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#1 kiminca

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 01:00 PM

I have been learning the concertina now for a year, and can play an assortment of tunes. However, I'm now playing in front of other musicians and find that I am always off time. I have tried the metronome (I get distracted), and toe tapping (I adjust), but I still syncopate, or end a half a beat late. :blink:

What advice do you give me?

Edited by kiminca, 21 February 2005 - 01:06 PM.


#2 Tom Lawrence

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 01:05 PM

Another thought: how about practicing along with a CD that has the tune you're playing. Might be less distracting than the metronome since it relates directly to what you're doing. If it's too fast, try slowdowning it a bit with some software -- they should preserve the rhythm.

#3 Jeff Stallard

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 01:43 PM

You're not going to like this, but...suck it up and get used to the metronome. Get a mechanical metronome though, so you can focus visually on it (in your peripheral vision) rather than trying to focus aurally.

#4 John Wild

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 06:33 PM

Keeping regular time (or failing to do so) has been one of my long term problems. I think I am better now but it is still a recurring difficulty. For a long time I found the ticking of the metronome prevented me concentrating on the notes I had to play. The way I learned to deal with this is to run the metronome while going through the tune in my head and reading the music if I am working from a sheet. Then after a few runs through the tune, I switch off the metronome and try to play keeping the same rhythm in my head.

Another method to improve your timing in sessions is to listen to the tune first time through 'playing it' mentally and try to come in second time through. Of course, if it is a session where the general tempo is really fast, that has its own set of difficulties.

- John Wild

#5 Michael Reid

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 09:30 PM

Get a mechanical metronome though, so you can focus visually on it (in your peripheral vision) rather than trying to focus aurally.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Visual cues are available from electronic metronomes, too. I have one that has an LCD "ball" that jumps from one side of the display to the other, and another one with a flashing red light. Either one can be operated with the audio cue turned off.

[edited for typo]

Edited by Michael Reid, 22 February 2005 - 12:24 AM.


#6 Mark Evans

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 12:05 AM

I like the suggestion of playing with a CD. It's like a metronome but at least for me it's connected to music.

Are nerves involved in this at all? They are for me and can really get me tight, forgetting tunes and dropping a beat or two. Then I worry about what I just messed up and MESS UP AGAIN! Maybe for you too? Deep breath, start again when the A part comes back 'round and don't look back.

Also, let yourself ride on top of the beat the "backers" set up for you. It's like a wave. Or you can see it as the foundation of what the lead instruments are building on. Stay within the support they put under you and the other lead instruments. I know that sounds granola or new age la la, but it works.

Do your work with the CD or metronome at home and then at the session let go and trust yourself. From your profile it suggests you also dance. Let that concertina dance in your hands and have fun mistakes or no ;) .

#7 Jim Besser

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 07:00 AM

I have been learning the concertina now for  a year, and can play an assortment of tunes.  However, I'm now playing in front of other musicians and find that I am always off time.  I have tried the metronome (I get distracted), and toe tapping (I adjust), but I still syncopate, or end a half a beat late.    :blink:

What advice do you give me?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


For me, being "late" is usually a function of not knowing the tune well enough; there's a brief mind-finger disconnect as you try to remember what you're supposed to do next. When playing music I don't really know in a group, I strip it down as much as possible, then add notes back in as I get comfortable with the tune.

Timing is also a problem when I'm nervous -- I tend to be a little AHEAD in that case. It's an interesting exercise to divide your focus -- on what you're playing, but also listening very carefully and steadily to the other musicians.

Playing along with CDs is always a big part of my practice. On tough tunes, I use the slower downer and gradually increase speed. Practicing with a metronome is useful and sometimes very revealing. There's a Morris tune I play for our dancers that was a persistent source of trouble for me until I started practicing on a metronome and realized that I was playing the B part way too fast. It was one of those tunes with a notey A part, a sparse B, and my ear told me I was holding a steady beat but the machine told me I was wrong.

Edited by Jim Besser, 22 February 2005 - 07:01 AM.


#8 Jeff Stallard

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 09:50 AM

The goal, of course, is to get to the point where you don't need any tools to keep rhythm. Back when I was learning to play drums, I'd listen to a song and tap out the downbeat. Then I'd turn down the music and continue to tap the downbeat. After a period of time, I'd turn the volume back up and see how accurate I was. The better you get, the longer you can leave the volume down and still be right.

Basically you should learn to be a drummer. Tap out beats while listening to music in the car. Tap out the beat when you're waiting in the doctor's office. Get to where you can tap to a song while focusing on something else, like a book, or a conversation. There are no shortcuts unfortunately.

#9 richard

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 11:19 AM

Hello

This aspect of making music is always a work in progress. I think I am slowly improving in this area. I have no confusion that without solid dependable rhythm throughout the entire tune, and within each measure, I am only approaching the appearance of music.

I use a metronome in spurts. When I get tired of it I put it away for awhile.

I am trying to teach myself to tap my foot more consistently and accurately. That is a long term project that I allow myself to learn over time.

I do appreciate the visual element of keeping rhythm. Have you ever been playing when people are walking by? It is a great way to cue to a steady beat.

I just ordered a "lord of the dance" DVD. My theory is to turn off the sound and watch the dancers as I play. I don't even know what music is played on that, or if the danceing will work for me. I am taking a chance. But I think this will be a good tool.

Good Luck,

Richard

#10 kiminca

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 12:52 PM

Thanks for the advice. I do like the idea of using a cd, and I have tried it but the music is too fast. Tom, you mentioned software to slow it down. I don't think my music player on my computer has that capability. What software do people use to do this?

Jeff, You are not the first person who has told me to suck it up and use the metronome :D I continue to practice with it even though it frustrates me. I also continue to tap out time whenever I hear music. As a dancer, I find that the steady beat is what makes dancing easy, which is why timing is important for me to learn. When I'm on the sidelines of dancing I have been watching the dancers feet when they step to the beat.

As far as nerves go, I always play pretty bad around other musicians, but I am slowly overcoming this. I have been working on playing with the sound of other instruments playing. This takes me back to the CD idea.

#11 Greg Jowaisas

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 08:53 PM

Kim,
One of the most often recommended computer software programs is the Amazing Slow Downer. There are several threads on this that you could use the search feature and find. Several other programs are mentioned and opinions given. You can google Amazing Slow Downer (ASD) and get the details.

The ASD program lets you slow down (and speed up) a regular music cd when played in your computer's cd rom port. The pitch does not change! You can also adjust the pitch if you'd like. Sometimes that is necessary to match your instrument. You can pick out a segment of the tune and loop it so that it plays over and over. Great practice on those difficult runs! It is indeed "amazing" and well worth the download charge of $40. many times over!

Regards,

Greg

#12 David Barnert

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 10:35 PM

Here's a suggestion.

Start going to contradances. Learn to move with the beat and get so into it that you can't walk without hearing a tune (as has been the case with me since 1977).

Then turn it around so that playing is like dancing. The need to dance a regular beat will force the rhythm of your playing. It will be in your bones.

#13 Theo

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Posted 23 February 2005 - 05:42 AM

Thanks for the advice.  I do like the idea of using a cd, and I have tried it but the music is too fast.  Tom, you mentioned software to slow it down.  I don't think my music player on my computer has that capability.  What software do people use to do this?

As far as nerves go, I always play pretty bad around other musicians, but I am slowly overcoming this.  I have been working on playing with the sound of other instruments playing.  This takes me back to the CD idea.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You could try the Folkworks Session Collection by David Oliver. It is a CD designed to help with your exact situation. All the tunes on it are played at "dance speed" and also at "learning speed" notation is provided too. It does not have the "slow down" ability make fine adjustments to the speed, but on the other hand, it will work on any CD player.

Contact:

David Oliver
Folkworks Programme Leader
(Learning and Participation)
The Sage Gateshead
www.thesagegateshead.org
direct: 0191 443 4581
switchboard: 0191 443 4666
box office: 0870 703 4555
www.thesagegateshead.org
The Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead, NE8
2JR


Theo Gibb

#14 spindizzy

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Posted 23 February 2005 - 07:49 AM

You could try the Folkworks Session Collection by David Oliver.  It is a CD designed to help with your exact situation.  All the tunes on  it are played at "dance speed" and also at "learning speed"

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


These CDs are very good (There are 3 now, I think). We go to a Slow Session for beginners and the CDs and dots are used as the basis for a lot of the work. Excellent wide ranging selection of tunes too.

Chris J.

#15 Alan Day

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Posted 23 February 2005 - 09:49 AM

Kim you are in good company.
I used to play in a band or in session with probably the Worlds finest Hurdy Gurdy player.This instrument has a Trompette ,a floating bridge which if the player jerks the handle creates a buzzing sound, which is the percussion of the instrument.If this player was playing without this percussion, no problems, it was when he introduced it that his timing went haywire.The poor dancers could not keep up with the new speed and no matter how much we tried to tell him he just carried on in his own Hurdy Gurdy World. Shortly after this he obtained an entry into a musical college and they knocked it out of him.
Dave Prebble often relates the story, on this site, of a drummer, who so annoyed him at a Morris meeting speeding up the music that he threw him over a bridge into the Manchester Ship Canal and then realised he could not swim and had to dive in and save him.In so doing kicked his Jeffries Anglo into the water and spent the next hour diving down for it.It still plays now but does do the odd gurgle.
There is a moral to this story but I cannot be bothered to find it.
Al

#16 kiminca

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Posted 12 March 2005 - 01:25 PM

Thanks again for all the advice. I have downloaded the Amazing Slow Downer. This thing is great. It is just the thing I was looking for. I can now hear what I have been doing wrong (Oooh, that was an 'eight' note). While this is helping me with my timing problems, I also found is very easy to learn a couple of new tunes.

Of course, I will continue to use the metronome and play when I can with fellow dance musicians.

Happy squeezing to all,
Kim (in CA)

#17 Lyle

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 02:54 PM

I'm finding the Peterson BodyBeat metronome is promising.
See: http://www.petersont...fm?category=132

The vibrating clip gives you a sensation of the beat, and another pathway to the brain. For me, it seems to work better than the standard metronome, and I'm not trying to keep two sounds in synch.

Can subdivide the bar with strong & weak beats. Not too big, slips into my outer case. Available via Amazon, all the online music stores, etc.

...Lyle

#18 hjcjones

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 02:21 PM

Playing in sessions is really good practice for playing in time. Sit on the edge of the session and play quietly (not always easy with a concertina). Don't worry about playing all the notes, but concentrate on playing the "strong" notes in the tune and keeping up with the others. As you get more confident you'll be able to fill in more notes until you find you're playing the whole tune.

A common problem with novices is that they struggle to fit all the notes in, and this holds up their playing. I actually think its more important to keep the pace and rhythm going than trying to play all the notes. At a more advanced level, you find players struggling to add ornamentation which holds up the tune. Concentrate on getting the basics right, and you can add in more as your level of ability increases.



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