My sense of time and accuracy sucks. How to practice?

BillBachman

Gold Member
To the OP: I think you're on the right track to fix your issues. I'd say the biggest thing is to (almost) always play with a click or music and to record yourself. Your time listening back and analyzing your playing is pretty much more important than your time playing. Feel free to noodle with a click as well in different time feels & tempos, as you experiment with patterns/grooves/fills feel free to rep little bits over and over until you get them to sit comfortable consistently.

And food for thought: if you're turning the met to silent during the fills then you're not learning to relate the rhythms in the fills to the pulse--I'd say that's the most important thing you can do to help your timing through fills. (And singing the quarter note out loud through the whole thing is also a great thing to practice to prove that you're comfortable with the aforementioned task.)

The whole thing ultimately involves recalibrating your 1st person sense of timing such that it's true to the 3rd person desired result. (What feels right in the moment as you play doesn't always end up sounding the way you wanted it to or felt it in the moment.) Reps with a met to retrain your perception and studying the recorded result will be the ticket.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Putting the click on the upbeat has really helped me lately. It's tough in the beginning but I seem to always nail the 1, but the rest of the measure was off. Now I have to focus on the other notes being tight.

I haven't moved to the e's or a's yet as I think I have a LOONG road of upbeats (or the ands) ahead of me.


Keeping time with the hats on the down and upbeats helps too.
 

ValboWorship

Junior Member
The Beatnik is really helpful, I've managed to get up to 70% on the expert level on accented single strokes at 30 bpm and the whole process has made me acutely more aware of time so that it's easier for me to hear how I'm doing with the microtiming on the kit too.

Daniel Glass and his "throw up" exercise and Jojo Mayer's DVD also helped since I find it a lot easier to be consistent when I relate the wind up to a subdivision.

I really wish I had something like the Beatnik for my foot pedal pad as well. I guess I could duct tape something together, but hardly optimal with the interface facing your shin. Recording and looking at waveforms or recording over programmed drums for now to work on kick timing.

This really is a rabbit hole, but hopefully this will lead to me some day being able to play a basic rock beat without sounding like a train wreck.
 

westerlu77

Junior Member
Hello! I also try to improve my accuracy when it comes to time, especially 2 and 4 on snare. It is for sure hard sometimes to not rush in fills especially in to new sections I think.
A tip from me is to also practice this lower tempos 35-60 bpm in various dynamics. In lower dynamic it requires even more attention to the click. Thanks for a interesting thread by the way!
 

tfgretsch

Junior Member
Totally agree with the click and 35BPM suggestions.

Something else to consider while you're working through your time issues:

1 - pinpoint exactly where it happens. You've already started this by identifying your issue with fills. But I urge you to dig deeper. EXACTLY where? And EXACTLY how? Do you start fine and gradually pull away? Or do you jump the very first note of the fill? Where else do you have time issues and what exactly happens in those spots?


2 - after you've pinpointed the trouble spots, video yourself and watch very closely what you do physically. You may find that it is a physical error, not a mental error. (Or rather, the mental error is manifested physically...)

As drummers, sometimes we overlook the mechanics when we are assessing a timing issue. Athletes have timing issues and it's usually a mechanical flaw that causes them. Not always the case for us, but I've found it to be the case with drummers more often than we think.
good points
 

tfgretsch

Junior Member
FWIW, I am finding out that my own inner peace really helps with time. In other words, If I am anxious, nervous, feeling not centered....that messes with my time.
So I try and really relax myself, and get that feeling that Jason described, being calm, present, grounded and connected. (great stuff Jason!) The weather in my head should be sunny and calm for me to play my best. No outside distractions to prevent me from centering myself. Being in a state of mild meditation beats being uptight about something, as far as my time feel goes.

Also, I try and shut off my conscious mind. Don't think. Feel. It's hard to empty your mind, but it's oh so effective.

The more I think or worry about my time while I play, the worse it gets. That's a definite enemy, fretting about whether my time is right or not.

That only happens when I am called out on something. Trying to not let it affect me is the challenge presently, and I am making progress.

Being centered myself is the best thing I can do for my time, after studying with a click of course.
great info
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Well, it will always be an ongoing thing and it's a lot about focus and understanding.

It's not necessarily one thing as the styles and feels you're going for present different challenges.

The simple answer is to make it a priority. That is don't work on new chops, licks and concepts, but prefect what you know from this perspective.

Yes, Benny goes through a lot of ideas in his latest DVD.

Really knowing stuff, sing and clap, move the click around, record yourself to make yourself aware of your general tendencies sum up most of it.

Sometimes a certain movement or lenght of movement is useful. That's not beginner stuff. The pros use that trick all the time.
 
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