How To Play In Time Course
Do you struggle to play in time? Do you want to play faster on the fiddle? You can work on your timing, even if you’re an advanced player.
That question led to creating a mini-course of lessons, tips, exercises and workshops to help you tighten up your timing and play difficult rhythms.
- Practice timing on small things, then add complexity
- Play difficult rhythms on a single string
- Work on it every day, track your progress as you go
Who this course is for
People who have trouble playing at a steady beat and know it. If you’ve never worked on your timing, know that you can improve this with a little focused practice each day.
People who want to continue working on timing. As we get caught up in learning new tunes and techniques, we forget about FUNdamentals that we learned already. You may have already done some timing practice, but just need a refresher.
People who don’t think they have a problem with timing (but could probably use work). This is the category I fall into! At a certain point in my fiddle career, I thought I had pretty good timing.
My bandmate Jake Wood, the drummer from Diego’s Umbrella, told me that he was working on his timing. I wondered to myself, “If he’s working on his timing, then shouldn’t I also work on my timing?” Once I dove into it, I realized I could improve.
Tips and Fiddlosophy
Basic Accent Patterns On The Fiddle
I’ve created a library of timing tools called Beat Central. In it you’ll find a stomp metronome, rhythm trainers, and progressive tempo metronomes. You’ll also find other fun beats to play practice your scales and tunes with.
Use this simple, free Google metronome to practice timing.
Use a metronome app like Pro Metronome (for Apple or for Android).
Use a play-along track track app like Strum Machine.
These are hour-long, deep-dive lessons.
Playing At A Steady Tempo Workshop
The big picture
As I see it, there are Three Phases of Learning a Tune.
- Learning The Melody
- Making It Sound Good
- Adding Expression
Phase one means you can play the melody though by heart. It may not be perfect. But you basically have it.
In phase two you improve the sound. You work on Four Elements of Good Sound: Tone, Tuning, Timing and Flow.
It’s a good idea to work on these separately. This is called Micro-practice. In this course you’ll focus on timing. Bring it more into your awareness.
You can work on timing using STEP™ – Simple To Elaborate Process. Start practicing your timing on just a single note. Once you’ve gone deep on a single note, do progressively more complex things: intervals (two notes), scales, tune phrases, whole tunes. If at any point along the way you struggle, then stay there. Work at your edge.
Here’s what’s beautiful about STEP™. You can use it with anything: tone, tuning, flow, double stops, fiddle variation, etc.
At a certain point, you might find that your timing starts to improve. You can then switch to Macro-practice.
Integrate everything into a flowing performance. Don’t try to correct things. At that point, you move from thinking to a state of play. Yay!
Help make FiddleHed better
As you work on your timing you may have questions that aren’t answered. Or you may face challenges you can’t overcome. If so, please email me. It’s good students like you that make the course better for everyone else.