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  #1  
Old 08-29-2017, 11:48 PM
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Default Time observations

If you guys would indulge me while I describe highlights of my inner time journeys...

So for the last 5 weeks or so my practice time has been completely devoted to time.

I set the metronome to 20 BPM, and try and bury the click...without subdividing, just my alternating hands on a snare drum. I will subdivide for a portion...it is easier to nail it more consistently. I go back and forth, mainly trying to not subdivide as to make it easier to clear my mind. Staring at something shiny directly in front of me seems to help too lol. A focal point to ground from or something.

The first week it kicked my ass all over the place and it seemed impossibly long between clicks. If I got it twice every 10 times...that was good. I would go for 20 clicks without getting it once most of the time for the first couple of weeks. It kicked my ass.

Now, in the last week, my perception is that it's not impossibly long between hits. In fact, it doesn't seem long at all now. 3 seconds go by alarmingly fast! My time perception changed. In the last week...I can nail it a lot...if my conscious mind doesn't creep in. For instance, if I bury it thrice in a row, I say to myself, "Hey, I'm getting it". Then the next few will be off lol. So I'm trying to not think those thoughts lol. It's really hard for me to clear my mind of chatter, then stay cleared. Really hard.

I want my time to be executed unconsciously. On autopilot.

I have to say, studying strict time....being able to play it just with sticks for now...light hits too...is a real adventure for me. It seems like uncharted territory to me, 20 bpm...and I have to make up my own rules that work for me to try and develop this very abstract concept of being completely even at impossibly slow tempos.

Which brings me to my next ob....My dominant side is more aligned with the click than my left side. I would have thought time was a global brain thing, but now I'm not sure. Does each half of the brain have it's own time center separate from the other half? Anyone? I really have no clue. That's just a theory. I'm just trying to make sense of what time means to me. What's going on on a physiological level...that info would help me make sense of how my brain processes time. Where is my time center? Is there just one? My goal is to have completely steady unassisted time. As far as I know, the only way to do that is to play to a metronome and figure it out for myself. Do they have classes for time?

As a side note, anyone who was familiar with my trials and tribulations of trying to play to a looper pedal live...I've been trying to do it now for probably 4 years at maybe 60 - 75% success rate...sometimes much worse lol. I wouldn't be off by much, but I was not completely on. But since I've been doing the 20 BPM thing, (about 5 weeks) honestly my success rate has gone way up to like 95% or better! I've gone whole nights without going off! That never happened before!

My reward for that is I have to play with that confounded looper pedal more and more lol. Hey, not complaining, I'll take it. It can only strengthen me.

Any comments on any portion of this novel are appreciated, and thanks for staying till the end lol.
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Old 08-30-2017, 12:10 AM
Push pull stroke Push pull stroke is offline
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Default Re: Time observations

The downside to developing better time is that you become way more aware of time problems in other people's playing. I spent a couple of months in college developing my time, to the point of being able to keep perfect time for several minutes without a metronome.
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Old 08-30-2017, 12:46 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

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The downside to developing better time is that you become way more aware of time problems in other people's playing. I spent a couple of months in college developing my time, to the point of being able to keep perfect time for several minutes without a metronome.
You notice it in popular music, too. The lack of perfect time isn't an issue unless you've been drilling it so hard!

Drill with a click for an hour then go listen to STP (one of my fav bands) and you'll see what I mean. Back in the dirty 90's we didn't put a huge premium on perfect time.
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Old 08-30-2017, 12:49 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

Admirable of you to take on such an exercise. But let me get this straight, you will sit and hit your snare with a L then R at 20 bpm?.... for tens of minutes?

Pure and unfettered dharma Larry .......you are the Buddha of time.
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Old 08-30-2017, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

Anything you can do to improve your timing is good.

However, practicing to 20 BPM seems tedious and unnecessary. Mainly because playing live at this tempo would be accomplished by thinking in a higher multiple tempo.
For instance counting it out in 80 BPM, hitting only on the 1.

Explain to me what you hear live on stage when you play along with the looper pedal. Do you hear a click?
Or are you just trying to keep tempo with the pre=recorded guitar playing?
I think that if a guitar player was using a looper live with you trying to keep tempo with it, then it would not sound good.
You would be playing “along” with the song instead of driving the band and the tempo like you should be doing.
Of course it might be that only another drummer would notice it.


.
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Old 08-30-2017, 01:04 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

Playing to a click is a necessary skill these days. And I can play to a click just fine....if it's in my cans. A looper live is hard to pick out because it's doing rhythm under a much louder lead, with the same general tone. Plus, I'm trying to listen from the side of his amp. Like trying to look at a candle next to the sun.

Granted my situation is a little extreme, playing with a looper live. I need to do this to satisfy myself, get my time sorted all the way.
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Old 08-30-2017, 01:13 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Playing to a click is a necessary skill these days. And I can play to a click just fine....if it's in my cans. A looper live is hard to pick out because it's doing rhythm under a much louder lead, with the same general tone. Plus, I'm trying to listen from the side of his amp. Like trying to look at a candle next to the sun.

Granted my situation is a little extreme, playing with a looper live. I need to do this to satisfy myself, get my time sorted all the way.
If you are playing live with a looper as you described, you are my hero.
Expecting you to do this and make good music is reeediculas !!!

.
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Old 08-30-2017, 01:17 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

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Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
Anything you can do to improve your timing is good.

However, practicing to 20 BPM seems tedious and unnecessary. Mainly because playing live at this tempo would be accomplished by thinking in a higher multiple tempo.
For instance counting it out in 80 BPM, hitting only on the 1.

Explain to me what you hear live on stage when you play along with the looper pedal. Do you hear a click?
Or are you just trying to keep tempo with the pre=recorded guitar playing?
I think that if a guitar player was using a looper live with you trying to keep tempo with it, then it would not sound good.
You would be playing “along” with the song instead of driving the band and the tempo like you should be doing.
Of course it might be that only another drummer would notice it.


.
Jim, the reason I do 20 BPM is...I feel that the longer I can go between beats, the better my time will be. This last week has proven that to me. The goal is to make it hard! It's working for me. I'm not stopping at 20, 10 is next.

Onstage, no click. The looper is a device that the guitarist uses to make his own rhythm guitar recordings, on the fly, so he can play his leads to a rhythm guitar. When it's time for his lead, he will make a rhythm guitar recording for 4 bars or whatever in the very front of his lead. Then the looper keeps repeating the 4 bars he just recorded. Then he plays his lead on top of that rhythm track. It sounds fuller obviously. We are a 3 piece usually. He knows how to use the looper, I'll give him that. I haven't practiced time since 2012. So I've been slacking there. And it sounds fine...when I'm on it. It's really no different than having another player, except I'm following not leading. That's where my problem lies, I can barely hear what I'm supposed to follow. Which is met with...it shouldn't matter, just keep time. And he's right...to an extent.
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Old 08-30-2017, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

The biggest hurdle I experience when playing to my ditto pedal isn't synch-ing for the 8 bars, it's the little hiccup in time that can occur at the end/beginning of each loop. If there isn't appropriate hinting coming early in the loop for me to align with, I'm screwed.

Being a better drummer only half fixes the problem for me. Being a better guitarist that's more accurate on the stomp would likely fix the other half.
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Old 08-30-2017, 01:47 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

Quote:
Which is met with...it shouldn't matter, just keep time. And he's right...to an extent.
Remember Larry, playing with a looper means assuming that the part was played perfectly as it was being recorded, which probably doesn't happen. Unless you record it and look/listen to it you will never know. If he is slightly off somewhere, you have been working hard to make corrections and making your brain work too hard



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Originally Posted by Push pull stroke View Post
to the point of being able to keep perfect time for several minutes without a metronome.

I'd pay money to witness that.

I'm not saying you are mistaken but I have become keenly aware of how difficult that is. I realize there are a huge number of people that are far far better than I am so there is certainly a chance of someone playing for several minutes, spot on.

I'm just saying, I'd really like to see it.

A few years ago I built a quick little file that would drop the click out for 1 then 2 then 3 then 4 measures etc. Even playing something simple at a comfortable tempo, being 100% honest with myself, I couldn't get past 4 measures at 100%. After 30 seconds, I'd be off, never to recover unless by luck.

Hell, even with a click I can see where I tend to drift around. It's rarely noticable in the recordings because it always quickly comes back home but I can certainly see it and I realize that my ability for perfection is no match for a machine.
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Old 08-30-2017, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post


Which brings me to my next ob....My dominant side is more aligned with the click than my left side. I would have thought time was a global brain thing, but now I'm not sure. Does each half of the brain have it's own time center separate from the other half? Anyone? I really have no clue. That's just a theory. I'm just trying to make sense of what time means to me. What's going on on a physiological level...that info would help me make sense of how my brain processes time. Where is my time center? Is there just one? My goal is to have completely steady unassisted time. As far as I know, the only way to do that is to play to a metronome and figure it out for myself. Do they have classes for time?
I think the brain is fairly asynchronous, and keeps time in different areas for different reasons. Couple examples are the left and right ears can tell subtle differences in delays to localize sounds. The suprchiasmatic nucleus expresses different genes throughout the day to synchronize circadian rhythms even ultradian rhythms spanning months or years.

Eventually you'll be able to sit in a dark room for 24 hours, and bury the click...

Maybe like once a year when the Equinox. You can even found a civilization that plays the note once a millennia. Some people may never even get to see the note played...
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Old 08-30-2017, 01:56 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

The dominant hand thing seems natural to me.

Your brain tells your body parts when to hit the drum and your doninant hand/foot is simply better adapted to implementing the action.
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Old 08-30-2017, 02:18 AM
Push pull stroke Push pull stroke is offline
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Default Re: Time observations

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I'd pay money to witness that.

I'm not saying you are mistaken but I have become keenly aware of how difficult that is. I realize there are a huge number of people that are far far better than I am so there is certainly a chance of someone playing for several minutes, spot on.

I'm just saying, I'd really like to see it.

A few years ago I built a quick little file that would drop the click out for 1 then 2 then 3 then 4 measures etc. Even playing something simple at a comfortable tempo, being 100% honest with myself, I couldn't get past 4 measures at 100%. After 30 seconds, I'd be off, never to recover unless by luck.

Hell, even with a click I can see where I tend to drift around. It's rarely noticable in the recordings because it always quickly comes back home but I can certainly see it and I realize that my ability for perfection is no match for a machine.
I guarantee that, not only can I myself do it, but that several pro drummers here can. I simply took a 2-3 minute piece of moderate difficulty, and recorded myself playing it, then played it back and kept a metronome going during playback. After 20-30 minutes daily of this for 2-3 months, I could keep perfect time with the metronome on playback with no trouble. It just takes time and patience.
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Old 08-30-2017, 02:21 AM
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Remember Larry, playing with a looper means assuming that the part was played perfectly as it was being recorded, which probably doesn't happen. Unless you record it and look/listen to it you will never know. If he is slightly off somewhere, you have been working hard to make corrections and making your brain work too hard






I'd pay money to witness that.

I'm not saying you are mistaken but I have become keenly aware of how difficult that is. I realize there are a huge number of people that are far far better than I am so there is certainly a chance of someone playing for several minutes, spot on.

I'm just saying, I'd really like to see it.

A few years ago I built a quick little file that would drop the click out for 1 then 2 then 3 then 4 measures etc. Even playing something simple at a comfortable tempo, being 100% honest with myself, I couldn't get past 4 measures at 100%. After 30 seconds, I'd be off, never to recover unless by luck.

Hell, even with a click I can see where I tend to drift around. It's rarely noticable in the recordings because it always quickly comes back home but I can certainly see it and I realize that my ability for perfection is no match for a machine.
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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
You notice it in popular music, too. The lack of perfect time isn't an issue unless you've been drilling it so hard!

Drill with a click for an hour then go listen to STP (one of my fav bands) and you'll see what I mean. Back in the dirty 90's we didn't put a huge premium on perfect time.
I assume time is better on the West Coast, on average. I hear playing with a click is an expected skill on a lot of gigs there.
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Old 08-30-2017, 02:36 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

Good job larry. Ain't easy! I posted a thread a while back where I was practising at 10 bpm. But I was playing subdivisions in the form of a swing beat between clicks.
I think you're better off counting subdivisions. You're in the zone now because you've been practising it regularly, but I'm not sure the brain will retain that ability as well as it does with faster tempos, because there's too much space between clicks at 20 bpm. It's too slow for the human brain to feel those spaces naturally whereas feeling subdivisions would probably give you a better shot at imprinting the tempo in your mind.
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Old 08-30-2017, 02:56 AM
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I assume time is better on the West Coast, on average. I hear playing with a click is an expected skill on a lot of gigs there.
Nah. Time is time, and musicians are musicians. In my experience, time is one of those things that you just have to let your body learn over the years. You can drill it and get close to "perfect", but the best players are the ones who can let a tune breathe in a natural way and the whole band just grooves. I only get that feeling when I'm playing with actual accomplished guys who've spent a lot of time behind their instruments. Basically everyone is always listening, and doing minor adjustments that influence the other players in kind. It's a whole band time keeping as opposed to following the drummer or click.

As for expected skill, it depends on the genre and the players. I'd say it's about 50/50 in my circles.
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Old 08-30-2017, 04:00 AM
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I think you're better off counting subdivisions............

because there's too much space between clicks at 20 bpm. It's too slow for the human brain to feel those spaces naturally whereas feeling subdivisions would probably give you a better shot at imprinting the tempo in your mind.
I agree that subdividing is easier. I'm over 95% accurate subdividing at 20 BPM. I use triplets because they would be 1 second per partial. I want to be able to duplicate 1 second without assistance.

I don't want to make it easier on myself...at practice. 3 seconds between beats is not too slow to feel those spaces naturally. I'm doing it fairly close in only 5 weeks time, straight away from the first few clicks. In the beginning, yea, most definitely. It took me a bit to wrap my head around it. But with some time spent, I can feel 3 seconds now. I think it's strengthening my time as evidenced in my recent successes with the looper.

On a gig, if I need to, I don't subdivide but I will count quarters. The tempos are fast enough to not have to subdivide.

At practice...I want to stretch my "time muscle" :)
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Old 08-30-2017, 04:10 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

Can you mic his amp and boost his feed to your head set? If he's a little quick or slow on the pedal you could adjust quickly.
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Old 08-30-2017, 04:30 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

I'm not an expert in the field, so only my opinion, but I'm not sure how one BPM transfers through practice to another, unless they are close. I'm not sure if playing at 20 will ever help playing at 120. Now off to do reserch on learning and rhythm.
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Old 08-30-2017, 04:57 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

So Larry are you trying to feel this slow tempo to increase your sense of time? I can count it and make it work but crap trying to just wing and feel it that slow. I'll have to try it-does seem like it will make you aware of "time". Some tempos are so natural and easy-a "time" frame we are accustomed but the slow ones are always a bugger-perhaps the slower can be just as natural.
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Old 08-30-2017, 05:53 AM
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Can you mic his amp and boost his feed to your head set? If he's a little quick or slow on the pedal you could adjust quickly.
I won't wear headphones on stage. I didn't sign up for that. In studio, of course. Not when I'm performing. He's really good at making loops on the fly. He's the only guitarist I know who practices to a metronome. I drop my volume a bit, stare at his amp (it seems to help me) and try and hear something...anything...even if I hear 20% of the loop that's usually enough for me to scrape by.

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I'm not sure if playing at 20 will ever help playing at 120. .
Oh it does for me in a huge way. If I can nail 3 seconds between beats, .5 second between beats (120BPM) is like falling off a log, nothing to it. Slow tempos are one of the keys to good time with me.

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So Larry are you trying to feel this slow tempo to increase your sense of time? I can count it and make it work but crap trying to just wing and feel it that slow. I'll have to try it-does seem like it will make you aware of "time". Some tempos are so natural and easy-a "time" frame we are accustomed but the slow ones are always a bugger-perhaps the slower can be just as natural.
Yea Art, I'm trying to increase my awareness of time passing. I'm trying to build a superpower. Like when I flam the click, I determine if I was ahead or behind. If I was behind the click, I have to gently hurry up a little to hit the next click on time. If I'm ahead of the click, I have to add a little extra time before my next hit. I believe that all these little mistakes are what actually improves my time...over time lol. Sometimes I will play consistently ahead at the same exact spot...Its a real challenge.

I started doing this exercise around 2011 at 40 BPM. At the time, I thought it was impossibly long between beats. Now 40 BPM is like a walk in the park.

I'm trying to make myself figure out how I can play with as perfect timing as I am capable of. It really is that important.
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Old 08-30-2017, 06:42 AM
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You have to subdivide. It doesn't make any sense not to - so I'm not sure what good it does you to try to be able to play 20 bpm without subdividing. I think I was lucky because when I started playing live a lot, MIDI was just coming in and having a drum machine somewhere in the vicinity always helped my time. I got so good at burying the click and/or the machine, well, you know.
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Old 08-30-2017, 07:54 AM
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I think I'm not being understood. I don't subdivide because it's harder. I want it to be harder. It will make my time stronger. It's really just that simple. It's only at practice! I can do whatever I want! NGOML!

:)
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Old 08-30-2017, 10:16 AM
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I think I'm not being understood. I don't subdivide because it's harder. I want it to be harder. It will make my time stronger. It's really just that simple. It's only at practice! I can do whatever I want! NGOML!

:)
OK - you can do whatever you want. I'm just saying I don't think it's necessary because it isn't something you're ever really going to do. When a band leader is setting a tempo, you're gonna lock in and subdivide so you can be solid. Even if he kicked a tune off at 20 bpm, you're still gonna subdivide it anyway. It wouldn't be smart not to, right?
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Old 08-30-2017, 02:03 PM
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I think I'm not being understood. I don't subdivide because it's harder. I want it to be harder. It will make my time stronger. It's really just that simple. It's only at practice! I can do whatever I want! NGOML!

:)
For what it's worth, I understand and agree with literally everything you are doing in your practice.
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Old 08-30-2017, 02:45 PM
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OK - you can do whatever you want. I'm just saying I don't think it's necessary because it isn't something you're ever really going to do. When a band leader is setting a tempo, you're gonna lock in and subdivide so you can be solid. Even if he kicked a tune off at 20 bpm, you're still gonna subdivide it anyway. It wouldn't be smart not to, right?
It's totally necessary for me. I'm not practicing to nail a 20 BPM song per se. But 20 BPM practice is helping my meter globally, no matter what the tempo. I already have proven that to myself. That's the big picture I'm shooting for.

Nailing 20 BPM...anything faster is much easier for me. I'm surprised that the value of this kind of discipline is getting lost here for some reason. When I'm performing...I don't want to subdivide. I will count quarters if I am having a hard time with the meter, but normally, I try and clear out the chatter in my mind, which includes subdividing and counting quarters.

If I am subdividing, I am not listening fully to the music, I am listening to my own thoughts more, which for me is not ideal. Getting beyond my own headspace is my goal, not to be trapped in my mind. Subdividing smaller than the quarter note is unnecessary to me at normal tempos. Because of my slow practice. Bo you should try it. It's a pretty tough thing to do, 20 BPM.

I appreciate your comments though. It gives me a different perspective and makes me think about why I'm doing this.
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Old 08-30-2017, 04:25 PM
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As someone who has tried doing this after learning the concept/practice from Larry, I can say that it has helped my time quite a bit. I started doing it at 40 bpm and I'm currently at 30. The biggest challenge for me is to not subdivide and just listen and feel. For me, it engenders a meditative state with a quiet mind and relaxed nervous system. And as Larry mentioned, it equips me with a good amount of "headroom" that makes it easier to maintain faster tempos where there is less space to manage between quarter note pulses.

I think subdividing is a very useful thing, it's just that this particular exercise isn't about that. It's about training yourself to be able to hear big gaps of space, one big gap at a time.
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Old 08-30-2017, 05:17 PM
Matt Bo Eder
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Default Re: Time observations

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
It's totally necessary for me. I'm not practicing to nail a 20 BPM song per se. But 20 BPM practice is helping my meter globally, no matter what the tempo. I already have proven that to myself. That's the big picture I'm shooting for.

Nailing 20 BPM...anything faster is much easier for me. I'm surprised that the value of this kind of discipline is getting lost here for some reason. When I'm performing...I don't want to subdivide. I will count quarters if I am having a hard time with the meter, but normally, I try and clear out the chatter in my mind, which includes subdividing and counting quarters.

If I am subdividing, I am not listening fully to the music, I am listening to my own thoughts more, which for me is not ideal. Getting beyond my own headspace is my goal, not to be trapped in my mind. Subdividing smaller than the quarter note is unnecessary to me at normal tempos. Because of my slow practice. Bo you should try it. It's a pretty tough thing to do, 20 BPM.

I appreciate your comments though. It gives me a different perspective and makes me think about why I'm doing this.
What makes you think I can't nail slow tempos?
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  #29  
Old 08-30-2017, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: Time observations

I practice the same way—quarter notes, alternating left and right hands—except I've only gone down to 40 bpm, not 20 (yet).

I don't subdivide beyond the quarter notes with my hands, but I do "hear" a busy pattern in my head that helps me lock in with the click. Is that what you mean by subdividing, what you're doing in your head? Because I don't think I could do it without that, and I'm not sure why I'd want to try.

One thing I've found adds difficulty to this is varying dynamics with each stroke. So I create patterns that require both hands to play a mix of soft taps and loud accents, or do it randomly so you get combinations of playing accents followed by taps or vice versa between both hands. This is a challenge because you need to start an accent stroke slightly sooner than a tap in order to bury the click to allow for the extra distance the stick travels. This teaches you the muscle memory needed to do that without thinking. It's surprising how much the change in dynamics can throw this off. And learning this skill is hugely applicable to real-world playing situations, imo.
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  #30  
Old 08-30-2017, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: Time observations

I don't think sub-dividing would make it easier at all. With 3 seconds between beats, it would not be easy to play say triplets at one per second and hit the click exactly.
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  #31  
Old 08-30-2017, 08:08 PM
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Default Re: Time observations

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Originally Posted by spleeeeen View Post
As someone who has tried doing this after learning the concept/practice from Larry, I can say that it has helped my time quite a bit. I started doing it at 40 bpm and I'm currently at 30. The biggest challenge for me is to not subdivide and just listen and feel. For me, it engenders a meditative state with a quiet mind and relaxed nervous system. And as Larry mentioned, it equips me with a good amount of "headroom" that makes it easier to maintain faster tempos where there is less space to manage between quarter note pulses.

I think subdividing is a very useful thing, it's just that this particular exercise isn't about that. It's about training yourself to be able to hear big gaps of space, one big gap at a time.
This. I, too, started the 'slow practice' routine when I read Larry suggesting it. The difference it's made in my time and groove is palpable.

I don't even go super slow - I'm really only to where I can accurately play 50bpm; any slower and I lose the pulse before too long. But for the practical application (as questioned by many of the posters above), though the bands I participate in rarely play anything below 100bpm, having to work on my time perception on slower tempos has only solidified my regular playing. It's like playing with mental hand-weights - the super-slow tempos make my 'time muscles' work that much harder, so when I'm going at 100bpm, it's a relative breeze.

I'm still working on it - admittedly nowhere near as frequently as I should. But the little bit of work I've done with the slow tempo practice has yielded results, and it just sounds like Larry's going with more and more extreme examples in the quest to ingrain a deeper and deeper feel for time. Can't see how that could possibly be anything but beneficial.

And to add to what some have already alluded to - I know my sense of time is improving because I'm hearing more and more inconsistencies in my own playing! It's a frustrating learning curve - the better I get, the more I recognize how much I suck. Oh, to be nineteen and stupid again...

Where it becomes a practical liability is when it comes to my bands. I recently did a low-budget recording with one of them, and listening to the playbacks, I was agonizing about fluctuations in tempo, lagging beats, coming in too fast/slow on the '1'...and they all looked at me like I was crazy. They emphatically assured me it was all in my head - and I'd love to believe that, but the truth is that it only showed that my sense of time has become more refined than my bandmates'. What they heard as solid time stuck out to me as flawed - but we only had so much time to work with, so I had to let it go and trust them. (Listening to the recordings now, sometimes I think they were right...and sometimes I think they were wrong. This whole concept of timekeeping is a real rabbit-hole...)
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Old 08-30-2017, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: Time observations

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Where it becomes a practical liability is when it comes to my bands. I recently did a low-budget recording with one of them, and listening to the playbacks, I was agonizing about fluctuations in tempo, lagging beats, coming in too fast/slow on the '1'...and they all looked at me like I was crazy. They emphatically assured me it was all in my head - and I'd love to believe that, but the truth is that it only showed that my sense of time has become more refined than my bandmates'. What they heard as solid time stuck out to me as flawed - but we only had so much time to work with, so I had to let it go and trust them. (Listening to the recordings now, sometimes I think they were right...and sometimes I think they were wrong. This whole concept of timekeeping is a real rabbit-hole...)
I've been there, too. I've had some success getting bandmates to hear these things so they don't think I'm being crazy or overly-retentive. Putting things on a grid for visual evidence can help. But some musicians suddenly become aware of their own imperfections and wind up becoming defensive about it. That's not good.

I think this exercise really is worthwhile. It will make your time better.
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  #33  
Old 08-30-2017, 08:48 PM
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Default Re: Time observations

Just to be clear. I think practicing at low tempos is a very important thing to do.
20 BPM is a little bit extreme, but if it helps you be a better drummer then go for it.
Playing live with a band at 40 BPM and keeping everyone on tempo is a difficult thing to do.
It's like herding cats. Especially if the musicians are not really good players.


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  #34  
Old 08-30-2017, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: Time observations

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Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
I've been there, too. I've had some success getting bandmates to hear these things so they don't think I'm being crazy or overly-retentive. Putting things on a grid for visual evidence can help. But some musicians suddenly become aware of their own imperfections and wind up becoming defensive about it. That's not good.

I think this exercise really is worthwhile. It will make your time better.
My question is, how far do I go in fighting for the 'perfect' take? Given limited time and resources, we obviously have to stop at some point. While I'm very accepting of the fact that I may NEVER get that magic take - the one I'm absolutely thrilled with - I will fight to get as close as I can.

But if the rest of the band thinks it sounds great, should I continue to resist? Am I hearing things that the average listener would never even notice - or, if they did, simply wouldn't care? Dr. Watso brings up the inconsistencies of a band like STP - certainly didn't hurt them a bit, and they came up with some awesome slices of music.

My heroes include Mitch Mitchell and Keith Moon - two drummers who almost NEVER produced a technically-perfect take. But the music is inspiring, ascendant, powerful - so does it matter?

Of course, that's music from the 60's - and as Dr. Watso noted, there's a looseness to the music of yesteryear that simply can't be tolerated in this digitally-perfect age. So that brings up another question: is digitally-perfect time now an integral element of today's music aesthetic? If the Stooges or Hendrix came out today, could their sound possibly be the same?

Now here I am going down another rabbit hole...sorry about that 8mile.
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  #35  
Old 08-30-2017, 10:13 PM
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Default Re: Time observations

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Originally Posted by Matt Bo Eder View Post
What makes you think I can't nail slow tempos?
I never said that. I know you can nail slow tempos. You're a great player, everyone knows that. I'll bet money you can't do 20 BPM alternating hits straight away though. That's what I was suggesting to try. Hey if you can, great, but it was so hard for me. It's much easier now. But I still have much work to do to work my bugs out and ingrain it permanently.

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I don't think sub-dividing would make it easier at all. With 3 seconds between beats, it would not be easy to play say triplets at one per second and hit the click exactly.
Subdividing makes it way easier for me...at that tempo. I have a "triplet grid" in my head I can stick to. Or straight 16th's. Even 8ths are twice as easy as quarters at 20. I can nail it much easier if I subdivide as compared to not subdividing. I bet you would too.
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Old 08-30-2017, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: Time observations

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Originally Posted by Push pull stroke View Post
I assume time is better on the West Coast, on average. I hear playing with a click is an expected skill on a lot of gigs there.
Time on the East coast is always behind :)


Quote:
Playing live with a band at 40 BPM and keeping everyone on tempo is a difficult thing to do.
Hell, keeping them at 75 is tough. Speeding up a band seems way easier than slowing them down.
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  #37  
Old 08-31-2017, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

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Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post

One thing I've found adds difficulty to this is varying dynamics with each stroke. So I create patterns that require both hands to play a mix of soft taps and loud accents, or do it randomly so you get combinations of playing accents followed by taps or vice versa between both hands. This is a challenge because you need to start an accent stroke slightly sooner than a tap in order to bury the click to allow for the extra distance the stick travels. This teaches you the muscle memory needed to do that without thinking. It's surprising how much the change in dynamics can throw this off. And learning this skill is hugely applicable to real-world playing situations, imo.
Oh, definitely. Definitely. Absolutely .
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  #38  
Old 08-31-2017, 01:44 AM
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So to follow his logic, he can switch his looper volume off for two minutes, switch it on again, & his playing will still be perfectly in sync - yeah right - I'm calling BS on that.
Me too. But I don't go there. There's no good that can come of that. I don't do pissing contests. I look on the looper thing as a personal challenge. It doesn't matter if everyone else doesn't have perfect time, I need it the most. That's my view on it. One way or another, I'm not going to let this looper thing beat me. I'm already gaining ground on it. It's been 4 years I've been crying about this, and I'm sick of it already. I just want to beat this so I can move on to the next thing.
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  #39  
Old 08-31-2017, 03:23 AM
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Default Re: Time observations

Keep in mind that it takes two. If he is a split second off with his foot switch (very likely) you will need to hear it to make the adjustments.

I would record a performance and check the tempo and see how closley it maintains as it loops. It's not necessarily you.

If you don't want headphones or in ears, get a small monitor hooked to his amp so you can hear his guitar.

Last edited by New Tricks; 08-31-2017 at 09:01 PM.
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  #40  
Old 09-06-2017, 12:53 AM
SmoothOperator SmoothOperator is offline
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Default Re: Time observations

Just curious how do keep from accidentally sub dividing. Controlled breathing? Heart stopping like those biathlon sharpshooters, no blinking etc.

Also why not play an ocean drum, zen bowl, or didjiridoo? Might be more productive. Remember, you need to be able to give the same intensity and drive the music even at slow tempo.
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