Need help improving rhythm

GrittyGroover

Junior Member
So I have been taking lessons for about 3 weeks now, and my instructor has pointed out to me that I tend to start out playing on time/pace with the song, but then I speed up my playing/rhythm as the song progresses. He told me to practice with a metronome, which I have been doing, but I was wondering if you guys had any other techniques to help me out.
Thanks!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Congrats on having a teacher and wanting to improve your rhythm. Only a metronome can demonstrate what perfect meter sounds like. There are no short cuts. You have to just put in hours with the metronome, preferably on the kit. You have to develop your own personal sense of even meter, which is really the ability to hold a given tempo rock friggin steady for as long as you want. You have to be able to do that without a metronome. It's not easy! Some people are born with great meter. I wasn't. I had to work it all out. It just takes hours spent, and diligent practice. When you have over a hundred quality hours on the metronome, you should start to have a good grasp on things. Good rhythm requires the ability to subdivide (and execute) evenly to a metronome.
 

Brian

Gold Member
One thing I would suggest is improving control and dexterity. If you don't have those (or lack), if you can think time you still won't play it.

I am assuming you are already recording yourself with bands or play-alongs and listening, outside of the lessons?
 

GrittyGroover

Junior Member
Congrats on having a teacher and wanting to improve your rhythm. Only a metronome can demonstrate what perfect meter sounds like. There are no short cuts. You have to just put in hours with the metronome, preferably on the kit. You have to develop your own personal sense of even meter, which is really the ability to hold a given tempo rock friggin steady for as long as you want. You have to be able to do that without a metronome. It's not easy! Some people are born with great meter. I wasn't. I had to work it all out. It just takes hours spent, and diligent practice. When you have over a hundred quality hours on the metronome, you should start to have a good grasp on things. Good rhythm requires the ability to subdivide (and execute) evenly to a metronome.
I really appreciate your advice! Thank you!
 

GrittyGroover

Junior Member
One thing I would suggest is improving control and dexterity. If you don't have those (or lack), if you can think time you still won't play it.

I am assuming you are already recording yourself with bands or play-alongs and listening, outside of the lessons?
Yes I record myself playing every so often, I mainly use it to see where I go wrong while playing.
 

12x7

Senior Member
Listen to the song. Play with it, not over it. Feel the tempo. Playing with a metronome is pretty boring for a beginner.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
That you practice with a metronome is good, but WHAT and HOW you practice matters a great deal.

Get some simple snare exercises and a pad; don't worry about the whole kit just yet. Set the metronome, and count out loud as you play.

That last part is very important.

Count out loud. OUT LOUD!!! :)

Seriously, using your sense of speech will hone your sense of time and rhythm. Then, of course, practice without counting. But count out loud. Often.

Then, count simple bass and snare drum patterns as you play them (simple rock beat stuff). Add the hi-hat/ride part after you are comfortable counting WHILE playing the rest of it. When you are comfortable with quarters, 8ths, and 16ths (and their rests and dotted values), you should be in good shape.

Also, play along to songs. If the drum part is complicated, simplify it so that you can practice playing "in the groove" for long periods of time (a full minute or two at least). You might just play quarter notes on the kick at first, or just 8ths on the hi-hat, or just a simple kick/snare pattern. Learn to follow, before you attempt to lead.
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
Listen to the song. Play with it, not over it. Feel the tempo. Playing with a metronome is pretty boring for a beginner.
Yep, listening is key. Metronome practice might be boring, but in most cases it's also the most effective, shortest path to understanding what steady timing is about.
 

Piebe

Senior Member
Very nice that you are picking up drumming! It is both a rewarding and frustrating journey like every musical instrument one is picking up i guess.

Playing with a metronome is a bit boring, why not drum to a hip-hop or a dance track? They are made with sequencers and are equal to metronomes.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
The only problem with playing to a pre-recorded track - even if it is sequenced - is that sometimes with other percussion, you can easily fool yourself into thinking you're in time. There is value in playing along to pre-recorded music but I've learned the hard way that a metronome really is the only tool that will (with enough practice) guarantee you are on time.

Essentially, if you can hear the metronome, you're out of time. It's not quite that simple but if the metronome and your playing are both balanced in terms of volume and you're playing at exactly the same time you shouldn't be able to hear the 'click' of the metronome clearly. I had a bit of a shock when I did this the other day. I have good time but realised what a difference half an hour with a metronome made.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Yep, listening is key. Metronome practice might be boring, but in most cases it's also the most effective, shortest path to understanding what steady timing is about.
Met practice is the shortest path. And the most effective, assuming the student is diligent and not just going through the motions. I would like to eliminate the word boring from every drummers vocabulary. Ideally, drummers would NEVER think they're boring, and metronome work would be described as motivating. Not boring. Boring could be the single most detrimental word there is to a drummer. We need the ability to hold one beat for some time, and trust me it's just not looked on as boring except by the drummer. Huge, gaping pitfall. If you're bored working a metronome (Not you Wave)....I don't think you are really working hard at it. I find the metronome challenging. How can you be bored if you're challenged? You can't. So somethings wrong if met work is boring.
 

Markadiddle

Senior Member
I just want to echo what the others are saying here and perhaps just add one thing.

Practicing with a nome is the key to developing your timing. Yes, it is boring. In the long run, if you keep practicing to it, your inner clock starts to develop. If you perform an activity over and over and over, eventually you don't even think about it anymore. Think about practicing rudiments, for example. You start out playing them s l o w l y. You practice them for a long period of time. Eventually the muscle memory, if you will, takes over and you don't really think about it anymore and you just play faster. Same thing with your inner clock.

Now, the thing that I want to add. Playing with a live band. There are times when other members(guitarist, etc.) will speed up or slow down. Even though, as the drummer, you're still the timekeeper but sometimes you have to adjust a little to keep things moving.
 

StickIt

Senior Member
Follow the Nome and all your dreams will come true!! I am re-learning this right now myself, but I have found it to be truth in past experience!

Now, the thing that I want to add. Playing with a live band. There are times when other members(guitarist, etc.) will speed up or slow down. Even though, as the drummer, you're still the timekeeper but sometimes you have to adjust a little to keep things moving.
Now...I am in NO way an authority on anything at all...except maybe how I like my drums set-up...but, I have found that, unless a gradual speed increase/decrease is what the piece/energy calls for, I tend to anchor my kick so that the other players can find their way comfortably back to the tempo. That being said, I won't do it to the extent that it destroys the feel of the song, but I do try to pull them back in...isn't that why we practice with a metronome? If we're in agreement on the basic point, Markadiddle, then I'm sorry for derailing :)
 

Markadiddle

Senior Member
Follow the Nome and all your dreams will come true!! I am re-learning this right now myself, but I have found it to be truth in past experience!

Now...I am in NO way an authority on anything at all...except maybe how I like my drums set-up...but, I have found that, unless a gradual speed increase/decrease is what the piece/energy calls for, I tend to anchor my kick so that the other players can find their way comfortably back to the tempo. That being said, I won't do it to the extent that it destroys the feel of the song, but I do try to pull them back in...isn't that why we practice with a metronome? If we're in agreement on the basic point, Markadiddle, then I'm sorry for derailing :)
No problem at all man! I guess the point I was trying to make here is that when playing in a live band situation, people on the dance floor are never going to hear the difference between 120 bpm vs. 122 bpm nor are they going to care. Ultimately, the drummer is still the timekeeper and should lead the others back in time.
 
C

Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
.... Playing with a metronome is pretty boring for a beginner....
"Boring" is a judgement that I do not see any value in passing on. At least not when it is used about a tool that 100% of great players have used for 1000s of hours.

With respect,
Casper
 

Piebe

Senior Member
The only problem with playing to a pre-recorded track - even if it is sequenced - is that sometimes with other percussion, you can easily fool yourself into thinking you're in time. There is value in playing along to pre-recorded music but I've learned the hard way that a metronome really is the only tool that will (with enough practice) guarantee you are on time.
Yes, if there is a lot of percussion in the back it is hard to tell if you are on time, but if you play along to basic hip-hop loops, that is like playing to a metronome. If you know how to work with sequencers that opens up even more doors because you can mute whatever channel is troubling you.
 

Craig J

Senior Member
yeah it's not always fun. but if you "need help improving rhythm," the above statements regarding a metronome is how you do it. and some quality time with a female too :)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The reason you use the metronome instead of a click tracked dance record is because of all the


S__________P__________A__________C__________E__________.


You need to be totally naked in that space, just you and the firing of your strokes. Bam!

It's the space between the notes that you are learning.

Feet to the metronome is equally important.
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
The reason you use the metronome instead of a click tracked dance record is because of all the


S__________P__________A__________C__________E__________.


You need to be totally naked in that space, just you and the firing of your strokes. Bam!

It's the space between the notes that you are learning.

Feet to the metronome is equally important.
absolutely

the stick only hits a surface for a split second.....the space between those hits is an eternity compared to it

that space is what you are learning ....and how your body dances in that space

check out what Freddie says here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0mt06puXko

and how Neil Peart learned to not be mechanical from Freddie
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APzDktOZw5o

both of these videos are fantastic
 

GrittyGroover

Junior Member
Thanks for all the feedback guys! I just got done with another challenging 30 minute practice with just the metronome, later tonight I am gonna pick up the pad and play more.
 
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