I don’t mean to brag but…

Posted by: Kymber

I don’t mean to brag but… - 12/19/08 11:09 AM

I have made some great progress on rhythm!!!

I have always had problems with rhythm. My former teachers never correct it and I didn’t know enough to ask the right kinds of questions. I was just told “that’s not right”.

So, over that past two weeks I worked primarily on the rhythm exercises my current teacher gave me. She was really pleased with my progress and said the difference was like night and day.

I am so pleased because I was never really sure I could do it. I think some part of me felt you have it (rhythm) or you don’t and I didn’t.

This is proof that if I can do it ANYONE can do it.
Posted by: Eighty8

Re: I don’t mean to brag but… - 12/19/08 11:37 AM

Congratulations.

Please share with us what action you took to improve. What did you do differently? Any tips, etc.
Posted by: Kymber

Re: I don’t mean to brag but… - 12/19/08 12:36 PM

Thanks Eighty8
Well…
My rhythm problems all started when I was a kid. I knew when you play two eight notes it took up the same amount of time as the quarter note. In fact I pretty much knew timing etc. in theory, I just didn’t know how to play it. I would play the first eight note and the second immediately after it. No one ever explained that the second note comes in on the “and” they would just say count one and two and etc. So, I would count but still play it wrong. (keep in mind I was 10 years old at the time). Seems like I would have been a simple thing to correct and at 10 years old I didn’t really know the right kind of questions to ask. So when I finally did know the right questions to ask “uhhhh….when do I play the second note….duh???” It was like an AH-HA moment. This ah ha moment wasn’t enough to fix my problem and possibly made it even worse…

Oh, and I used to FEAR the metronome – it made me so anxious.

So, this teacher had me take a couple of sheets of papers that had only single lines of rhythm on it. She told me to do a line a day with the metronome. I did my line a day then would add the previous day’s line. She also told me to jump around the measures a little to make sure I could interpret the rhythm quickly. It was difficult at first because my eight notes would always be too fast. Or, they would start out correct and then I would speed up (thanks to my previous habits). After a while my mistakes were more obvious to me and I knew to correct them right away. When I did get it right I would do it over and over.

Another thing I had a hard time with was holding the dotted notes long enough, especially when I had to sing the beats because I found it hard to count and sing. So, out would count it on my fingers (sounds silly but it worked). She told me that with some practice I would “feel” the right length of time and she was right. After a while I hardly had to count the dotted half note and I was automatically coming in at the right time on the next measure.

Btw… all of this work was done away from the piano. But, when I played my Hanon exercises for her they were much more smooth and steady.

Sorry this ended up being VERY long. I guess it’s a lot to explain. But, I thought it might be a good idea to share the whole story in case anyone else is having the same difficulties.
\:\)
Posted by: JDelmore

Re: I don’t mean to brag but… - 12/19/08 12:42 PM

This is something your FIRST teacher should have taught[/b]...just shows the danger of a hack.

Glad you got it worked out!!

(...how I learned to stop worrying and love the metronome...LOL)
Posted by: Kymber

Re: I don’t mean to brag but… - 12/19/08 12:53 PM

Thank you JDelmore,

I actually like using the metronome now \:\)
Posted by: SantaFe_Player

Re: I don’t mean to brag but… - 12/19/08 01:09 PM

Kymber - keep it up. Nobody is truly "rhythm challenged." Look at it this way - there are literally MILLIONS of musicians out there and THEY all managed to get it - whether they are professionals or not - so there's no reason you, or anybody else, cannot. In the years I taught piano, most of the students with reading problems that I inherited from other teachers actually could read notes, but the challenge was they couldn't count their way out of a paper bag. Not their fault! It was the fault of the bad teachers who ignored the issue and did not teach them well in the first place. Sounds like you've found a good teacher.
Posted by: SantaFe_Player

Re: I don’t mean to brag but… - 12/19/08 01:12 PM

p.s. - the metronome is any serious musician's best friend, and when I taught my students remedial rhythm, we did it with little percussion instruments ("Choose your weapon!"), not at the piano. So you've taken exactly the correct approach IMHO.
Posted by: Always Wanted to Play Piano

Re: I don’t mean to brag but… - 12/19/08 02:22 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by SantaFe_Player:
p.s. - the metronome is any serious musician's best friend, and when I taught my students remedial rhythm, we did it with little percussion instruments ("Choose your weapon!"), not at the piano. So you've taken exactly the correct approach IMHO. [/b]
Threads like this are causing me to consider using the metronome for all practice (and turning it off when it comes time to actually play / record something).
Posted by: natedaddy

Re: I don’t mean to brag but… - 12/19/08 05:52 PM

Everybody is born with rhythm. Since your body first had any sense of hearing or feeling, you listened to swing 8th notes of varying tempo -- your mother's heartbeat when she was carrying you. Your own heart has its own rhythm too ... your whole body has a sense of rhythm, that's why when walking or running you don't have to pause or count 1-e-and-a as your alternating major leg muscles flex and counter-flex in time ... it just does it.

So, in short, if your heart beats, and if you can walk with rhythm (which will attract the worm) all it takes is to connect that innate "walking around" sense of rhythm to the musical-production output mechanisms. Easier said than done, perhaps, but as SantaFe_Player said: Nobody is truly "rhythm challenged."
Posted by: StripedPolkadot

Re: I don’t mean to brag but… - 12/21/08 04:58 PM

Kymber, yay for you!!
My problem is that I tend to play the piece really slowly as I sight-read it for the first time, and I do this without any regard for the length of the notes as written. Then sometimes when I become more comfortable with a piece, I have difficulty making myself do the counting correctly. I have found that if I count through a piece before playing it, that really helps!
Posted by: Kymber

Re: I don’t mean to brag but… - 12/22/08 10:13 AM

Thanks for the support and kind words everyone!!

 Quote:
Originally posted by StripedPolkadot:
Kymber, yay for you!!
My problem is that I tend to play the piece really slowly as I sight-read it for the first time, and I do this without any regard for the length of the notes as written. Then sometimes when I become more comfortable with a piece, I have difficulty making myself do the counting correctly. I have found that if I count through a piece before playing it, that really helps! [/b]
That's what I always did. I would start of steady then speed up at the easy parts and slow down at the difficult ones.

My teacher, and everyone else for that matter, says to get the rhythm down first. She is now having me learn and memorize the rhythm of the song before I even play it.
Posted by: Kymber

Re: I don’t mean to brag but… - 12/22/08 10:18 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by natedaddy:

if you can walk with rhythm [/b]
Thanks!

You reminded me of a funny story. One day years ago I went into a convenience store. Stayin' Alive was playing loudly through the stores speakers. You couldn't help but to walk with the rhythm of the song. I was trying really hard not to because I felt silly. It was hard not to laugh at the whole situation. But I was by myself and would have looked even crazier if I was laughing out loud to myself AND gettin' down to the bee gees.
Posted by: Kymber

Re: I don’t mean to brag but… - 12/22/08 10:22 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by SantaFe_Player:
Kymber - keep it up. Nobody is truly "rhythm challenged." - Sounds like you've found a good teacher. [/b]
Thanks!

Sounds like you are a great teacher as well