I can't remember if I asked this before, or if anyone else has. So here we go.
When it comes to practising, I practise a lot with a metronome (my rhythm lets me down currently). When I am practising with it, the rhythm is fine. When I take it away, and practise without, it near enough goes back to where it was before.
How do I make it stick?
When you play without a metronome, are you recording yourself at least sometimes, and listening to the playback?
I'm recording myself more and more yeah
I am not sure how well this would work for you but I tap lightly with my left or right big toe whenever I play. I train myself to be synchronized with the metronome when I use a metronome.
I tried that with it and it was fine. But I then turned it off and it wasn't like "rigid"
When I slow down, it is always due to difficulties. Any idea what causes you to get out of rhythm? [If your changes of rhythm are interpretive/musical, that's better than a mechanical metronomic beat.]
George, I am not really haha. What I think it is is that I have been playing this particular piece on and off for almost 2 years and my previous teacher said nothing about the rhythm being wrong. So it has been ingrained into my body and mind as how I did it. Its only since I brought it to my current teacher where he pointed out the gaping flaws in it. I think if I was learning something from scratch it would be less of a problem
Jake, not your problem obviously, but to add to Erin's observation about slowing down in difficult passages - before such a passage it may even happen that one inevitably and unconsciously will become faster, like as if to get momentum before a huge jump. Slowing down becomes even more obvious then...
My experience is probably not typical. I rarely use the metronome, but I know that I got one of my jobs because of good timing. Instead, most of my playing has been with small ensembles or orchestras. And I have done over-dub recording sessions with click tracks For solos, a good pianist will keep you honest, point out your timing mistakes. Listen to the expert recordings, so you know what it is supposed to sound like.
I wonder if it might help to play along with some good youtube accompaniment for now, a piece that has the piano part online for instance, so you'd have the beat integrated totally with the music.
Jake you're planning to audition for conservatoire in a few years, right? I'm glad you've identified your problem with having an internal sense of rhythm because this is something that you want to fix -- and fast.
Paul, you are right in my apspirations yeah. Those Bach pieces they are from the Anna Magdalene notebook right? Its funny you said Clementi sonatinas as I am working through the first one at the moment (I intend to learn them all). I have a Chase 500 (I think) electric piano. I've tried using headphones with it but it needs a bigger jack which I haven't bought yet
Erin I'm not sure honestly. I just know that it is not uniform (as in always early or late, but a mixture)
"What I think it is is that I have been playing this particular piece on and off for almost 2 years and my previous teacher said nothing about the rhythm being wrong. So it has been ingrained into my body and mind as how I did it. Its only since I brought it to my current teacher where he pointed out the gaping flaws in it. I think if I was learning something from scratch it would be less of a problem"
I got a jack adapter (3.5mm to 1/4") at Parts Express for $0.57 (yes, fifty-seven cents); maybe you have a Radio Shack or some such nearby?
Jake if you are already working on the Clementi then you don't need the Bach -- yes those are the Anna Magdalena pieces and a few others. I wasn't aware you were studying piano already. Better Bach for you would be the 18 "little" preludes and fugues (Peters has a nice edition with sane ornaments) or the 2-part inventions (Schirmer-Bischoff is what I learned from). The three or four easiest Chopin Preludes may also be within your grasp, and perhaps a few of the easiest Mazurkas. All of that is on IMSLP.
Mary Ellen, its funny you say that. I had been thinking about doing that. The said piece is for an exam, and have been looking at another one on the syllabus
I've only had three violin teachers in my life but I've had a LOT of piano teachers, like 10. Every time I brought what I was playing with the last teacher, and I could tell the new teacher could not wait to get rid of that so they could assign something new. It's just a matter of having a clean start, which seems very logical.
I have a Barenreiter edition of Bach's little preludes and fugues I think somewhere and thought they were a bit more advanced than I am. I don't study it as such
Jake, get a pack of 4 of those jack adapters. They disappear and they stop working too if you buy the cheap ones.
Right okay. Thanks
I echo Mary Ellen's suggestion of starting with a fresh new piece. Certainly if it is for an exam, Jake. I assume Grade 8 viola? Which is the piece you are struggling with? If and when you start a fresh exam piece, make sure you start metronome work early on, slow practice and accurate rhythm practice.
M you are also correct in your assumption. Piece in question is Glazunov's Elegie. Its such a shame because I love that piece so much. But I am swapping it out for Fauré's cello elegie arr. for viola
That is a real shame, the Elegie is just wonderful. It is on my list for Grade 8 prep work.
I want to support Mary Ellen and M Zilpah - that piece has been burnt into your long term memory as it is, including all of the problems.
One more thing about using a metronome:
Well I understand about the Glazunov Elegie. I strongly feel the notation does not really tell me the truth about the rhythm...glad you warned me...I will be super cautious; this is a piece I had chosen to start next :) It is VERY UN-Bachian. Boy is Clementi ever a switch after G's Elegie!!! EDIT: I hear Elegie as a piece with a sway of rubato; I feel your pain using a metronome with it!
Well I've been working on Zelter's e flat concerto mvt 1 and Benjamin Britten's Reflection too haha
WOW. Talk about transitioning!!!
All part of my exam sadly
All of my teachers on piano and oboe were against playing to a metronome ever. Your use of the word "rigid" is worrisome.
What do you mean Gordon?
rigid and musical are pretty much antonyms
Ah okay that makes sense :)
It makes no sense. Practicing with a metronome is a very necessary part of a student’s development.
Mary Ellen I completely agree also. My current teacher is of the mind to play in time before pulling it about as it were. You need to know your starting point
Gordon, Leia Zhu showed us that Mendelssohn didn't seem to think so https://www.violinist.com/blog/LeiaZhu/201711/23531/.
Leia Zhu discusses Mendelssohn's preference for playing in time an 1845 Mendelssohn cadenza, not all Mendelssohn, or all music.
Jake, Molly Gebrian, a violist with a background in neuroscience as well as music, has a youtube series titled "What Musicians Can Learn About Practicing from Current Brain Research." You might get some useful information from part 3 in the series, which is all about using the metronome - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KBAnSOjWmU&t=0s
Thats a good link Dale. I'll give it a watch now
I was correct. It was a lot more informative than I thohght. Kinda annoyed it didn't come up on YouTube searches
A metronome, like any tool, should be used thoughtfully and not all the time. Setting your metronome to big beats allows you some flexibility between beats, and you can emphasize this at slower tempi, and then seek to recreate that phrasing when you click the metronome up a notch. Also, you don't have to spend all your time with the metronome right at the edge of your ability - Playing too much at the very fastest speed can encourage tension and playing with a survival mindset. Do some work with the metronome at reasonable speeds, then without the metronome at reasonable speeds. Do some work at kinda slow speeds with and without. Then try increasing your speed notch by notch. Then go back to slow and remind yourself if you've been playing tense.
Christian that is good advice. I'll try that during my practise this afternoon
This has been a long thread and yet something is missing here: At the end rhythm does not come out of the metronome; it comes out of your belly. And I think there is a danger that practicing with the metronome can destroy or damage your innate sense of rhythm (sorry, Mary Ellen!). That does not mean the metronome is useless. I like it for example to check if I maintain a constant tempo. I just never practice rhythms with it.
Albrecht, my theory teacher gave me a couple of sheets of music with various rhythms on it cor that very purpose about 2 ish years ago. I had neglected it until I came on furlough 3 weeks ago and do 30 minutes every 2 days or so
I have a book of Eastern European violin music. There are dance pieces with time sigs of 11/8, 13/8. You have to get a feel for rhythms like that, and for any other rhythm.
A lot of the time we think we're playing with the metronome when what's really happening is we're playing while the metronome is on. Have you tried setting the metronome so it only clicks twice a bar? Once a bar? Once every two bars? On the off beats? Twice a beat? Try consciously to learn what it sounds and feels like when it's in tempo, instead of just checking it with the metronome. If it's a problem with the rhythm instead of a problem of slowing down and speeding up, sometimes working on it the same way you would work on a shift - slowly, then gradually and methodically speeding it up can help.
Albrecht, what you described is exactly what I meant by
Irene what you said is essentially what Molly Gebrian said in the video that Dale linked. Brilliant vid
Albrecht, it sounds like Jake should eat more beans, what with them being the musical fruit and all ;-)
My favorite expression of physical movement related to tempo is andante, a slow walking pace. I like to memorize a piece while walking outside; my steps are the 'beat' while I hum the notes, with my score in hand for a quick peek. If you have legs and space, no metronome is needed. (Beans may be used if you desire an extra propellant.)
Because of all of your suggestions, advice etc. and from my teacher(several of you echoed what he said) I feel a lot more secure moving forward whenever I learn something new. So thanks :)
Including the advice about the beans?
What do you mean? And less about beans haha
I was making a joke on your British spelling of "practising."
Ahhh I see. "Practice" is used too
practise is the verb; practice is the noun.
LOL! I didn't know that. Over here we pretty much got rid of "practise."
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