support Tutorials CDs PPT mouthpieces

How to work on timing

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,384
Locality
Just north of Munich
One of my biggest problems with playing is getting the timing right. Not too bad in a group when there's a clear beat to follow and the rhythm isn't too tricky, but longer passages, triplets, complex rhythms really try me. Decided it was time to concentrate on the beast and either kill it, or at least get it under controlled (Tamed...).

So I've spent most of my lessons since September working on rhythm and timing, clapping, playing slow simple sight reading duets with my tutor, and it's helping a lot. BUT... I rehearsed a piece for orchestra on my own recently. I didn't realise, but I was making timing/rhythm errors and ended up getting the piece fixed in my head wrongly without knowing it. So... Come rehearsals, I was helpless as I'd also been playing at less than half the needed speeed and couldn't cope with the rhythm and speed change so quickly. Mr Grieg wrote some beautiful and tricky music.

I decided to see if there was anything available on android. Came across something called rhythm trainer. It recommends doing 15 minutes a day, starts easy and gets harder. Seems well designed. So last night I tried it for the first time. Once I'd got the hang of how it worked, no problems. Was getting it pretty much dead on at up to 100bpm. Great. I'd been going about 20 minutes and was getting tireed of it nagging me to stop for the day. So I stopped.

I started it this morning and it kicked off at 105bpm. And the wheels fell off. I couldn't get into it at all. Gave up after a few minutes,. Bad morning, or just me. Will have another go later, but it starts to explain why I need to tackle it urgently.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
9,152
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
I know how difficult it is to change when a rhythm has been practiced wrong learning a part in a musical arrangement. One of the techniques I still use is to take a pencil and mark where the beats lie in measures with a difficult rhythm. My mentor used to say, "It's simple---a note is either on a beat, or off a beat". It helps me navigate complex rhythms when I can visually see where the beat lies. Another technique I use a lot is to say the rhythm on a "tah" or "tee". When I have "internalized" it, then I say and finger the passage. My mentor also used to say, "If you can say it, you can play it". One of the advantages of learning to play a musical instrument by working through the standard method books is that rhythmic reading and counting is introduced in a logical, sequential manner with each new rhythm being built upon the foundation of the previous rhythm(s) learned.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
16,306
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
Try some swing dance. Them kids like tunes at 240bpm. A bar a second. My brain hurts.
 

MikeMorrell

Netherlands
Café Supporter
Messages
1,774
Locality
Breda
I recognise the problem and I have it too, Kev. 'Fiddly bits' that I can just about get my fingers around when practicing at my own speed at home become an awful fudge when I have to play them at the right tempo with the band. Starting off slow, getting the rhythm exactly right and gradually building up speed is the only thing that works for me. The rhythm trainer app sounds great!

In one of the 2 bands I play in, someone brings along his Zoom and records each rehearsal. Probably through automatic recording based on sound levels, he posts not just one long recording but separate recordings of the different pieces we played through completely on Dropbox. He sends everyone a link each week and this is a great resource for practicing at the right tempo. I don't do this as often as I did when I first joined the band but using something like Audacity, I used to slowed the tempo down by 15%-20% to practice playing along with it. When I was confident at 20% slower, I'd bump up the tempo up to 15% slower, then 10% slower, then 5% slower until I was ready to play along at the normal tempo.

I should add that I'm still fudging some of the difficult stuff ;)
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,702
Locality
Victoria BC Canada
Try this idea from Vic Wooten You need to have an app or metronome that can do visual only 4/4 time no sound. Apparently its best to do this just before you go to sleep at night but any time is better than not

Set metronome to around 90 bpm Get grooved into the beat with a foot or finger tapping or waving or??? for several measures. Then, close your eyes keeping your foot or finger or whatever tapping the time for a measure and open your eyes after 4 beats just before the downbeat of 1 and see where you are. Over time see if you can build up to 8 bars accurately keeping time without looking.

I suppose if one could easily mute the sound one could do it with a sonic device too
 

brianr

 
Messages
1,281
Try this idea from Vic Wooten You need to have an app or metronome that can do visual only 4/4 time no sound. Apparently its best to do this just before you go to sleep at night but any time is better than not

Set metronome to around 90 bpm Get grooved into the beat with a foot or finger tapping or waving or??? for several measures. Then, close your eyes keeping your foot or finger or whatever tapping the time for a measure and open your eyes after 4 beats just before the downbeat of 1 and see where you are. Over time see if you can build up to 8 bars accurately keeping time without looking.

I suppose if one could easily mute the sound one could do it with a sonic device too



This is a great idea. Ive been doing it myself for a few months now, and find it helps.

There is a drum track on you tube which takes this into playing. Its great and very useful. It is helping me, especially at the later stages of the recording, when the spaces get longer. (jump to halfway through :( )
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTuzByfJLaU


But, with respect to you, this is (IMHO ) NOT the way for a newbie to rhythm studies to get into this aspect of musicality.

It needs to be approached on a more basic level.

In my view rhythm development is about
1)being able to maintain a steady/constant beat and then being able to sub divide that in your head
2)being able to accurately place a note on any of those sub divisions within a bar

This is not a saxophone thing, it is a musicality thing. It can /should be developed away from the sax.

how ??..........................by tapping feet, counting internally and then clapping rhythms.

Either by using a metronome , or if not, then aiming to use one eventually. Progress will be much better/quicker through eventual use of a metronome. But, its ok to start this without.

Basic ex no.1
1) tap foot, count out loud 1,2,3 4
2) pick an "on" beat note and clap only on that. ie "the one". try all 4 options. So we are clapping only on one of the 8 quavers available in that bar.
This sounds really easy. dont let ego get in the way. Can you do it....easily/comfortably ?
3) pick an off beat and clap only that ie the "and" of 1. try all 4 options
4) only go to this when you are VERY comfortable with 3)
try two claps per bar. One on the beat and one off ie "on 1" and "and of 3". or, "off one', "on 3".

Do this a zillion times, with many permutations, but always aiming to feel really comfortable and in control.

then try something more complicated . ie two off beats, or three quavers, or ........... etc etc.

Dont be in a hurry. get really comfortable before getting too ambitious.

This stuff sounds so simple. It is..................., once you have it.................., but can you do it?

eventually ( hopefully many months down the line ) instead of 2 quavers per beat, try a triplet vibe.
So 12 available placements per bar.
This is really hard but you will be well on the way by the time you nail many permutations of that.;).
ie 2nd of three on the 2nd beat, with 3rd of three on 4th beat.

IMHO, until you have the basic stuff nailed, you will struggle with rhythm.

In my view getting the basics together before getting into the heavy stuff, is the same for rhythm as it is with sax technique, or in fact any other aspect of this music stuff. It is a MUST. Basics are a MUST before moving on.

If anyone has been struggling with rhythm for a while, with little progress, please give this a try.
what have you got to lose.

Im pretty sure it will help, but the worst outcome is that you will have done some clapping and foot tapping.
Dont worry if friends/family think you are crazy. Just smile and say "Im improving here, leave me alone " :)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,384
Locality
Just north of Munich
Yes, back to basics it is. after 8 years.
 

brianr

 
Messages
1,281
slightly off the topic. but just slightly.......... it still relates to time.

ive been getting into the teachings of Victor Wooten recently. I wish I had found him 10 years ago.

after linking to the you tube video two posts up from this, I was watching some more of him.

I found this one, which is fascinating. imagining yourself playing with a drummer.

great stuff.

I played Moanin with Art Blakey just 5 minutes ago. ;)....... He was here, in my practice room
He played great and I upped my time feel too:)........ it felt really good.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WTiPxgBi9U
 

sdt99

Member
Messages
177
Personally I find my biggest enemy to timing is overplaying. If I make a conscious effort to leave more space in my solos then my timing improves. I think also as a learning improviser it's too easy to prioritize mastering changes / scales / arpeggios far above mastering the timing, but the audience probably appreciates the opposite priority - that is a simple well timed solo sounds much better than harmonically/melodically complex but poorly timed solo.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,702
Locality
Victoria BC Canada
Maybe 10 years ago I spent a week with Vic Wooten in a small group at the Haven on Gabriola Island. Easily the most mind altering musical week I have spent.

IMHO all musicians should learn to play drums for a year or so
 

brianr

 
Messages
1,281
Maybe 10 years ago I spent a week with Vic Wooten in a small group at the Haven on Gabriola Island. Easily the most mind altering musical week I have spent.

IMHO all musicians should learn to play drums for a year or so


Ive looked for "extremely jealous " in the available "smileys"

I cant find one.

So, Ill just have to try to express how I feel in words......... Im extremely jealous.

That must have been fantastic.

any pearls of wisdom that you can pass on to us, on the wrong side of the Atlantic.
 

MikeMorrell

Netherlands
Café Supporter
Messages
1,774
Locality
Breda
I prefer to call it "judicious editing to insure the integrity of the music".
Quite right, JBT. Another tip I picked up somewhere (probably here) on timing is that it's more important to start and end the key notes/phrases precisely on time than play each and every passing note in a fast run. So for 'fudging' please read 'real-time feedback and adjustment of timing priorities' ;)
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,702
Locality
Victoria BC Canada
@brianr Two of Vicicisms.......that have stuck with me

There is a lot more to music than notes. Never lose the groove to find a note.

On the last day of the retreat Vic showed us an improv practicing thing he does on his bass. He started by making a noise of some sort recording on his looping pedal. He then looped that and added another noise to make a rhythmic groove that looped. He then added a few short bass phrases into the loop (all of this while keeping the groove going and never missing a beat) Finally he then improvised on that groove for a while. Included in that was a bit when he quickly, without loosing the beat detuned to strings of his bass so they were loose enough to slap them on the fretboard in time with the music. After a bit of this he tuned the bass back up to pitch within a few measures, always keeping something going in tune and in time with the groove. He then finished off his improvisation and slowily wound down the loops back to the original noise.

It was the most incredible musical experience I have ever had.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,384
Locality
Just north of Munich
@brianr Two of Vicicisms.......that have stuck with me

There is a lot more to music than notes. Never lose the groove to find a note.

On the last day of the retreat Vic showed us an improv practicing thing he does on his bass. He started by making a noise of some sort recording on his looping pedal. He then looped that and added another noise to make a rhythmic groove that looped. He then added a few short bass phrases into the loop (all of this while keeping the groove going and never missing a beat) Finally he then improvised on that groove for a while. Included in that was a bit when he quickly, without loosing the beat detuned to strings of his bass so they were loose enough to slap them on the fretboard in time with the music. After a bit of this he tuned the bass back up to pitch within a few measures, always keeping something going in tune and in time with the groove. He then finished off his improvisation and slowily wound down the loops back to the original noise.

It was the most incredible musical experience I have ever had.
I'm really envious. And I bet he wasn't showing off, just deomonstrating what you can do when you have the timing right.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,384
Locality
Just north of Munich
I'll say something for this app. It's teaching me where the problems are. Before I had a general awareness. now I get specifics and can work on them. Really my timing issues should have been sorted out years aago, but that's another story, not for the forum.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Messages
10,070
Locality
KIC 8462852
Really my timing issues should have been sorted out years aago, but that's another story, not for the forum.
My thoughts on what you could be referring to are probably not for the forum either.
 

Eoe

Member
Messages
346
Maybe 10 years ago I spent a week with Vic Wooten in a small group at the Haven on Gabriola Island. Easily the most mind altering musical week I have spent.

IMHO all musicians should learn to play drums for a year or so
exactly drum lessons. And dance lessons you take both your timing will be good.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,384
Locality
Just north of Munich
dance lessons
I had them years ago to keep an ex happy. It's pretty futile when you can't remember the steps to a waltz. Or any other dance for that matter. I could ring accurately as a bell ringers, but never got beyond rounds and call changes cos I couldn't remember the methods. Ringing church bells accurately is difficult, cos each one rings a different length of time after the rope starts moving. The good thing, compared to sax, is that there's more time to think.
 
Top Bottom