When should I count?
I've been playing the violin for some months now and I have problems with tempo sometimes.
Most of the times, I play without counting and it doesn't sound bad, in my opinion. This happens because I previously listen to what I'm gonna play and get the rhythm or, if there isn't a recording available, I kinda get the rhythm by myself while playing, after strugling a little bit.
However, it happens to me sometimes to play long notes shorter or to face pieces with dotted eighth followed by sixteenth and I get a bit lost with the tempo. I used to have the same problem even with dotted quarter notes followed by an eighth, but it is getting better now.
I asked my teacher if I should use Pozzolli to train my tempo, but he says I don't need that 'cause my tempo is not bad. He also doesn't tell me to count, but draw my attetion when I make mistakes, and then show me how it is supposed to be. My sister, however, is an organist, and she says I should always count no matter what.
Some current facts:
- when I try to count while playing, the quality of my sound gets worse since I'm dedicating attetion to both; I can't do it automatically yet, although I think that would be just a matter of time;
- I have just started to practice counting without playing before playing. Is it good enough to be able to play and count at the same time soon?
Lastly, I want to know your opinion about counting while playing and how you are used to do.
If you think you will ever want to play with other people you will have learn to count - or at least keep a meticulously steady tempo some other way.
You don't need to "count" in the sense of calling numbers in your head, necessarily, but you do need to get your rhythms precisely accurate. It is arguably in fact more important for the rhythm to be accurate than for the note to be otherwise right.
Thank you for replying.
Do a google search for "Peterson Body Beat Pulse Solo." It's a device that plugs into the headphone socket on your metronome (or phone with a metronome app) and vibrates with the beat. You clip it to your pants pocket or whatever and get an essentially silent tactile report for the rhythm. With Peterson's own free app the unit will actually give different pulses for the first beat of the measure, etc. A lot of people, including me, are learning to like these devices a lot.
First and foremost: I think this is a question of whether you're going to let an organist tell you how to learn violin, or let a violinist tell you how to learn the violin.
Practice everything with a metronome - everything. Almost everything you will play (Bach Partitas excepted) will have another instrument(s) playing with you. You need to develop the skill of automatically timing your music with the other musicians around you. The metronome is your inexpensive friend to develop this skill.
Whether you consciously count or not, you have to keep the beat. Think of it as the heartbeat of the piece. You can play all sorts of notes, but everyone has to hit that beat when it comes by. Try practising rhythms without an instrument; tap your hands on a desktop, for instance, and try to hit the beat while working various rhythms into it. As others have said, a metronome will help you keep the beat until you get the hang of it.
Thank you all for replying, again.
I also would like to know what you guys do to keep the beat.
You just have to develop that internal metronome. Give it time. And practice.
1) Don't worry too much. Learning the violin takes a lot of patience -- especially for an adult beginner. As you become a musician, you will develop an internal clock and an internal sense of rhythm over time, just like you will develop an ear for intonation. But this will take time, probably years.
Paul Deck, good to know it's a matter of time, thanks.