NEVER be messed up if you associate every note with a steady pulse matched to the lower number in the time signature fraction. All quarter notes - TA TA TA TA - keeps moving through the piece regardless of bar lines. We really don't need to be counting the metric way - note value counting is quite superior for a pianists needs.

It is good phrasing that is needed to help with rise and fall and expressiveness. The placement of phrasing in the music is important.

Measures(bar lines) don't require us to do anything, they are best seen as light gray.

When we are looking for a starting point to divide a piece into practice passages, measures are indeed handy, make that necessary.

Music with the first measure in each line identified with a number are wonderful, otherwise, you have to do that by writing it in yourself.

The "witeout" is a constant in my tool box near the piano. I really use it a lot with beginners, as well as editing other things that often need changing, such as fingering.

If it would be painting a wall, a brush that small would take a month of Sunday's to do. Thankfully it's little dabs of wite out that can work wonders on a piece of music.

Long live witeout!

Betty

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#930005 - 02/16/09 02:36 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Erasing bar lines works only if the music starts on the down beat, and the time signature does not change in the middle of the music, I think.

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#930006 - 02/16/09 02:55 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
galex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/15/08
Posts: 173
Loc: on the run
Betty: I'm so sorry, Galex. I sometimes blunder or exceed my manners. I'm glad you didn't actually get impaled - but I understand that my words can be abrupt and too opinionated. I'm glad you told me.


I think I expressed myself wrong. I was trying to say that I once asked a teacher somewhat along the lines of : 'what if we erase the bars, what would happen?' and he went kind of berserk on me for posing a question which he considered almost heretic. \:D I believe he thought that people that change stuff in music deserve a public execution. [well, I may be exagerating \:D ]. I was just expressing my astonishment that you have the same point of view as mine of what I was trying to say to that teacher, and better yet, encourage it.

Oh, and I apologise for my rather crude level of English that sometimes makes me harder to understand. Damn these language barriers! \:D
_________________________
By the rivers of alcohol..

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#930007 - 02/16/09 03:35 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Galex:

Oh, then I'm glad that we're in agreement - he would not want to see all the color coding we do at lessons - it creates a "Picasso" - very abstract in content when it's finished, but each color and designation means something important.

He would execute me. It's called "music mapping" in general and is beginning to come into place in music lessons - probably about 20 years ago I first saw it and took up the vibrant colors to create a secondary learning tool places on the music symbols as reminders of what is happening here.

What is good about herecy and public execution? I can not think of a single good thing about it.

Let's encourage those things that should be encouraged!

Glad you straightened me out with the interpretation of what you had posted.

I'm glad there is no need between us for band aids!

Betty

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#930008 - 02/17/09 01:08 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3002
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
It's called "music mapping" in general and is beginning to come into place in music lessons - probably about 20 years ago I first saw it and took up the vibrant colors to create a secondary learning tool places on the music symbols as reminders of what is happening here.


Betty [/b]
You've mentioned mapping before a couple of times (I used "search!") Do you think it would be worth a separate thread, and explaining in a little more detail?

I direct a handbell choir, where people who read music are a minority. They mark their notes, some by circling, some not. We don't have a standard convention. Maybe it's something I need to think about.

Yes, they do count, and do subdivide, but I work that constantly.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#930009 - 02/17/09 05:43 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
try "search" here in Piano Teachers Forum:

music mapping
note value counting
wite out
magic
miracle
blue dot
Picasso

I remember using these words when posting about music mapping.

There is a book on it, too.

If you care to spend the time on search it will increase your information base. There is already lots on it that I've posted, it just is not in one location with one title.

I will look at my computer files and see what I can do to help you if I can find the time soon.

It is worthwhile reading about it. THe kids love it and catch on easily. Then they want to be the ones to mark the music and they do a good job. At some point in time, they no longer need all the color coding, it becomes automatic in their thinking. Isn't that a good thing!

To old-fashioned teachers defacing the music would be a sin. I think writing on the music is the beginning of really learning to read music and what action the symbols stand for.

Class coming up? Who would be interested?

Betty

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#930010 - 02/17/09 06:22 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Tim R:

I did a search for what you asked for. I forgot to put "Picasso" in the search, so you might try that, too. And, some of the founds are repeated because more than one keyword appeared in the same document and came up again. If you find the topic, just read through to see if I posted more than once per topic. That should make your work a little easier, and I apologize if topics came up that do not refer to your area of interest, but the keyword appeared.
I searched for keywords:

MAPPING MUSIC - 5 matches found

A Method of Counting Music - February 16, 2009 Piano Teacher's Forum

What is good about standard music notation - October 23, 2008 Pianist Corner

Time to start over... October 13, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

Question about reading music - December 12, 2007 Adult Beginner's Forum

How many times do I have to relearn this stuff..July 19, 2007 Pianist Corner

'MUSIC MAPPING' - 5 matches found

A Method of Counting Music - February 16, 2009 Piano Teacher's Forum

What is good about standard music notation? - October 23, 2008 Pianist Corner

Time to start over...October 13, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

Question about reading music - December 12, 2007 Adult Beginner's Forum

How many times do I have to relearn this stuff..July 19, 2007 Pianist Corner

'REBECCA SHOCKLEY'- 2 matches found

Time to start over...October 14, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

Teachers - how much instruction do you write down? - November 10, 2007 Piano Teacher's Forum

'BLUE DOT - 10 matches found

A Method of Counting Music - February 17, 2009 Piano Teacher's Forum

lining up the notes? - December 11, 2008 Adult Beginner's Forum

way of reading music - October 05, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

Should all students be forced to memorize? - September 23, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

Two Line Reading Techniques - June 18, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

Do you stop counting 1& 2& 3& 4& etc - December 18, 2007 Adult Beginner's Forum

Question for Gyro...November 16, 2007 Pianist Corner

How to pratice hands coordination for a starter - October 02, 2007 Adult Beginner's Forum

Counting - allways a necessity? - August 24, 2007 Pianist Corner

Who has the secret for fixing - August 03, 2007 Adult Beginner's Forum

'WITE OUT' - 3 matches found

A Method of Counting Music - February 17, 2009 Piano Teacher's Forum

What kinds of problems have the most frequent existance in your studio? - August 15, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

Nature of this piece? (Purcell) - August 08, 2008 Pianist Corner

'WHITE OUT' - 14 matches found New

Who else doesn't know their left from their right? - February 09, 2009 Piano Teacher's Forum

What's white, black and green? - October 30, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

What is the value of an imagination in music? - October 26, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

Flat finger playing.. October 24, 2008 Pianist Corner

For a little fun... Enter most unusual piano picture or video - April 18, 2008 Piano Forum

Rushing kid!! - November 16, 2007 Piano Teacher's Forum

Lifting the Fingers - August 19, 2007 Pianist Corner

A five finger exercise -what do you think? - August 18, 2007 Adult Beginner's Forum

How do you know when........ August 14, 2007 Adult Beginner's Forum

Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course Book #1 - August 02, 2007 Adult Beginner's Forum

Fingering scales - July 28, 2007 Adult Beginner's Forum

Key Signatures - July 17, 2007 Adult Beginner's Forum

Question About Major Scales - July 12, 2007 Adult Beginner's Forum

YASQ (Yet another scales question) - July 07, 2007 Adult Beginner's Forum

'MAGIC' - 15 matches found

A Method of Counting Music - February 17, 2009 Piano Teacher's Forum

Mistaking Lazy for Confused - November 21, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

Czerny School of Velocity - October 26, 2008 Adult Beginner's Forum

When playing a piece by memory do you visual the music or patterns on the keyboard? - August 21, 2008 Pianist Corner

Practice triangle: student-family-teacher - July 03, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

Watch for the Magic Number! - June 16, 2008 Piano Forum

student can't count -- Help - April 22, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

Counting vs. metronome - March 30, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

A different kind of method? - March 20, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

Any comments about this video of Michel LeGrand? - January 06, 2008 Piano Teacher's Forum

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PLS HELP - Difficult, tedious, frustrating old problem - SIGHT READING TECHNIQUE - June 28, 2007 Piano Teacher's Forum

'MIRACLE' - 12 matches found

A Method of Counting Music - February 17, 2009 Piano Teacher's Forum

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Happy finding.

Betty

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#930011 - 02/17/09 09:46 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
cjp_piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 202
Loc: Cincinnati OH
Wow that was long
_________________________
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#930012 - 02/18/09 05:11 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Yes, long is a turn off!

I didn't have time to edit out the repetitive listing of posts that had more than one key word in it, therefore they appeared more than one.

I'll go back and edit the big list to try to reduce it. Just make sure to look at the whole thread to see if I posted more than once which is normal for me.

Overwhelmed? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

Or, you can opt to ignore the whole thing, and I'll never know. That's OK!

Betty

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#930013 - 02/22/09 11:38 AM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Markeyz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/06
Posts: 135
Loc: Seattle
Betty, I like your syllabic method of counting. Lilylady, the pie method is great too. Might make some people hungry though.

I'm curious as to when and how you teach time signatures? Are there certain pieces with strong repetitive rhythms or uniform phrase lengths that like you use to introduce the different time feels? Do you ever have students defaulting to 4/4 even when the piece is in a different time signature i.e. adding an extra beat to the last note of each bar in a 3/4 piece?

Thanks,

Marc
_________________________
Jazz pianist and teacher.

http://www.marchager.com

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#930014 - 02/22/09 01:04 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Mark, You asked some good questions!

I felt I had to support your questions with quite a bit of information to show the strategies and choices we have as music teachers working with our students. I hope you are up for some intensive reading!

Q: "I'm curious as to when and how you teach TIME SIGNATURES?"
A: I teach them METER when hands are first coordinating together in harmony which is Elementary Level. Preparatory and Easy Elementary have come first, usually with only melody or one note additional in harmony, usually in a fixed position. The more voices being added, makes the rhythm more complex and the hand shaping and positioning a bigger game. One can not falter in THINKING SKILLS.

I teach the fraction of upper number is how many beats in each measure. Lower number is what kind of note gets one beat. This is informational only there is no action required.

MEASURES NUMBERED:
At this time would be a good idea to count the number of measures in the piece/section we are working on and to mark the measure number on the beginning of each line. Even a young beginner can and should get in the habit of doing this.

STEADY TEMPO:
Next we do steady hand clapping to designate what we are expecting to hear in our sight reading or practice tempo. We adjust to the tempo marking as we’re made progress to bring it to “polished”.

EYE MOVEMENT:
I teach eye movement so they use their eyes efficiently and don't get lost on the music page.
With no playing, a pencil touches the note head and moves to the next note head with the student following the movement with his eyes. You are setting up a pace that the eyes will follow, and you should move the pencil forward while counting the note value of what is seen (eye movement in time).

NOTE VALUE “MAGIC” COUNTING:
For those just starting lessons (1st 6 months) we would use the Note Value “Magic” Counting as it stands alone.

BLUE DOTS:
If the student was having trouble with coordination of hands in a steady beat, we would draw blue dots between the staffs in the "Middle BCD area to represent a steady TA (quarter note).

We would move from the first beat to a place where we can complete a phrase/practice area/section/or the complete piece. Once a “model” of blue dots is in the picture, usually kids follow through without having to mark each and every measure of the piece. You have given them a clue of what to do if they experience a problem. The blue dot can be used mentally as well as visually appearing on the page.

The 0 0 0 0 (blue dots) can have + signs inserted between them if you have 1/8 notes to play. I would NOT ask them to say 1+2+3+4+ (which is metric counting) they would use either the blue dots. Adding metric counting adds “Math” to the picture – ye gads! Wait for metric until the student is an established learner and past his basic fundamentals in music – early classics or sonatina level. I would want the student to be able to sight read hands together with all the basics in place before considering metric counting, or no counting at all.

At some point, the student counts well and all the “tools and tricks” here are no longer needed except for difficult measures/sections. By intermediate level, you would use supplement what is needed, but not have to go through every system we’ve been learning in piano lessons. It’s “glued” into our brains and reactions by now.

Q: “Are there certain pieces with strong repetitive rhythms or uniform phrase lengths that like you use to introduce the different time feels?”
A: Yes, definitely. I select appropriate music for whatever is the next step in lessons for each student. I teach by concepts – from simple to complex. You need to know the student’s capacity at any given time.

If you teach ANALYSIS AND FORM AND PATTERNS while previewing and learning the piece, there is no need to repeat markings or talking about the reoccurring event, the student should be on the lookout for recognizing. It is either exactly the same, similar, or not at all alike.

Form teaches us to look for when it (the “freebie”) returns in the music. 1st and 2nd endings and practice areas identified so they can be prepared alone before playing through the complete piece. I sometimes use COLOR CODING to point these out – be systematic that each color or mark clearly means something has been seen before, or (such as orange) this is “tricky”!

Don’t forget to TEACH RESTS and mark them in yellow on the page – silence is as important as sound. So many don’t even see the rests until trained to see them!

And teach INCOMPLETE MEASURES and PICKUP BEATS!

Q: “Do you ever have students defaulting to 4/4 even when the piece is in a different time signature i.e. adding an extra beat to the last note of each bar in a 3/4 piece?
A: I love this question…..because……by counting steady TA’s or 1/8 note “ti”s you have no reason to adjust to the new time signature.”

If you are wondering what happens to the heavier first beat, it would follow the “rule” that first beats in any measure are somewhat pulsed heavier. (However you would say this to the student would be from working in this situation of changing meters.) If it’s really viciously aggressive and continuously changing in contemporary music you might need to count the meter, as there are usually additional accents percussively added in…..I’ve done lots of accompaniments for instruments with this demand.

It is important that what you think and do is what works best for you!

You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Challenging and channeling the brain is what piano teaching is all about.

Hope these ideas help someone to "think out of the box!"

Betty

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#930015 - 02/22/09 02:22 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Markeyz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/06
Posts: 135
Loc: Seattle
Wow, thanks for that in depth response, Betty. It's encouraging to hear that I'm following a similar progression of skills and using similar methods to teach those skills, although you've definitely got things worked out into a more comprehensive and organized system. I've seen some people come down pretty hard on teaching note value counting over metric counting but it seems pretty intuitive to me and most of the newer method books seem to use this approach. You still need to know how long notes last before you can fit them into a metric structure and beginning students have enough on their hands already without adding math to the (bad pun alert) equation.

The 3/4, 4/4 question comes from a couple of times that I've observed this in beginning students. I think it stems more from bar line regrouping and the prioritization of correct notes over correct rhythms in the student's mind since they've always been able to correct it when it has been brought to their attention. Guess I should find that bottle of white out.

Marc
_________________________
Jazz pianist and teacher.

http://www.marchager.com

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#930016 - 02/22/09 03:08 PM Re: A Method of Counting Music
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Say, Mark,

I just read through most of your website - good job with it! I want to go back and visit and listen more to the music you posted.

I like the way you set up the count and the tempo!

I can agree with you, I see innovation in your teaching and philosophy, too. It emerges when you trip across it and you find yourself using it as a thinking tool with your students. I'm so enthusiastic to think were all emerging and merging in new thoughts and contemporary possibilites.

Blue dots, picasso music mapping, note value counting, white out! And lots of other new things, too!

What's the piano teaching world coming to? Good things, I hope!

And, they think were traditionalists, classicists, and stagnant. :rolleyes:

Betty

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