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Thread: Best way to keep time?

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimavery View Post
    It's also useful to play along to a recording (you-tube video or whatever).
    That also seems like it would be more fun than the click-click of the metronome.

    But, as I understand it starting at a slow speed and then building up is important -- do the apps/software that supposedly slow music down without changing pitch really work?

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tm3 View Post
    That also seems like it would be more fun than the click-click of the metronome.

    But, as I understand it starting at a slow speed and then building up is important -- do the apps/software that supposedly slow music down without changing pitch really work?
    The point with timing confidence, more than going slow, is to be able to know exactly what is happening and where you are in the framework of a bar. Going slow is about being able to physically play something. The whole POINT of playing with a metronome is that it's hard and you're doing the work (as opposed to playing with a song). It's great practice to play along too, but you can be much more lax about your timing when following something. If it was as simple as playing along with other music (i.e. a group), everyone would have great timing.

    Re apps: yes, but they can only slow down so much before they start to get grainy sounding.

  3. #13
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    Keeping time is a mental endurance thing, even for seasoned musicians. But everyone usually implements something into their playing that helps them keep time. Some accentuate beats by strumming/picking stuff louder on those beats–most notably it's the first beat in each measure. Some people like to tap their feet or bob their heads. Sometimes when people strum fast stuff they'll do something like "ghost strumming" where they perform a strumming motion without hitting the strings (this keeps their strumming wrist moving at the correct tempo and helps them keep time when they're not supposed to be playing anything loudly).

    Also like others have said, it really helps to know if you're playing too fast or too slow. You can use a metronome, you can play with another musician that can tell you whether you're rushing or dragging, or you can record yourself playing something and compare it to the original sound sample. You can even play something like osu! or another rhythm game that tells you whether you're hitting notes too fast or too slow lol
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  4. #14
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    Invest in a real metronome, not an app. A good one isn’t expensive, will last years, and is quicker to set up than some app you have to open and fiddle around with.

    I recommend tapping with your heel along with the beat, to have it physically in your body. Try not to tap with your toes, because this habit produces a lot of noise on stage if you’re ever in a performance setting (ask me how I know...). Tapping with your heel, while toes are planted, produces almost no noise.

    On why to get the real deal metronome and not an app: Your phone is a massive distraction, imho, and you’ll likely get caught up playing around with it and whatever metronome app rather than actually maintaining your practice.

    Unrelated to your question, but it is the same reason my wife and I use real alarm clocks for waking up, not the app on our phones.
    Current UAS fallout:

    Ohana SK-21A — ‘10s L. Nunes Ukulele 0 Hawaii Soprano — 1918-19 Martin 2M Soprano — ‘60s Kamaka ‘Keiki’ Soprano — ‘70s Kamaka White Label Soprano — Blue Frog Soprano — aNueNue Moon Bird US200 — Ohana SK-30L — Cocobolo Concert #382 (teak!) — Outdoor Ukulele Carbon Tenor — ‘50s Harmony Baritone


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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tm3 View Post
    That also seems like it would be more fun than the click-click of the metronome.

    But, as I understand it starting at a slow speed and then building up is important -- do the apps/software that supposedly slow music down without changing pitch really work?
    Skip the gimmicks; there is no shortcut to practicing here. Practice is just that, and while it doesn’t have to be “boring”, creating distractions like playing along with slowed down audio isn’t going to help you to learn the skill of playing in rhythm. The only way to do that is through diligent, intentional practice that is free of distractions like a video you’re trying to strum along with.

    Playing along with someone else’s recording can be a helpful exercise, but not for learning to play in rhythm, imho. The feedback loop between the neurons connected to your ears, eyes, and strumming hands takes too long to process while paying attention to the video recording.

    I use videos to see technique being used (either my own or another person’s), but never while trying to play along. That’s like trying to cook a soufflé while also doing aerobic exercise. Is it possible? Maybe. But neither thing is going to go very well or be any good by the end. And why waste your valuable time doing something that doesn’t achieve the goal you have?

    Just my 2¢
    Current UAS fallout:

    Ohana SK-21A — ‘10s L. Nunes Ukulele 0 Hawaii Soprano — 1918-19 Martin 2M Soprano — ‘60s Kamaka ‘Keiki’ Soprano — ‘70s Kamaka White Label Soprano — Blue Frog Soprano — aNueNue Moon Bird US200 — Ohana SK-30L — Cocobolo Concert #382 (teak!) — Outdoor Ukulele Carbon Tenor — ‘50s Harmony Baritone


    Mead Ambassador/Horticulturist at Heidrun Meadery since 2017

    Teaching Music Together since 2019

  6. #16
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    As a bass player I keep time in my head and at times a metronome but I have to say on Ukulele I go by feel and I am sure the timing isn't right but the pauses I choose IMHO sound better. However, if I had to keep time it would be metronome and/or someone making a beat.

  7. #17

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    Thanks for the additional comments! I think that I'm seeing an analogy here -- metronome work helps make a musician fit to play tunes well, just as time in the weight room helps make an athlete fit to play ball well.

    I've got a metronome around here somewhere. I'll resurrect it if it hasn't been toasted by leaking batteries. If that is the case, I'll buy another. I concur about not wanting to rely so much on phone apps -- I'm now shopping for a "real" tuner so I can ditch the phone tuner.

  8. #18
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    Tuner - Snark
    Metronome - got a smart phone use an app.

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerguy View Post
    Tuner - Snark
    Metronome - got a smart phone use an app.
    I've seen other recommendations for the Snark. Do I need to get the one that is specifically for Ukulele, or will the others work? Looks like one of the non-Uke models can "hear" the note either via a mic or thru vibration which might be a nice feature.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by tm3 View Post
    I've seen other recommendations for the Snark. Do I need to get the one that is specifically for Ukulele, or will the others work? Looks like one of the non-Uke models can "hear" the note either via a mic or thru vibration which might be a nice feature.
    I don't think you do but if you google the Snarks it does list which ones they suggest for Ukulele.

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