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Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo. (Read 2475 times)

Offline wkmt

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Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
« on: December 01, 2016, 07:50:46 PM »
Veronica Haro's clarifications about the concepts of Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.

Veronica teaches at WKMT London. She is shares with us her experiences of every month.

Please comment and we will let her know :)

"
ABRSM Grade exams are very well known in United Kingdom. They cover different aspects of music learning such as pieces, technical requirements (scales, arpeggios and broken chords), sight-reading and aural. As students I think all of us have experienced some difficulties on aural learning when trying to find the steady beat, usually misunderstanding it with rhythm. I often find this on my students.
My general advice as a teacher and musician is to explain these very clearly as many times as you need from almost the beginning.
 
 
The difference between beat, rhythm and tempo is:
 
- Beat: unit of measurement of pulse of music and it is indicated in the time signature. The accents on the music are intrinsically related to the time signature.
Steady beat is a continuous pulse during a piece of music.
 
- Rhythm: Combination of different note values in length. You can have a rhythm made of short values or you can have a rhythm made of long and short values, et cetera.
 
- Tempo: speed of the beat. How fast or slow the beat or pulse is.
 
 
How to show your students the difference between them.
 
- Beat: I often tell my students that to feel a steady beat you have to imagine that you are listening to a piece of music on the radio or in a concert. In a natural way we feel the steady beat or pulse when we move the foot or the head along with the music. It is incredible how my students are immediately able to clap the steady beat as I play just keeping that thought in mind.
 
- Rhythm: play a well known piece or song (Happy birthday, Jingle Bells, Fur Elise…) and use first the original rhythm. Then change some of the values: make the long notes shorter and vice versa. Ask the student what the difference was.
 
Tempo: this one is quite straight forward. Choose another well known piece (we always choose famous pieces or songs as the student can easily identify any changes) and play it at original tempo, change to slow and one more time much faster. Make them also clap the steady beat along so they can notice how it has changed.
 
Reinforce all these elements during different lessons and in different situations such as during scales, improvisation or the pieces they are performing. Change tempo and rhythm and ask them to identify what it has changed.
 
I believe that as teachers we need to use an approach based on experience but also on knowledge. How to combine these two learning methods perfectly is our goal and we work hard to offer the best education to all our students!"

You can also comment directly on our website
http://www.i-am-a-spammer.com/single-post/2016/11/29/Steady-beat-Rhythm-and-Tempo
www.wkmt.co.uk

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #1 on: December 02, 2016, 04:15:42 PM »
....
My general advice as a teacher and musician is to explain these very clearly as many times as you need from almost the beginning.
Just defining the terms is not going to help them use it. I can tell you how to build a skyscraper but it means nothing if you don't know how to start to build it in reality. Why don't you just record the definitions and make your students listen to it 100 times a day haha.
 
- Rhythm: Combination of different note values in length. You can have a rhythm made of short values or you can have a rhythm made of long and short values, et cetera.
Does your school not have a teacher that teaches about the use of rests in rhythm?

Tempo: this one is quite straight forward.
My friend rubato slaps your face.

I believe that as teachers we need to use an approach based on experience but also on knowledge. How to combine these two learning methods perfectly is our goal and we work hard to offer the best education to all our students!"
I'm sorry but this is just drivel, you aim to perfectly combine experience and knowledge??? Please!
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Offline vaniii

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #2 on: December 02, 2016, 08:56:25 PM »
Music starts with a sound.

Playing music is a practical skill; Yes, theory is important, but it is deeply rooted in its practical application (please see: students, who can name every measure, note and theoretical concept, but still struggle to play a five finger penta-scale in-time with a pleasant sound).

Lostinidlewonder, raises a valid point; I have encounter copious numbers of students who disregard rest measures simply because they are not actively making a sound; emphasised by teachers who have a great importance on notes and their names.

If anything, the problems many teachers encounter with students who cannot play with “Steady beat, rhythm or apply tempo”, is because they have not built these core skills in from the start.  The focus is always:

 “What’s that note?” … *plonk!* … “What’s that note?” … *plonk!* … etc.

Rather than building a core understanding the three main principles of music: pulse, rhythm and pitch (i.e.  first you count your measures of time, then you apply the notes to said time).  The problem here, note first, rhythm later.

Simply defining or explaining them as concepts won’t give a student the ability to do it.  The role of a teacher is to teach them how to apply it, then to keep reminding them to continue doing these things.

The reason why this problem develops is when most learns start reading and playing, they are inundated with crotchets and minims that do not always require the performer to apply these principles; they can simply guestimate, an approximate interval of time that sounds pleasant enough; the result is that these skills then do not develop over time.

However, due to them ‘faking it’, when the difficulty increases because they are confronted with a variety of note values including rest measures, the student does not know how to deal with them and simply, continues to fake it.  Its only when a trained ear listens and points it out to them that they start to realise their original method is not quite so effective; they either learn a new method (hard), or continue doing what they have always done (easy), the latter being the prevailing mindset.

‘WKMT’, I really love what you are doing, and the student videos and performances are great, however, this article leaves me feeling somewhat unsettled.  It is reactionary; that is only applicable to students who are doing it wrong, with an attempted to convince them otherwise.

My question to you: how would you build these core principles from the very beginning?

(Imagine a student ‘tabula rasa’, a blank slate that you can imprint the most efficient and effective understanding of time and rhythm on them)

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #3 on: December 03, 2016, 12:16:19 AM »
My question to you: how would you build these core principles from the very beginning?
This is the key question because anyone can get definitions from a book but how to develop it, the materials to use, how to use that material, how to approach that material in different ways for different challenges each student may face etc etc, this then opens up a huge amount of discussion.
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Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #4 on: December 03, 2016, 01:36:14 AM »
Vanii, an interesting and important post, along with LiW's.

In regards to the opening post where wkmt featured an article by one of the teachers there, Veronica, it may be that she was asked to give a quick overview on some core concepts, and one would hope that in actual teaching, the various things that go into that get gradually developed.  I'd be asking more questions if she were the poster here.  Getting a quick idea by listening for this or that in a lesson is not the same thing as getting at these concepts in actual playing.

VANII to yours - I have seen two opposing approaches by decent teachers: one starting with sound and hearing first, bringing in reading afterward; the other starting with reading first.  Each has its own reasoning.  What made the teaching effective on either side is that the teacher had thought out the whole picture and how to get at it, and then developed his students' skills in stages over time.  Either starting position has to incorporate the other over time, or you get ear students who can't read, or reading students who can't play musically.  How that is done cannot be done justice in a few paragraphs.

What you describe probably happens way too often.  I also see something haphazard about it, i.e. unplanned on the teacher's side.  Nobody has given thought, for this hypothetical student, how she is to approach this music, in what kinds of stages toward what kinds of goals and subgoals.  The music is assigned, the sheet music handed over, and the student gets there "somehow".

Quote
Rather than building a core understanding the three main principles of music: pulse, rhythm and pitch (i.e.  first you count your measures of time, then you apply the notes to said time).  The problem here, note first, rhythm later.
Actually for the first two there is a third: note value.  The rhythm itself comes from applying note values, and the underlying pulse or beat is another component - but note value in and of itself is a concept.

The teaching I'm exposed to emphasizes reading as a first skill.  For the beginner, it is done in stages (for each piece).  The music itself is divided into smaller sections, and the first task is the notes (pitch plus comfortable fingering - not finger numbers, but the hand must be in the right place with fingers moving conveniently).  The next stage is to bring in the note values with counts, and those counts might lag, depending.  The next stage is steady pulse.  Since the notes are solid, the note values are well incorporated, the student can concentrate easily on this stage.  The end result is something musical and correct, without the hesitation of the semi-lost "winging it".  It is thought through, planned, and guided by a teacher.  An opposite approach may be as well guided.  It's like two ends of a bridge coming together at the middle, and then you have the whole bridge, when either teacher is done.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #5 on: December 03, 2016, 12:46:40 PM »
KeyPeg
Quote
The teaching I'm exposed to emphasizes reading as a first skill.  For the beginner, it is done in stages (for each piece).  The music itself is divided into smaller sections, and the first task is the notes (pitch plus comfortable fingering - not finger numbers, but the hand must be in the right place with fingers moving conveniently).  The next stage is to bring in the note values with counts, and those counts might lag, depending.  The next stage is steady pulse.  Since the notes are solid, the note values are well incorporated, the student can concentrate easily on this stage.  The end result is something musical and correct, without the hesitation of the semi-lost "winging it".  It is thought through, planned, and guided by a teacher.  An opposite approach may be as well guided.  It's like two ends of a bridge coming together at the middle, and then you have the whole bridge, when either teacher is done.

This is a proper answer. Thank you so much for committing your professional time to give us so valuable feedback.

In terms of our background and how it affects our approach, I can say that we come from a culture which memorises a lot. One of the things that caught most of my attention when I arrived in England as a student was how amazing the Brits were at sight reading.
I believe that the pedagogical set-up that allows students to develop in that direction is completely different to the one we use in Latin countries. We prioritise delivery on top of skill development. In other words delivering the piece with full in - depth at an early stage can definitely restrict the number of pieces you can study and most importantly the tolerance to mistakes. The latter directly affects sight reading as someone needs to accept and allow some amount of mistakes to push through for the sake of preserving the musical flow when sight reading.
I'm mentioning all this because this also affects the way we perceive rhythm. If you memorise from the scratch not allowing any mistake and incorporating all the aspects of music (dynamics, rubato, etc.) you are at the end acquiring a far more inflexible template that you apply fixedly. I truly believe that sight reading oriented people allows more spontaneity to their performances while they might, or not, risk some precision.

Answer by Juan Rezzuto - Principal at WKMT www.wkmt.co.uk

I'm opening to criticism though.


Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #6 on: December 03, 2016, 06:27:15 PM »
Thanks for giving your background and thoughts, Juan.  Things are making more sense, and in any case, in a forum we have to get to know each other bit by bit, for any understanding to unfold.

The things you describe - some years ago when I was trying to sort things out, I came across an article by a senior teacher who wrote about "project" vs. "process".  It made the penny drop for me.  Your original experience would be "project".  It is not actually a question of whether reading comes first, or ear (as per Vanii) comes first, but something else.

The teacher "Marbeth" proposed that there were two main types of goals a teacher may have, which she named "project" and "process", and stated that most seem to orient toward "project" and parents and students would tend in that direction too.  "Project" means you are aiming toward a finished product (your project).  It means a piece that will get top grades in an exam or wow parents at a recital, or just trying to make a piece sound as perfect as possible for its own sake.  Skills play a secondary role.  That is to say, to make the piece sound good - say it needs a crescendo, or the top voice being brought out - you may get the student to manage to do that, but only for the sake of the final product, the piece.

"Process" means that you are aiming to develop skills in the student: your focus is on the student and the process of his development, rather than the product.  You might bring things in more gradually, so that they are solid, well understood, and absorbed.  Supposing that at one point you want your student to learn to interpret a piece, using what he knows --- his attempts will probably be inferior to what a trained and experienced musician (the teacher) can come up with, or the sure-fire "acceptable" version that is out there stereotypically as a formula for instant approval.  The "product" will be inferior, but the student's growth over time as a musician will not.  The eventual final outcome - the satisfaction of even a hobby musician who has a firm grasp of what he is doing - may well be worth it.

The danger in "process" is that the lay person - the parent or even an older student - may not understand it.  They may be wowed by the teacher across the street whose students play choreographed hammered in memorized things, or who "go fast" through grade levels and such. They may judge by the "product".  I've read stories of teachers who get a transfer student who plays one or two pieces wonderfully, but cannot read a single note on the page, whose music is full of finger numbers as a crutch, who need to be spoonfed note by note - - - they never got skills, but the parents got impressed by the "product", not knowing any better.

Of course these are two extremes and things are not that black and white, but that way of presenting things by "Marbeth" gave me the picture that I had been hunting for.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #7 on: December 03, 2016, 11:51:13 PM »
... This is a proper answer. Thank you so much for committing your professional time to give us so valuable feedback.
..

Answer by Juan Rezzuto - Principal at WKMT www.wkmt.co.uk

I'm opening to criticism though.
Oh, of all responses you have to say Keypegs is the proper answer? You are open to criticism yet not going to address any of the critical responses? lol.

One of the things that caught most of my attention when I arrived in England as a student was how amazing the Brits were at sight reading.
You say every single one or the majority? Did you take a survey or is just your opinion? I've taught some brits who didn't read well, maybe it was because they left their country?

...We prioritise delivery on top of skill development. In other words delivering the piece with full in - depth at an early stage can definitely restrict the number of pieces you can study and most importantly the tolerance to mistakes. The latter directly affects sight reading as someone needs to accept and allow some amount of mistakes to push through for the sake of preserving the musical flow when sight reading.
What does this even mean? To me as a professional piano teacher for over 20 years I am reading this and it just sound like generalized rubbish. So you teach beginners "delivery" of a piece, that is all the little details and polishing touches? You do say that this slows down the amount of works they can study. Your school obviously underestimates the use of multiple pieces to develop technique rather focusing on smaller amounts but playing them as close to mastery as possible? Slow and inefficient method from my experience.

I'm mentioning all this because this also affects the way we perceive rhythm. If you memorise from the scratch not allowing any mistake and incorporating all the aspects of music (dynamics, rubato, etc.) you are at the end acquiring a far more inflexible template that you apply fixedly. I truly believe that sight reading oriented people allows more spontaneity to their performances while they might, or not, risk some precision.
Im sorry but this paragraph is just useless. You are saying, lets memorize from scratch not allowing any mistakes, this will produce a student which acquires a more "inflexible template" which is applied "fixedly".  loll!!!! Dude have you never written a technical sentence before, you do realize you need to DEFINE your terms because to us who know our stuff it all seems a little stupid.
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Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #8 on: December 04, 2016, 12:09:12 AM »
There is a language difficulty, and the message is not coming across properly.

Here is how I see wkmt's last post.

When he says "we prioritize...." (the first quoted part) he is actually comparing two different systems of learning.  The "we prioritize" describes what they did back home in the country where he had his own musical training. It was all he knew.  Coming to England he saw something much different, also seeing it better than back home.  Obviously it's not all of England and every student there - it's the impressions at this time, through whatever exposure is there, and it is causing a rethink.

The whole thing is a comparison.  When I looked at the comparison, I saw something different than the idea of "reading first" vs. memorizing.  It just happens that the contrast came through reading, because that is what he happened to encounter.  It actually has to do with the difference between getting kids to produce perfect music right away by any means (what Marbeth calls "project") versus developing skills in a student, developing that student so that the student grows (what Marbeth calls "process").  This also means that there is no conflict between the initial sound-orientation of Vanii versus the reading emphasis I'm being exposed to --- both are aiming at developing the student.

The entire post is a comparison between the system "back home" and what is being seen in England.  When the things back home are described, it's done in the present tense so the whole thing gets muddy and hard to understand.  These things in the old country are not being advocated.  They're being seen as problematic.  But one would have to do a rewrite to make that become clear.

I'm seeing that some rethinking and exploring is going on, and if I'm right about that, this would be a positive thing. (?)  That is assuming ofc that I'm interpreting it in the right way.

Offline vaniii

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #9 on: December 04, 2016, 12:16:48 AM »
Lost summed up my thoughts on this.

I refrained from responding when my response was disregarded.

I will not waste effort on this poster, again.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #10 on: December 04, 2016, 12:22:24 AM »
I refrained from responding when my response was disregarded.
Your post should not be disregarded.  There is a lot of depth to it.  I also would not want it to be that my post is the "only proper answer" because clearly it is not.  In fact, that part made me uncomfortable.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #11 on: December 04, 2016, 11:58:49 AM »
I love your passion :)

Your answer is not disregarded at all. I find your in-depth fascinating and full of commitment. Music is nothing without dynamizing people like you. Stay close Vanii you are a great discussion player ;) We are all grateful and happy about this controversy.

All Best,
Juan

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #12 on: December 04, 2016, 04:15:39 PM »
I love your passion :)

Your answer is not disregarded at all. I find your in-depth fascinating and full of commitment. Music is nothing without dynamizing people like you. Stay close Vanii you are a great discussion player ;) We are all grateful and happy about this controversy.
Vanii is a full time professional teacher with years of experience. Generally speaking professionals like the factual things they have stated to be addressed, rather than their emotional states (passion etc.) being praised.  Personally I'd like to see his points addressed because they are worth looking at, and come from experience.  At least that's me.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #13 on: December 04, 2016, 04:27:35 PM »
Quote
(Imagine a student ‘tabula rasa’, a blank slate that you can imprint the most efficient and effective understanding of time and rhythm on them)

Describing how to teach a student from the scratch might take too long. But I can quote my post about our first lesson summarizes our approach quite well
http://www.i-am-a-spammer.com/single-post/2015/03/08/Our-first-piano-lesson-teachers-blog

There I describe how I expect my teachers to organize the first lesson around devising Music theory foundations, piano technique and sight reading basics.

That article I wrote something like an year ago answers your question in full vanii.

Kind Regards,
Juan

Offline dogperson

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #14 on: December 04, 2016, 04:59:14 PM »
Was it LostInWonder that posted concern about WKMT using these replies for his website?   Indeed, that is happening, as Keypeg's  post to 'steady beat, rhythm and tempo' was integrated into the OPs commercial website

http://www.i-am-a-spammer.com/single-post/2016/12/03/Replies-to-Veronica-Haros-November-Post

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #15 on: December 04, 2016, 05:01:23 PM »
I just noticed that myself.
I DID NOT GIVE PERMISSION for my post to be quoted on the wkmt site.  Please remove my post.  Thank you in advance.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #16 on: December 04, 2016, 05:10:37 PM »
I just noticed that myself.
I DID NOT GIVE PERMISSION for my post to be quoted on the wkmt site.  Please remove my post.  Thank you in advance.

Think it is best for all of us just to not take the bait.  Just do not  reply to any of these commercial advertisings.  WKMT picks and chooses what dialogue he will have, and then posts on his website the replies he likes.    This entire series of posts is for commercial gain and not intellectual dialogue. 

Stop feeding the troll.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #17 on: December 04, 2016, 05:43:52 PM »
Dogperson, I hear you.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #18 on: December 05, 2016, 01:32:31 AM »
Was it LostInWonder that posted concern about WKMT using these replies for his website?   Indeed, that is happening, as Keypeg's  post to 'steady beat, rhythm and tempo' was integrated into the OPs commercial website

http://www.i-am-a-spammer.com/single-post/2016/12/03/Replies-to-Veronica-Haros-November-Post
i thought I smelled a rat which seemed to get stronger every time I read wkmt's posts.
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Offline timothy42b

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Re: Piano Lessons - Steady beat, Rhythm and Tempo.
«Reply #19 on: December 12, 2016, 06:06:37 PM »
i thought I smelled a rat which seemed to get stronger every time I read wkmt's posts.

I just read one of the blog posts purporting to give authoritative information on the voice, only to find the source cited at the bottom:  reddit.

Tim