#1
So lately I started using a metronome and improve my rhythm skills.
At first I followed the advice I read online, which was to count notes, as in:
1 & 2 & 3 & 4
or
1 e & a 2....

But I've found that it's virtually impossible for me to count like that without being distracted from the actual notes I'm playing, especially when improvising, and especially with doted notes and triplets and what not.
So instead I just started tapping my foot, which lead to a different problem. I can stay on the beat, but if I'm improvising something which is not that consistent, I can't know which beat I'm on, or where a bar ends or starts.
So my question is, what do you guys do to stay in (and aware of) time?
#4
You'll eventually get good enough to stop counting without going out of time if you keep practicing. You'll be able to just feel the pulse of the song.
#5
Honestly, I don't really count most of the time, I just feel it. The only times I count is when learning something that's giving me difficulty timing-wise, mostly when it's a weird time signature or rhythm that I'm not used to, but then once I learn what that particular timing "feels" like I don't worry about counting. The main thing is remembering where beat one is - that's the most fundamental part of staying in time. Especially when improvising I may not be counting in my head, but if I can keep track of where the first beat is that's all that matters.

Edit: I'm not saying it isn't a useful skill, it is something that you should practice to help with your sense of time.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Feb 7, 2015,
#6
I bob my head around like a tool to keep in time.

There's this one song I have been playing for awhile, Albinoni's adagio in G minor, and I NEED to listen to the bass to have good flow. It mixes up note lengths, but the bass is consistent and it is a real lifesaver. The song is ~60 BPM, so there's plenty of time between beats to get lost and hear it clearly. This is excellent timing/feel practice with great, accessible textbook examples to learn from; I highly recommend Albinoni's adagio to anyone interested in playing guitar solos.

It gets more intuitive as time goes on, but counting the rhythm out consciously seems like the best way to get there.
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#7
Quote by Lord hazel
So lately I started using a metronome and improve my rhythm skills.
At first I followed the advice I read online, which was to count notes, as in:
1 & 2 & 3 & 4
or
1 e & a 2....

But I've found that it's virtually impossible for me to count like that without being distracted from the actual notes I'm playing, especially when improvising, and especially with doted notes and triplets and what not.
So instead I just started tapping my foot, which lead to a different problem. I can stay on the beat, but if I'm improvising something which is not that consistent, I can't know which beat I'm on, or where a bar ends or starts.
So my question is, what do you guys do to stay in (and aware of) time?

I don't count, unless it's a weird syncopated rhythm or something like that. I of course know where the first beat is, and where the other three beats are. That's important. But usually 16ths are so fast that you can't really count them individually. Same with 8ths if you count them all the time.

But when practicing a difficult rhythm slowly, then counting 8ths makes a lot of sense and sometimes even counting 16ths makes sense.

When you improvise, you should just feel the beat. You don't want to think too much when you improvise.

When you practice rhythm, you want to be thinking in rhythm. If you need to think about notes, you can't really focus on the rhythm. If you want to improvise, pick a couple of notes (maybe just one note) and improvise with the rhythm only.
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#8
I only count when I'm reading music and there's a weird rhythm. I never count when improvising or playing by ear.
#9
I always tap my foot on two and four. If you always know where the 1 is it's hard to lose track of where you are.

Unless you're playing really fast bebop

Divide the measure into four 8ths and four 8ths and practice different subdivisions. If you practice, you'll start to learn to feel it.


EDIT:This is a systematic way to go about learning to feel rhythms. If you can't read rhythmic notation I would encourage you to learn. It's not difficult and useful for conceptualizing the rhythms you play.

http://
Last edited by Duaneclapdrix at Feb 8, 2015,
#10
Quote by Lord hazel
So lately I started using a metronome and improve my rhythm skills.
At first I followed the advice I read online, which was to count notes, as in:
1 & 2 & 3 & 4
or
1 e & a 2....

But I've found that it's virtually impossible for me to count like that without being distracted from the actual notes I'm playing, especially when improvising, and especially with doted notes and triplets and what not.
So instead I just started tapping my foot, which lead to a different problem. I can stay on the beat, but if I'm improvising something which is not that consistent, I can't know which beat I'm on, or where a bar ends or starts.
So my question is, what do you guys do to stay in (and aware of) time?

Are you working on improvisation or rhythm? Choose what you are focusing on for the ten-fifteen minute interval and focus on that.

If you are working on your rhythm then take the time to focus on your rhythm. If this means using a single note or scale fragments (e.g. 5-6-7-8) so be it. If you set aside time to focus on rhythm then in time it will become easier and easier.

Have a plan. Find an obvious starting point that you work on mastering until you move on to something more complex and continually increasing complexity. Research exercises and advice and plan your practice session.

If you are working on improvisation then the metronome is more a way of keeping the pulse and you should be concerned only with that pulse. Don't worry too much about counting and trying to stick to a rhythm. Basically you should only be worried if your tempo is wandering all over the place. As your rhythm studies progress it will become more internalized and this will flow through into all your playing. In the meantime if your focus is on working on your improvisation then focus on that. It may be that your improvised ideas are a syncopated 7/8 beat with a 2/4 every third bar or something even more random.

If you are working on improvising in a certain time then try getting a drum track that keeps time for you. The drums will give you cues (bass snare cymbal crashes accents etc) that the metronome won't and then you just have to think about the notes and can "feel" the groove laid down by the drums.

So what are you working on? Figure that out and for a set period of time in your practice focus on that. Make everything else as easy as it needs to be so that you don't really have to think too hard about anything except what your current focus is. As you progress in the various areas of your practice then that "as easy as it needs to be" I just mentioned will include more advanced ideas because they will have become internalized (second nature) through consistent regular dedicated and focused practice.
Si
#11
I find showing people how to come in on an upbeat takes some practice..exercise the upbeat with an accent..like reggae style feel..

take 8th note clusters (cells) and instead of 4 notes include the first note in the next four cell..so in effect your playing a 5 note cell..then accent the upbeat on the next note of the three remaining notes.. divide and sub-divide 8th note series..with rests and triplets .. learn to play some jazz tunes that use syncopation in the melody..try "Round Midnight" by Monk and "Goodby Pork Pie Hat" by Mingus..great pieces to get melodic content under your fingers..play them in several keys .. then go back to simple 8th note exercises and see your improvement in playing on the upbeat..
play well

wolf
#12
Quote by Lord hazel
So lately I started using a metronome and improve my rhythm skills.
At first I followed the advice I read online, which was to count notes, as in:
1 & 2 & 3 & 4
or
1 e & a 2....

But I've found that it's virtually impossible for me to count like that without being distracted from the actual notes I'm playing, especially when improvising, and especially with doted notes and triplets and what not.
So instead I just started tapping my foot, which lead to a different problem. I can stay on the beat, but if I'm improvising something which is not that consistent, I can't know which beat I'm on, or where a bar ends or starts.
So my question is, what do you guys do to stay in (and aware of) time?


You'll need to count slowly at a speed that allows you to percieve the count, but also give you time to be aware of the note. Going slow is a discipline, and doesn't come easy, because it's so easy to get bored or distracted. But if you can get mastery over that, you'll be better off for it. Once you have a concept of the timing and your playing (I recommend to count it out loud to get to that stage) then add a metronome beat.

Best,

Sean