Keeping the same tempo along the notes

Posted by: fe2008

Keeping the same tempo along the notes - 02/26/09 09:14 AM

Hi guys... I'm finding to maintain the same tempo along the notes a very difficult task... I hate to turn on the metronome because I really can't follow it, or it's too slow and I lost my patience or it's too fast that I can't follow... Any tips? Is this a normal frustration of a 2 week beginner?
Posted by: Stephen Hazel

Re: Keeping the same tempo along the notes - 02/27/09 02:26 PM

I'm not a piano teacher. Take that into account smile
But what I do is
- not bother with the metronome until I've got fingering down and have SOME fluency with the song
- hunt for a decent drum track in a midi file similar to the song I'm learning. Much nicer than a metronome.
- Get used to skipping ahead a couple notes when you make a mistake to stay "synced with the band".
- make sure you're practicing the EXACT rhythms you SHOULD be smile
(check that sheet music pretty hard)

If your music goes down to the 16th note, try to find drum tracks WITH 16th notes.
But, generally, the sparser the drums the better.
Posted by: fe2008

Re: Keeping the same tempo along the notes - 02/27/09 02:46 PM

valuable tips my friend.. valuable tips!!
Posted by: packa

Re: Keeping the same tempo along the notes - 02/27/09 07:39 PM

I agree with Steve that it's best to get comfortable with the notes before focusing on tempo. But I STRONGLY recommend learning to use a metronome (as have all of my teachers). It does take some practice to learn to play along with one and the first few times can be very frustrating. When you first start, keep slowing and slowing it down until you can keep up, then work till you're comfortable before starting to bump up the tempo again.
Posted by: Rene Hasekamp

Re: Keeping the same tempo along the notes - 02/28/09 04:27 AM

Sorry, but you'll never learn to play without mistakes if you don't use the metronome. The reason why you hate it is that you try to play too fast.
Put the metronome very slow after your very first exploration of the piece and when you can play it without mistakes, put it a bit faster and so on.
This is the ONLY way to learn to play without those same mistakes everybtime.
Of course you also should practice difficult passages separately, but still using the metronome.
That's it. If you go on practicing faster than you can play, you'll never learn to play well. Sorry.

Rene.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Keeping the same tempo along the notes - 02/28/09 06:44 AM

I did experience some of this unsound 'dynamic compression of time' in pieces with too wide differences of speed, or where the fastest part are too fast to really master, while keeping proportions with the rest. Pachelbel's Canon in D has 4 binary levels of speeding up (2:4:8:16) and I end up the 16ths duration at most 70% of the 8ths ;-)
A metronome would paralyze me in such a setting. And if selecting a speed for 16ths to be comfortable, it would be way too slow for the rest...
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Keeping the same tempo along the notes - 02/28/09 09:04 AM

ROMagister: That is when you practice only portions of the piece at a slow tempo with the metronome. One could very easily skip ahead in Canon in D for instance, to where the 8ths and 16ths are and set the metronome at a slow pace and play along. Then gradually increase the speed of that section until it matches the tempo you're playing the longer note durations at. After all, you don't need to practice the half notes section as much as the 16ths notes anyways. Then when you can reasonably find a tempo at which you can play the entire piece at, set the metronome and go from start to finish.

fe2008: Have you ever tried counting the beats out loud? I teach all of my students to do this, because it creates a sound event that must match the sound event that your finger does. It also helps student recognize the beat location within a measure...a very visual aspect. I often have them write in the beat counts so that it's a little easier to keep track of what beat they're on. This is a tool that you will use many, many times. It is best to actually begin counting out loud the first time you play the piece. If you add it in later when you've spent some time reading the notes, you will automatically adjust your counting to match any incorrect rhythms you've learned in the process. If you count when you are first learning, while more difficult at first, you will naturally get the rhythms correct and as the note reading gets easier, you will keep a steady beat without problem. This is better than the metronome, because it will ensure that you learn the correct rhythms right from the start, and will make playing with the metronome later on much easier as well.
Posted by: SPOFF

Re: Keeping the same tempo along the notes - 02/28/09 09:05 AM

Originally Posted By: fe2008
Is this a normal frustration of a 2 week beginner?


That may be the understatement of the year smile If you've realized at only two weeks that timing and rhythm is more important (and harder) than simply hitting the correct notes, you're already making progress. When I started teaching myself, I was shocked how difficult this is. I typically play along with a computer. Unlike playing with other humans where the group will compensate for each other, my laptop shows no mercy. If you tell it to play at 120 bps, that's what you get -- to a few thousandths of a second. When I first started I couldn't play a simple melody in time. 15 months later, it's (almost) second nature. Often I learn the timing by letting the computer play the part and I tap it out on the desk with my fingers. Basically, I learn the timing before I even worry about which notes. My suggestion is to use a metronome and keep at it.

Posted by: Karisofia

Re: Keeping the same tempo along the notes - 02/28/09 09:36 AM

SPOFF, what computer program are you using?
Posted by: Exalted Wombat

Re: Keeping the same tempo along the notes - 02/28/09 09:38 AM

Practicing in time (even if it's a very slow tempo) is absolutely vital. If there's a place where you can't find the next note in time, look at your hand position on the previous note. Are you in a position that makes the next note possible? If not, sort it out.

This can be hard to do all by yourself. But your teacher will be trying to help you do it, even if you don't quite understand the reason for some of his instructions.
Posted by: Studio Joe

Re: Keeping the same tempo along the notes - 02/28/09 10:55 AM

When praticing with metronome, how do you play fermata and retards?
Posted by: packa

Re: Keeping the same tempo along the notes - 02/28/09 11:46 AM

Originally Posted By: jw7480
When praticing with metronome, how do you play fermata and retards?

If you are practicing with the metronome, just skip them and focus on tempo. Like many practice techniques, working with the metronome is somewhat artificial. You aren't practicing the piece for final performance. You are just isolating one area (in the case of the metronome, it's tempo) and working with that. It's the same with hands-separate work, playing at very slow tempos, substituting dotted rhythms in some passages, and many other tricks. You are working particular issues with these techniques, but when you are ready to practice for final performance, put these things away.

Use the metronome to solve specific problems. If you can't keep a steady musical flow for long passages, try it for the whole passage. But if you're only having trouble in some parts of a piece, just use the metronome there.
Posted by: SPOFF

Re: Keeping the same tempo along the notes - 03/01/09 10:34 AM

Originally Posted By: Karisofia
SPOFF, what computer program are you using?


For playing I use Home Concert Extreme from Time Warp Technologies http://www.timewarptech.com/Pages/Products/HCX/HCX.html. I’ve been using it more than a year to learn dozens of songs that I originally downloaded from the Web. There are also libraries of MIDI files available for this program. The software lets me practice RH or LH while it plays the other hand or I can practice both hands (with up to 14 other tracks if I choose). More importantly, it lets me isolate one track and play it with a built-in metronome.

It can do a whole lot more than that, though. There’s a great YouTube demo by Mario Ajero (whose been known to frequent these forums) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n27pR-Bz3eQ
You can use nearly any MIDI file, although some of the more "amateur" free MIDIs from the Internet will need "improving"/rearranging in a MIDI editor or sequencer.