Improve Your Timing With A Rhythm Trainer
With intentional practice, you can improve your timing. A FUNdamental way to do this is to use a metronome to play at a steady tempo. You can also use a metronome to gradually speed things up.
A more advanced practice is to use a special metronome called a Rhythm Trainer which alternates the beat with periods of silence. During that silence, you have to keep playing in time. When the beat returns, you’ll instantly know if kept the beat.
Here’s a rhythm trainer with four beats on, four beats of silence.
This is tests of your internal clock. You want to land right on the beat after that period of silence. If you can do that consistently, then your internal clock is pretty good.
Since this is a more advanced practice, make sure you can play something at a steady tempo with a metronome before trying it with a metronome.
Your performance with timing will decline when playing things that are challenging for you. That’s because your attention is not fully focused on timing.
Otherwise, rhythm trainer practice is the same process as using a metronome.
Start with single notes and then practice progressively more complex things (intervals, scales, phrases, tunes). I call this the STEP™ process: Simple To Elaborate Progression.
I’ve created rhythm trainer tracks at different tempos. Find them on the Beat Central page.
You can also do this in apps like Pro Metronome or Strum Machine to do the rhythm trainer practice.