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Originally Posted by Sebs
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Sebs
Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like two different styles and I have been using the style of ignoring rhythms (to an extent) and learning fingerings and notes, etc. now Im thinking if i should try to apply correct rhythm sooner even if at snails pace. I got the idea from living pianos where he mentioned you should play correct dynamics from the start because you're always playing a dynamic so why not play the correct one. I know there are so many variables and different scenarios and we all learn different. Interesting to see that there is mix of approaches on this.

Hi Sebs
While there are different approaches, don’t all responses come to the same conclusion: ‘Rhythm should be learned ASAP’?

Yup of course. And ideally learn it all ASAP haha. What I was getting at, is do others practice notes and fingering while ignoring rhythm? Or are most adhering to rhythm from the very start of learning the piece.


The sense of rythm is something that comes with practice. After a while you get naturally a sense of the time relationships and how various rythmic figures sound. In fact it is your technical level that determines how you approach a piece. Ideally you should include from the start as many elements as you can within the limits of your technical comfort, rythm, dynamics, rubato .... and on the opposite as little as needed if the piece is complex for you. In other words if you already struggle with the notes, then you will focus on getting the notes under your fingers so that you can at least play the section and then add on other components on top. If you are comfortable with the rythmic figures then you can include the proper rythm from the start. If is is too much to deal with initially then you put it aside while working out the fingering.

Learning a piece is an iterative process. Even if you include the rythm from the start, it is a first draft which you refine more precisely as you go. But indeed it is my advice to get the rythm right quite early, if you delay by too much it will just create a lot of rework. Also it is not necessarily uniform across the piece. When i am working out a piece, many sections are straightforward and i try to play them at tempo and as close as possible to final cut (which can change btw as i progress), more difficult sections i will slow down.

And sometimes certain short bars raise such a challenge that i have to put aside all elements and focus strictly on the finger relationships offtempo and offrythm until i get it and then start to put back in the rest. That said i always consider the rythmic constraints as it is necessary to figure out the relationship between fingers, but i dont try to play exactly the notes value. So i include immediately the rythmic pattern into the practice and work out the precise timing very shortly afterwards as soon as i am comfortable with the sequence of fingers.


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Reminds me of the song

"I've got rhythm
I've got music
I've got my ... (style)
Who could ask for anything more





Rhythm from the beginning for me. I will slowly tap it on my legs, start "hearing" the rhythm, use a slow metronome to double check. When I have the rhythm I can 'hear' the music, and it helps to remain flexible on fingering.

Isn't rhythm the most important factor in sight reading exams?

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Rhythm, along with the right notes (assuming you're playing what's through-composed) is an inseparable part of the music. Therefore the correct rhythm is required when sight-reading (as anybody who's ever done piano exams or auditions know), as well as right from the start of learning any new piece.

Dynamics, nuances, voicings (in the classical sense), rubato etc can all be easily added later. Musicians often change them on the fly when performing (I certainly do - I might get a sudden urge to bring out a subsidiary line and make an agogic hesitation with a sudden subito piano in a Rachmaninov piece, for example, just because someone suppresses a wee cough in the audience wink .)

You can have music without melody (think of Reich's Clapping Music or Anna Meredith's HandsFree for instance - see below -, as well as a lot of indigenous music) but you can't have music without any rhythm.


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Originally Posted by ebonyk
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ebonyk
I analyze a piece before I start learning it, and work fingering out right away. Then I read through, tapping the rhythm out so I know more or less what to expect. When that’s complete, that’s when I play it for the first time, usually hands separate so I can hear the character of the piece. By then, yes, rhythm is set and I adhere to it.
How can you work out the fingering before reading through the piece? I've never heard of a single pianist that does that and it seems completely wrong.
Obviously this is part of reading through the piece. You can’t figure out fingering if your hands aren’t on the keys, lol. Sorry if I wasn’t specific enough. My first attempt at “playing” is not the first time I go through the piece with my hands.
What is "playing"? Most would call their first time they go through the piece with their hands the first attempt at playing.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What is "playing"? Most would call their first time they go through the piece with their hands the first attempt at playing.

I don’t. OK? Is that OK with you?? I’m allowed to do or think what I want, or call my own actions what I feel like, without your permission.

LOL, time to take another break, I guess. It was fun while it lasted. 🤷‍♀️😂


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I think most pianists should be trying to play the correct notes AND rhythm from the beginning, Of course parts of a piece could have particularly tricky/complicated/unfamiliar rhythms or notes and those might have to be worked out separately. When I switched from playing mostly classical to playing mostly transcriptions of performances by the great jazz pianists, some of the rhythms were so completely different from classical music that I had to work out those passages separately in terms of their rhythm. But if an entire piece has to be worked out with the notes first and then adding in the rhythm(or vice versa), I think the piece is too difficult for the student at this moment.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
But if an entire piece has to be worked out with the notes first and then adding in the rhythm(or vice versa), I think the piece is too difficult for the student at this moment.


What nonsense

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Originally Posted by Sundew
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
But if an entire piece has to be worked out with the notes first and then adding in the rhythm(or vice versa), I think the piece is too difficult for the student at this moment.
What nonsense
Can I assume you are among those that have to sometimes learn the notes completely separately from the rhythms? If so, what were some of the recent pieces where you had to do that?

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think most pianists should be trying to play the correct notes AND rhythm from the beginning, Of course parts of a piece could have particularly tricky/complicated/unfamiliar rhythms or notes and those might have to be worked out separately. When I switched from playing mostly classical to playing mostly transcriptions of performances by the great jazz pianists, some of the rhythms were so completely different from classical music that I had to work out those passages separately in terms of their rhythm. But if an entire piece has to be worked out with the notes first and then adding in the rhythm(or vice versa), I think the piece is too difficult for the student at this moment.

Haven’t you considered that the piece may not be too difficult but the student is not (yet) proficient with thinking about two major things at once? I don’t think any of us were hatched being able to look at the notes and rhythm at the same time — and play them correctly at the same time. It takes practice—- and time for this to feel comfortable.

Don’t forget you are in the ABF- and not everyone has years of experience.

Last edited by dogperson; 01/09/22 12:21 PM.

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think most pianists should be trying to play the correct notes AND rhythm from the beginning, Of course parts of a piece could have particularly tricky/complicated/unfamiliar rhythms or notes and those might have to be worked out separately. When I switched from playing mostly classical to playing mostly transcriptions of performances by the great jazz pianists, some of the rhythms were so completely different from classical music that I had to work out those passages separately in terms of their rhythm. But if an entire piece has to be worked out with the notes first and then adding in the rhythm(or vice versa), I think the piece is too difficult for the student at this moment.

Haven’t you considered that the piece may not be too difficult but the student is not (yet) proficient with thinking about two major things at once? I don’t think any of us were hatched being able to look at the notes and rhythm at the same time — and play them correctly at the same time. It takes practice—- and time for this to feel comfortable.
This might be true during the first few months or first year of learning piano but I would assume, if the teacher is giving the student appropriate level pieces, both the notes and rhythms are progressing gradually enough in difficulty so that the student can read both at once.

In an earlier post, Bennevis says he requires his students, many of whom I think are not advanced, to sight read each new piece he gives them, I assume he means sight read the notes AND rhythms. I think the ABRSM sight reading exams certainly expect the student to read both the notes and rhythms at once but the required examples are appropriately chosen so that even at the earliest levels the students who are reasonably prepared can sight read both the notes and rhythms together.

If a student is self teaching, it could be possible that they choose a piece where the notes and/or rhythms of a piece they choose are too difficult for them so they cannot read both at once.

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Plover
It is obvious from this thread, as well as others, that not all teachers have their students play new music during a lesson. And you are making an assumption about how beginners without a teacher teach themselves. Some have never pushed themselves to learn to read the notes and rhythm at the same time. Some see nothing wrong with learning the notes and then learning the rhythm

Where you get the timeline of a few months is beyond my comprehension. Some maybe you start doing it then— if they, or their teacher believe it is important— but not all will be able to do this until later.


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I'm going back to the original question.

Originally Posted by Sebs
When learning a new piece do have any time spent where you ignore rhythm? Such as figuring out fingerings etc. or do you try to play in rhythm from the start even small chunks even if super super slow?

Yes, I do spend such time, for reasons, and not on every piece. It is a strategy, one I learned, and even pianists or advanced players will play things out of rhythm for particular reasons. For example, there is a device of playing a section "long short short" "short short long" and other variants, different from the actual music, for a purpose. You do want to also do the right rhythm, and mostly, and most of the time. There are also strategies as playing arpeggiated music as a series of block chords, or leaving out notes and putting them back in as you get a handle of the piece. What you don't want is an inability to play correctly in rhythm, or to get a good handle on rhythm.

I have also heard an approch of having absolute beginners take the time they need, with rhythm being brought in second, as they get familiar with the keyboard. There will be teachers having different approaches, or different stages, leading to the same end result. In that case we have to look at the overall picture over a number of months, and their students as a whole.

added

And what Sidokar said.

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Originally Posted by keystring
I'm going back to the original question.

Originally Posted by Sebs
When learning a new piece do have any time spent where you ignore rhythm? Such as figuring out fingerings etc. or do you try to play in rhythm from the start even small chunks even if super super slow?

Yes, I do spend such time, for reasons, and not on every piece. It is a strategy, one I learned, and even pianists or advanced players will play things out of rhythm for particular reasons. For example, there is a device of playing a section "long short short" "short short long" and other variants, different from the actual music, for a purpose. You do want to also do the right rhythm, and mostly, and most of the time. There are also strategies as playing arpeggiated music as a series of block chords, or leaving out notes and putting them back in as you get a handle of the piece. What you don't want is an inability to play correctly in rhythm, or to get a good handle on rhythm.

I have also heard an approch of having absolute beginners take the time they need, with rhythm being brought in second, as they get familiar with the keyboard. There will be teachers having different approaches, or different stages, leading to the same end result. In that case we have to look at the overall picture over a number of months, and their students as a whole.

added

And what Sidokar said.

Well said.

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Plover
It is obvious from this thread, as well as others, that not all teachers have their students play new music during a lesson. And you are making an assumption about how beginners without a teacher teach themselves. Some have never pushed themselves to learn to read the notes and rhythm at the same time. Some see nothing wrong with learning the notes and then learning the rhythm

Where you get the timeline of a few months is beyond my comprehension. Some maybe you start doing it then— if they, or their teacher believe it is important— but not all will be able to do this until later.
I certainly never said all teachers make their students sight read new pieces during a lesson.

My comments are only for those studying with a teacher, Without a teacher, as I previously said, someone might well choose a piece whose notes and/or rhythms might be far too difficult to read together (or even to read separately). From what I've seen of beginner books, they progress very slowly so that students should be able to read notes and rhythms together. Even if this is not true during say the first year, it should be true soon after that.

Sight reading, even for beginner pieces and without a high degree of skill, always includes both the notes and rhythm. I don't know when ABRSM introduces sight reading as part of their testing program, but I assume it's very early on and includes reading both the notes and rhythms.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
My comments are only for those studying with a teacher, Without a teacher, as I previously said, someone might well choose a piece whose notes and/or rhythms might be far too difficult to read together (or even to read separately). From what I've seen of beginner books, they progress very slowly so that students should be able to read notes and rhythms together. Even if this is not true during say the first year, it should be true soon after that.


Pianoloverus, you may well be making some assumptions here. I'm not aware, atm, whether you went the route of starting as an adult, or whether you have a background of learning as a child, and possibly, with decent teaching. Here are some realities that are not that uncommon.

It happens, maybe not that infrequently, that adults are rushed through by teachers. There can be various reasons for this. An old one was the premise that adults just want to have hobby-fun, don't want to go deep or work hard, want instant results they can understand - fortunately this is much less than a decade ago. (2) Since adults can already hear in their heads how a known melody goes, thinks more abstractly, and might have plunked around a bit, they can get at simple early music easily with some facility, unlike a young child. Other things go missing which neither of them notice, until later when there is "something" wrong. The teacher is fooled. (3) Fear of "insulting" the student by going too slow, too fundamental, too concrete. (4) If you already play another instrument, esp. with a background in music, the risk is especially great. But being able to breathe into a flute does not translate into using your hands to elicit different sound qualities on the piano. Here there can also be the fear of insulting the student. If s/he has grade 10 trumpet, do you dare give them what you give a 5 year old?

Sometimes adult students will drop teachers and work on their own for a while, so they can go slowly enough. Or the self-learner has seen advice on going slowly and what kinds of things to aim for, and will do so. I.e. you cannot make these assumptions. smile

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Sight reading is also not part of this question, I'd think. I can sight read fairly well - not always at tempo ofc, based on the difficulty of the piece - but will practise some things, in some stages, with altered rhythms, or broken down, for various reasons as per my earlier post today.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Sight reading, even for beginner pieces and without a high degree of skill, always includes both the notes and rhythm. I don't know when ABRSM introduces sight reading as part of their testing program, but I assume it's very early on and includes reading both the notes and rhythms.
That's right - from Grade 1, which is the same for the other reputable exam boards.

When learning to read musical notation, every note has a time value as well as pitch. The tried-and-tested beginner's book I use gets the student counting the beats aloud right from the first second of the first lesson, and the student is left in no doubt that music has a pulse. (Reminds me of Salieri's rapturous description of the third movement from his detested rival Wolfie's Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments, K361 in Amadeus: "The beginning: simple - just a pulse.......") One wouldn't learn notes without the accidentals (if present), so why would anyone learn - and play - just the notes with no regard for their time values and therefore the rhythm? Get the basics right, and learn correctly right from the start.



This is a sample ABRSM Grade 1 sightreading test. One line all the way through, notes passing from one hand to the other, straightforward rhythm, but both hands treated equally:


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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Sight reading, even for beginner pieces and without a high degree of skill, always includes both the notes and rhythm. I don't know when ABRSM introduces sight reading as part of their testing program, but I assume it's very early on and includes reading both the notes and rhythms.
That's right - from Grade 1, which is the same for the other reputable exam boards.

When learning to read musical notation, every note has a time value as well as pitch. The tried-and-tested beginner's book I use gets the student counting the beats aloud right from the first second of the first lesson, and the student is left in no doubt that music has a pulse. (Reminds me of Salieri's rapturous description of the third movement from his detested rival Wolfie's Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments, K361 in Amadeus: "The beginning: simple - just a pulse.......") One wouldn't learn notes without the accidentals (if present), so why would anyone learn - and play - just the notes with no regard for their time values and therefore the rhythm? Get the basics right, and learn correctly right from the start.



This is a sample ABRSM Grade 1 sightreading test. One line all the way through, notes passing from one hand to the other, straightforward rhythm, but both hands treated equally:
I think this is the correct way to learn piano and that most good teachers teach this way. IOW the notes and rhythms are chosen to very gradually increase in difficulty so the student can handle both at once.

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Originally Posted by keystring
I'm going back to the original question.

Originally Posted by Sebs
When learning a new piece do have any time spent where you ignore rhythm? Such as figuring out fingerings etc. or do you try to play in rhythm from the start even small chunks even if super super slow?

Yes, I do spend such time, for reasons, and not on every piece. It is a strategy, one I learned, and even pianists or advanced players will play things out of rhythm for particular reasons. For example, there is a device of playing a section "long short short" "short short long" and other variants, different from the actual music, for a purpose. You do want to also do the right rhythm, and mostly, and most of the time. There are also strategies as playing arpeggiated music as a series of block chords, or leaving out notes and putting them back in as you get a handle of the piece. What you don't want is an inability to play correctly in rhythm, or to get a good handle on rhythm.

I have also heard an approch of having absolute beginners take the time they need, with rhythm being brought in second, as they get familiar with the keyboard. There will be teachers having different approaches, or different stages, leading to the same end result. In that case we have to look at the overall picture over a number of months, and their students as a whole.

added

And what Sidokar said.

Agree and also with @sidokar mentioned I like the call out that it varies based on level and piece. That’s what I was wondering about bringing it in after as to only focus on one thing at a time while learning then adding more. I’m not saying playing things way out of wack but more so not counting or being 100 accurate..

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It’s getting into the right habits at the beginning. For it me, it begins with studying the piece: the scales, the pattern, the time signature [where should I start on metronome], the rhythm, and listen to different artists playing the piece. Rhythm, I practice with drum sticks or tap with slow metronome….then it’s slow practice with working out fingering. It is not unusual to rejig the fingering as you get more familiar .. all of above will be part of my discussion with my teacher as well. Graham Fitch advises to play [slowly] 1st measure..then tag 2nd measure ..and never move on until you are secure in rhythm and fingering. I have found this to work for me. Learnt, never rush.

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