Kids and Counting

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
I've wonder about this for so long and may have asked this before but what is it with kids and counting out loud. I have had many students over the years who just will not count, they "feel stupid" or say it is "just too difficult to play and count." "Hey kid you're doing quarter notes, count them!!" But I've had kids as old as 13 who start to cry when I ask them to count. The funny thing is that often I ask them to count because they are playing wrong and then they say when I count out loud I play it wrong. I tell them when they count out load they realize they are playing it wrong. Separate from taking out a chart and saying get through this without counting. what is it with kids and counting and what techniques can teachers use to get them over their hang up about "feeling stupid."
 

bryanmurr

Senior Member
Kids are Kids.....Hahahaha..... My son is 9 and sometimes he will scream the count out loud. Other days i will see his lips moving. And somedays he just will not count anything. I think what happens is they get overwhelmed at all that is going on. Like reading and moving their hands and counting. They are still learning to walk and chew gum. What i do with him is i let him read the passage first. Then i have him count the passage without playing. Then he plays the passage. Sometimes this helps.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
You are right that they are realizing their mistakes (or unevenness) as they count aloud, instead of making the task more difficult, but their intellect is telling them that you have added another task to an already difficult task, which seems unfair (of course it's not). First, you need to sincerely empathize with them, because it is a reasonable thought. After that, students differ in what motivates them, so you need to find an approach that matches their personality. I've given the following reasons:

1. Because I'm your teacher and you need to trust me.
2. Because counting aloud will accelerate the learning process, and you'll be able to play more difficult material in less time.
3. Because counting aloud will refine your sense of timing, and other musicians enjoy playing with a drummer who doesn't slow down or speed up.
4. What's more embarrassing, playing poorly or counting aloud?

But mostly, students complain because counting aloud reveals how much they haven't practiced. It's a test that they're failing, and they know it. And they also know that if they complain enough, you'll capitulate, just like their parents and teachers. Go easy on the kids, of course, but stand your ground on the issue!
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
Y
3. Because counting aloud will refine your sense of timing, and other musicians enjoy playing with a drummer who doesn't slow down or speed up.
!
I never understood how counting out loud will keep me from speeding up. I can speed up my counting when I'm playing, Neither rain, sleet, snow, metronome, or counting out loud will keep me from my long unintentional accelerando.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
But mostly, students complain because counting aloud reveals how much they haven't practiced. It's a test that they're failing, and they know it. And they also know that if they complain enough, you'll capitulate, just like their parents and teachers. Go easy on the kids, of course, but stand your ground on the issue!
I guess the point that broke the camel's back was the other day when I was teaching a kid something in three and he was having trouble. He got through it but I just wanted him to count with me, 1-2-3. He put his foot in the sand. I didn't give up and he turned on the water works. There are other issues so I am not going to strong arm him at this time. But I am going to have to sit him down and have a good man to man talk with him. I've been doing this long enough to know that the kids who don't count end up hitting a brick wall. and my students who are serious will know that when I ask them why they made a mistake, the answer is that they were not counting. But you're right, I wont capitulate that is until the crying starts.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I never understood how counting out loud will keep me from speeding up. I can speed up my counting when I'm playing, Neither rain, sleet, snow, metronome, or counting out loud will keep me from my long unintentional accelerando.
Well, you still have to focus on being steady, of course! If you're trying to be steady, and counting aloud, you'll get there. Also, we're talking pretty big fluctuations in tempo, often up and down within the same measure (every hear someone rush from the 4 to the 1, and then slow back down?).

I will maintain that, compared to using a metronome alone, counting aloud with the metronome will refine your timing in a faster, more efficient, and more thorough way. Not overnight, but it will happen, for EVERYBODY! :) Even patients with cerebral cortex damage can usually keep time, because the areas associated with beat detection are buried in pretty far.

Check this out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycfxKqfsgBM&feature=related
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
Well I would say that counting is not so much for tempo as it is to understand the relation between the notes you are playing and the pulse.
 
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