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listening to met, teaching to play slow
Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:21 am
Hey guys, I am having a problem teaching my student how to play with control I would say? We're playing an exercise at like 90 beats per minute but they rush every time. I explain to hold on to the stick/take your time and give each no value, placing the note, subdivision etc. Even with eights we can't push to 130bpm. How can I explain it to make better sense?
Also should I let everyone listen to the speaker or place the speaker under center snare and have them listen in? I under stand center snare keeps the time but hey are having a serious problem with it. I guess the real problem is their timing, how can I develop/teach that, and what exercises should they use?
Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:00 am
Set the met up so that everyone can hear it, and try playing with the subdivisions. If it's at 90 BPM, try a rep (or even just one measure, with a measure of rest in between each rep) with the 16th-note on, and alternate between that and just the quarter note. Or, throw in just the upbeat, without any downbeats. Throw in just beat two, without any other subdivisions. Force them to listen to the met.
The fewer notes the metronome plays, the easier it is to get out of time if you're not really paying attention.
If playing 8s is a drag at this tempo (ideal tempo for 8s, in my opinion, is 120, since there's not so much time between notes that getting a good flow requires too much control), pick something else to do... something that will force them to learn how to play with the met without the extra demands of 8s.
I'd also recommend something I call "the velocity exercise". This is an exercise for building an understanding of how to hit the drum and utilise the rebound, but when I explain it, you'll see why it's also good for building trust with the met.
In the velocity exercise, you pick a hand to work on (the right hand is a good place to start). Then you prep this hand to the accent height (forte... 12 inches) before you tap off the exercise. The exercise is to play whole notes and allow the stick to rebound after every time it hits the drum; i.e., you don't do any work to lift the stick after every note. You start at 12", you hit the drum, and you let the stick come back to 12".
Attack, 2, 3, 4, attack, 2, 3, 4... and so on. So the players are having to hear how that space is filled up, while physically trying to not fill up rests with motion (stick goes down... stick comes back up... I hold it there for the rest of the measure before attacking again).
Then the instructor will give a signal, and count off to go into half notes. Attack, 2, attack, 4, attack, 2, attack 4. If the performers' tendency is to rush, they will start rushing here... but because they're only playing half notes, they should hear the met enough to think, "whoaaaa", and slow down again. They will have heard their tendency and successfully recovered from it.
After some half notes, the instructor counts off again, and you start playing quarter notes. You might want to tap eighth-notes on the rim, so that they don't rush the quarter notes. After some time on the quarter notes, you go to eighth-notes, and by now, you're just playing a lot of 8s on one hand. But the performers will be trying to relate the quick attack and quick rebound approach of the whole notes to the 8s.
120 BPM is a good tempo for this.
It's a little harder to do with the left hand in traditional grip, because the muscles get tired holding the left stick in the prepped position for so long. Verbally acknowledge this, and encourage the performers not to give up so easily. And then just be mindful of how long you've been working the left hand.
Re: listening to met, teaching to play slow
Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:53 pm
As a more simple approach, I would set the met at 180, and cut the note values in half. That mental leap will slow them down instantly. So instead of playing 8s, they are now playing quarters. But they need to take the intuitive leap that they are actually playing the same thing. Set the met, mark it off, sit back and watch the teachable moment unfold.
Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 12:35 am
Some of my beginning students had a similar problem and I found a solution that worked, after much trial and error. Each student is different and this may not work for all students but I've found that this has given me much more success than anything else I've tried when it comes to playing in time. What I'm about to say is going to sound super whack but bear with me...
Lose the met.
Lose the met entirely.
I can't remember or begin to explain how I learned to play with a met but I know that something just clicked for me and I was very fortunate enough for that to be able to happen at an early stage in my drumming. For players, like the ones that talk on here and other websites, we have had experience listening and playing in time with a met so hearing a beep and putting rhythms within the beeps isn't a foreign concept.
When teaching basic time and rhythm I've found I need to get away from a metronome completely a go with something the kids are much more familiar with. Music. Whether it be the radio, or spotify, or my iTunes, I start them off playing to a track (keeping in mind that whatever it is HAS to be school friendly). Honestly, I use something with heavy downbeats. I've found that the band Lettuce is stupid awesome and you can never go wrong with Michael Jackson. I've found this to be helpful in 2 ways: 1. the beginning kids that are having a hard time with rhythms can usually find the groove within the track and then almost everybody has latched on super quick and 2. my more advanced players can work on solidifying basics and it makes it fun because they're playing and grooving to a track.
Ill start off the entire line playing all 4 downbeats. Then ill move to just playing on 1 and 3 and then on 2 and 4. Ill switch off this for a while, possibly even doing this for 2 days (1 day is 6-9pm for pre camp). Then ill slowly add in 8th and 16th notes BUT isolated by one section at a time. IE: snares play 8ths while quads and basses play quarters, basses play 16ths while snares and quads play quarters, etc. That way there are 2 sections at a time still solidifying the major beats while giving a strong pulse for the subdividing group. Once I feel that they've made growth on that Ill take away the track in implement the met. Making sure to explain that the beep they are now hearing is symbolic of the "groove" they had just been playing with, just in a more black and white form with less instruments. If need be I transition between the track and the met for a little while just so they can really understand the connection of what I am trying to teach them.
Again, this may or may not work for your kids but I've found it to be an awesome tool. I will say that I have had to tailor it a bit to some students and with a few cases we've done extra work in private lessons but they've all been super awesome and they seem to love the process.
I hope this helps!