Part of a 12-part course on reading rhythm.
In the last couple of tutorials we saw how to write the beats into Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” and Brahms’s Lullaby. Now that we know where the beats go, how do we translate that into playing the pieces rhythmically accurately?
So, to play any piece in time with the metronome, work through the following steps in order, splitting the piece into section if necessary:
- Make sure you’re on top of the notes and fingering.
- Set the metronome to a slow speed.
- Practise saying the rhythm in time with the metronome, without playing the notes. Put the beats on the clicks and the “and”s in between. (Putting an “and” on a click is a really common mistake.)
- Then practise playing the notes while saying the rhythm without the metronome.
- Put steps 3 and 4 together and practise playing the notes while saying the rhythm in time with the metronome.
- Play the notes in time with the metronome without saying the beats.
- Gradually speed it up.
As you get better at this you can skip steps. (An experienced musician can sight read a score for the first time in time with a metronome without counting anything!)
Next up: counting 1⁄4-beat notes.