Piano Teacher Needs Helps from Drum Teachers

chueh

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Let's admit it: most music learners have rhythmic difficulties!!!!

It's especially hard for piano students who are struggling note-reading with ELTTER NAMES already. Even though i often make them do the rhythm without the pitches, they still cannot get the rhythm right. Mainly because a lot of people have rhythmic issues without feeling the beats, they cannot make same notes evenly. Thus, I ask the students to COUNT (1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and, etc, their notes are pretty straight forward and simple with 8th notes being the smallest note duration).

The problem is that most kids do NOT want to count,, especially for the age above 8 or so. Even though their counting (if they do count) makes them play rhythm correctly each time they do, they still rather use their own GUESSES to play the notes, with the hope that it just magically going to make it right!. No matter how many times they try again and again WITHOUT counting with the SAME mistakes on the same notes, which I go over many and many times, they still make them wrong if not counting.

If the student already have an OK sense of of rhythm and can make rhythm from their own sense, I wouldn't need to ask them to count. Therefore, this is THE PROBLEM. They have very bad sense of rhythm, yet they do not want to cooperate with pretty much the only sure way to make them correctly. I explain to them that knowing 8th notes go faster isn't enough. For 10% faster is faster, so is 20%, and 30%. However, 50% has to be the 8th note. In order to get it exact, counting is a great tool. I also show them my hand tap down and flip up, meaning down is 50% and up is another 50% to make a beat. Unfortunately they still choose not to use the method but rather GUESS their way to mistakes all over. This is my FRIST QUESTION: how do you make your students to count, or by all means, any methods you use to make the students do the right rhythm is welcome here.

Through repetition, people can imitate. So can the rhythm. However, some people just cannot match the beats. When I clap, tap, and etc, they cannot go along with my claps at all. This is my SECOND QUESTION: what do you do with the students who have terrible rhythmic sense?

Thanks.

And again all helps are welcome and appreciated
 

Deafmoon

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They have to ‘sing’ the quarter note pulse on the beats, off the beats and of the melody on every exercise. Who cares about the note’s pitch, you are teaching rhythm first not solfeggio. That means minimally they are playing the exercise the full 3 times and mimicking the pulse on the beat, off the beat and of the melody being played. A simple “AH” sound on every quarter, off beat and of the rhythmic notes to the melody out loud will begin to ingrain the time into their inner being and ultimately they will not even think about it.
 

toddbishop

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I teach both drums and piano (first 2-3 years). I do a lot of different things to help that along. Counting the rhythm, singing the rhythm, singing the general rhythm of the piece, if it has one-- like that dance rhythm on the Bach minuets. Me singing/counting, them listening, or them singing/counting. Maybe we'll just try to get the notes lengths to be somewhat proportional, thinking in terms of long and short notes. We also play lots of single measures, or short phrases, where we work on getting just the rhythm. I don't necessarily make them count while playing-- not all the time.

One important idea is that I'm not trying to train them to be a clock, or to work out rhythms mathematically, or to "feel" it in their hands/body; it's more about learning to count rhythms in the right proportions, and learning to hear and memorize sound. So if I sing a phrase at a certain tempo, they're memorizing the sound of my voice, and they sing it back to me, and that's their guide for how to play it. It works really well. I save the metronome for students who are pretty well along.

I also don't believe in a "sense of rhythm"-- you teach it to them, and give them whatever level of help they need with it. Some people need some really remedial exercises to learn the concept, and you have to be patient and creative in figuring out what to do with them.
 

hardbat

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I would include separate rhythm exercises and assignments each week, that they just tap, without pitches. I'm a drummer, and my wife is taking piano lessons... as long as there are pitches to worry about, she considers the rhythm to be secondary and doesn't put any effort into it. Drives me nuts hearing all the right notes with the wrong rhythm. If she also had rhythm reading exercises to practice, then at least eventually she'd be able to figure out the rhythms on her own.
 

JDA

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another thing piano or piano traditionally in some corners is was, a Rubato instrument (or can exquisitely be one)..
like Elvin trying to follow his brother Hank in their younger days (there was a story back in the day, somewhere) or the early drummers that attempted to phrase or play along with Art Tatum and that early random ferocious style of piano ....The drum "usually" lost) could not (10 hammers vs 2 hammers) keep on track with all that hammering going in diff directions!! ( lol...funny huh reminds me of some early stories I remember reading..
 
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Pat A Flafla

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another thing piano or piano traditionally in some corners is was, a Rubato instrument (or can exquisitely be one)..
like Elvin trying to follow his brother Hank in their younger days (there was a story back in the day, somewhere) or the early drummers that attempted to phrase or play along with Art Tatum and that early random ferocious style of piano ....The drum "usually" lost) could not (two sticks vs 10 fingers?) keep on track with all that hammering going in diff directions!! ( lol...funny huh reminds me of some early stories I remember reading..
Yes, young solo instrumentalists usually have a harder time developing rhythmic accuracy than ensemble students because they can get away with it. Four hands pieces are great for forcing piano students to improve their rhythm. My composers' collective writes new music annually for young pianists, and some of those works are for four hands. We have several graded books of solos, but are supposed to have a four hands volume coming out soon.
 

Matched Gripper

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thank you all
An interesting method I’ve seen taught to very young piano students is clapping the rhythm and rubbing the hands together for the duration of longer notes so they can understand note values. I tried to find a video on YouTube but couldn’t find anything that included hand rubbing.
 

Hop

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Let's admit it: most music learners have rhythmic difficulties!!!! ....And again all helps are welcome and appreciated
I like to employ visual aids to help supplement learning tasks.
I made this one to help a learner, using blocks of color, to understand note durations in rhythms.

Note_Duration_Count.JPG


Some rhythms can be be difficult for begining drummers as the instrument is all about the attack (and little sustain). So I will coach to think in terms of a horn and 'sing' the value/note duration to gain appreciation of the note value.
 

Cann_Man28

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I would encourage you to get your students to sing the melodies. Humans have an innate sense of time when it's connected to a melody--that's a fact that everyone Gallileo to Alan Dawson knew. My guess is that they are simply focusing on learning to press the right buttons and they aren't focussing enough on making the right melody happen.

Teaching pitches without phrasing is not teaching melody. Phrasing happens most naturally when singing. These are my two cents from a pianist-turned-drummer.
 

dcrigger

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I think it is just the problem - as you stated - of the student having a lot of new stuff going on currently. And for most students - it's not all going to come together at the same time.

1. I'm with Todd in suggesting leaving the metronome out of it most of the time. Someone struggling to string the notes and the rhythms together in loose general sense has zero space to add trying to fit it over an inflexible grid. Plenty of time for that later.

2. I'm really iffy on word game mnemonics - most often they just seem like excuses to avoid learning to count. And eventually learning to count has to happen. But maybe for some students as a bridge/bandaid.

It really sounds like you are doing what you should be doing. It's just harder for some. My flute teacher ex had a student that spent the better part of a year cracking what for them was the impossible task of dividing a beat in half - playing 1/8th notes, heck even counting 1/8th notes - being able to transition from counting 1 2 3 4 to 1&2&3&4& without drastically changing tempo. IIRC there was no magic technique - just basic keep working on it.

As for drumming - I don't think we have any better techniques with teaching this. Our students appear to do better with rhythm because they don't anything else to focus on at first. No notes, no tone production issues, an extremely easy starting point technique-wise... "Hold this stick and strike that pad at the right time"... At first, rhythm is 99% of what we do...

Anyway - my main point is, it sounds like you're doing what there is to do. But kudos to you for searching for better ways. I think your students are probably lucky to have you.
 


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