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Metrogloom

What

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314
Well I am at about to move on to the next few songs in my jazz technique book. I have a strong and steady E and F that articulate well, I play all the sings, and riffs out if the pervious chapter spot on with no constant mistakes, just a few occasional ones, and I know the notes by heart and if I flub its the sound that tells me not a reference to the book. Sounds all good, but one more problem before I progress. I still can't play with a metronome.

I try, but every time I try to stick with the beat or follow with the rhythm of the lights I start flubbing notes like no tomorrow. I go back to the play along CD or turn off the sax and just play with the background I am fine again. Timing is good, tone sounds as right as I can tell, I feel good. If I try the met again its back to flubbing.

I know that a metronome will help get my timing even better, and I am probably only robbing myself of better playing ability, but is a metronome really essential to learning to play with enough precision to play professionally? Because I almost broke my iPad today, and this is the only challenge that is not delightful for me.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
You're overloading yourself. Put the sax down and clap the rhythm to the metronome. Do that until it's locked in really well. Hum or sing the tune with the rhythm and metronome. Hear the sax in your head. Forget the buttons. Then pick the sax up.
 

Wade Cornell

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2,146
Rhythm is something you feel. African drummers usually are first dancers. If you can't feel it how are you going to play it? Hearing what you are going to play in your head is the most difficult part. Feeling the rhythm is easy, but you're just not connected and trying to use your head instead of your body. When you can't hear what you are going to play you need to sing it. When you can't feel what the rhythm is you need to dance it. Clapping, using your voice and and fingers on the sax are all OK as well.

If you can dance or clap in time then there is no problem. If you can't I'd suggest going to a drumming workshop or making friends with some dancers and hanging with them. Putting this together with playing the sax becomes second nature as long as you FEEL the rhythm and and don't try to listen to the metronome and react to it. It's just a time keeper like any player in a rhythm section. If you can't play with a metronome how you going to play with a drummer?

Rhythm is one of the essential elements of music that makes it work. Think of your favorite piece of music and try to imagine it without rhythm.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,667
I beleive players at all levels often move on before something is truly mastered If you make any mistakes then slow it down or player shorter bits of even down to one note if need be

get it right in a relaxed easy way to the point that what you have learned is like using your fork. It will seem slower at first but after. Few years you will be way ahead. If you can leave something for two months and then play it perfectly you have mastered that phrase or tune or exercise. I hear many competent players who know a bunch of tunes but never shine because they dont know it deeply.

if you cant ply with a metronome then you haven't yet mastered that part. It is the jouney that is important not where you end up.

even after 50 years of playing through several instruments, I stll struggle with trying to do too much, but I am getting better at playing reallly relaxed without thinking about what I am doing while I am doing it.
 
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Colin the Bear

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13,079
If it's a song learning the words can help with phrasing. If it's not a song, I'll invent some words for a difficult section that's not making sense. Swing it, make it dance or play through the rhythm to make it soulful. Some pieces have a natural tempo that works. Try faster or slower. Once you've got it you can adjust to the required tempo. If you're struggling to make sense of a piece it can help to hear someone else play it. Stick the title in youtube and see what you can find to help.

I can't play to a flashing light. Not natural. Music is through the ears. Turn it up and play to the beat of the pulses.

If it's just a technique exercise you're struggling with, don't sweat it, it'll come.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,661
Throw it away! If you can play in time to the music and it sounds good then you obviously have a natural rhythm within you. let it flow, you will always sound more natural and relaxed. It's all about enjoyment! Remember that.
 

What

Member
Messages
314
I know you are all right. I just have excellent rhythm when it come to actual music, but I can't get it to translate to the metronome. Ive been able to keep a beat since i was a kid, I learned from my faters band. This makes this is extra frustrating to me. It's the one thing I need to work on before I can move on. Hopefully your suggestions can help. I think I might be over thinking it, forgetting that the metronome is a drumbeat just like the one on the CDs which I can time with easily.

Well I have a few good things to try, the only thing I can do is keep at it. Plus an idea too. My metronome program is not loud enough to hear over even quiet playing I only have the lights, I might need a louder one.
Thank you all again.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
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25,903
My metronome program is not loud enough to hear over even quiet playing I only have the lights, I might need a louder one.
Thank you all again.
I use earphones with mine and just put one in.:)

Jx
 

Zeus

Member
Messages
156
My view is one of Mr. Jazzaferi and Taz combined...throw it...what is it? Ok, the greek named "Measure of the Law" etymologically so on so forth.
I got a better measure of time, snatched from our very own "Taming the Saxophone" you must get it if you don't yet, Mr. Thomas explains it brilliantly.:)

Taken from the Tuning the sax i think...."Tonguing" the answer is so simple....tonguing the notes, just because our tongue moves evenly, you get into the rhythm-so i would say here, without a metronome...afterwards when you are more familiar with the tune, you need not tongue all notes, that's my que:)

Except from the above also...for the shake of a robust and esteemed view of the matter...Many notable composers, including Felix Mendelssohn, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi and Johannes Brahms, have criticised the use of the metronome.

Ta-ta ta ta taaa, tou tou, tou tou
 
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What

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Messages
314
My view is one of Mr. Jazzaferi and Taz combined...throw it...what is it? Ok, the greek named "Measure of the Law" etymologically so on so forth.
I got a better measure of time, snatched from our very own "Taming the Saxophone" you must get it if you don't yet, Mr. Thomas explains it brilliantly.:)
I have a copy on its way. I am in the States so I am not sure on delivery time, but its out there somewhere.

Part of me is very tempted to toss the metro and use my life long sense of rhythm take over. I just don't want to rob myself a a quality base for my playing skills. I want to be sure I can get the most out of my sax and I know that starts with me. But this is testing my love :D
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,009
I try, but every time I try to stick with the beat or follow with the rhythm of the lights I start flubbing notes like no tomorrow.
My metronome program is not loud enough to hear over even quiet playing I only have the lights, I might need a louder one.
I think you have analyzed the problem, and found your own solution. It is impossible in music to play in time with something you can't hear. Reading the music and watching the light blink at the same time would be difficult for most of us. You may want to try your metronome light with a piece you have memorized to see is that makes a difference. I think a louder metronome is the correct solution.
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Somebody I can't remember once said, " Did you ever see anyone dancing to a metronome".
Having said that they can be useful little blighters. Don't throw it away just don't let it dominate you.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,624
A cheap drum machine is more fun than a metronome.
was going to say the same. there are various drum sequencing programs available or even downloadable hip-hop loops just to get away from the interminable bleep of a metronome.-
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
This is something I am looking into now. After all when I play for real there is a far better chance I will be playing with a drummer then a metronome.
If I can put in a word for the poor old metronome here.

Playing with a metronome is one of the most useful things I've done over the past year or so. A drum machine may be more fun, but having all the 8th notes (for example) filled in for you makes it too easy. And you can sound OK with a backing track without realising that you're not really keeping the rhythm as tight as you could be (there is other stuff going on which covers the mistakes). If you play with a metronome just on the beat and later just on beats 2 and 4 (to take the most common example) you will really learn to feel a pulse internally and to anticipate where the beat is going to fall. The metronome is there as a check that you're not getting ahead of or behind the beat (unless you choose to, of course, but that's more advanced stuff). It's important to start slow until you're getting it bang on every time and then gradually increase the tempo. I do this now with all my big band parts if they have any hint of rhythmic complexity, and it's really paying off.

Just thought I'd offer another viewpoint.
 
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What

Member
Messages
314
If I can put in a word for the poor old metronome here.

Playing with a metronome is one of the most useful things I've done over the past year or so. A drum machine may be more fun, but having all the 8th notes (for example) filled in for you makes it too easy. And you can sound OK with a backing track without realising that your not really keeping the rhythm as tight as you could be (there is other stuff going on which covers the mistakes). If you play with a metronome just on the beat and later just on beats 2 and 4 (to take the most common example) you will really learn to feel a pulse internally and to anticipate where the beat is going to fall. The metronome is there as a check that you're not getting ahead of or behind the beat (unless you choose to, of course, but that's more advanced stuff). It's important to start slow until you're getting it bang on every time and then gradually increase the tempo. I do this now with all my big band parts if they have any hint of rhythmic complexity, and it's really paying off.

Just thought I'd offer another viewpoint.
You've expressed my main concern with moving on without my metronome's blessing. I never want to limit what I can do on the sax, by avoiding a challenge. That's why I am learning music and not just the sax, why I do embrouchure exercises every day, why I don't just want to accept "good enough". Perhaps a mix of both might help. Plus I have found a few drum machines that work like a metronome where you can set the rhythm, but you can apply drum beats rather then the clicking or lights. Might work well for me since the metronome programs I have tried clash with me so much.
 

What

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Messages
314
Well I found a system that will work till I get a drum machine(need to set up pay pal since eBay looks like it will be my friend) that will be used like a metronome. I totally forgot that my Apple TV lets me run apps through my tv and sound bar, I so rarely do this I forget its there; and this has enabled me to set up a good temporary system. I can turn the volume loud enough to go over my playing, leave the iPad in another room and use the beat. I'm am running through all the pieces I have learned so far, still am getting thrown off a bit, but I much better off then before.

I still think the drum machine is a better fit, but for now I have something that works.
 
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