NEW HOMEPAGE LANDING PAGE Forums Practice Questions Ain’t Got No Rhythm

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    • #25950

      Ain’t Got No Rhythm (or Don’t Know Nothin ’bout birthin’ no Beat, Miss Scarlet)

      (Forgive me if this has been discussed, but I have searched the site and come up empty.)

      Starting from absolute scratch 10 months ago, I have been diligently practicing nearly every day. I have learned to play a few pretty waltzes and simple jigs (poorly). I was quite smug in my satisfaction until I recently had a buddy over who is currently learning to play the banjo (though he has some prior musical experience). It did not go well.I knew the notes, it sounded like a song when I played it alone….but playing together….there was no synch.

      What is this thing called rhythm? I have no beat evidently. He would strum the beat while I played the melody and I felt like the proverbial dog trying to learn calculus. I do scary “life and death” things at work every day. I have nearly killed myself numerous times in adventure sports. All done with a slow heart rate on calm focus….But I hear someone say “one, two, three, four, and….” ….and I get all sweaty, confused, and incoherent. “Relaaaaaax” you no doubt say. And I have tried, even employing a few beers or wine(always worked to get me on the dance floor), but still no tracking of the beat in my core self.

      Maybe I just don’t have it. Discouraging. I mean I enjoy playing waltzes alone to my own inner beat (oh my gosh I bet it is terribly off)…but I had hoped to jam with my mates over a few drams some day. Seems impossible now . Over the last week I have read about reading music and timing signatures, and rhythm. I get it intellectually…but not functionally.

      Dear Maestro, what Fiddlehed secret sauce might you have to help overcome this roadblock? How does one practice with a metronome? What does that mean? I turn on a metronome and hear it in the background as I prattle on with my sequential notes, all with no apparent connection to the beat. What practice strategies might you suggest?

      Help me oh great one,

      Synchless in Sturgeon Bay

    • #25984

      Hey I did find your “7 steps to playing with a beat” lesson. /how-to-practice-fiddling/how-to-play-with-a-beat/

      I will work on it following those steps. I still do not really understand though, what it means to “play with the beat”. Each note, phrase, or rest bowed on the beat pulse? …..I’ll keep working on it.

      • #28954

        This was soooo helpful, thanks for asking Colliefiddle and thanks for answering Moonshaddows. I need both links you each posted
        cool. And feel much of what you are saying too.

        I get twitchy when I play something with the tracks or with the lesson when Jason says, “let’s play it. . . ” and then I lose a note or two and fall behind. I’ve learned that means I’m not at that speed yet. A slower tempo solves the problem and I stop twitching 😉 Sometimes I loop enough where I lost the beat to come back in or do over. Also the simpler beats and tracks work better for me because there’s less to catch my ear and make me think I did something wrong, when maybe I didn’t– dangerous negative spiral can be avoided with simpler tools. I think that’s why I like the low fiddle tracks so much, because they give a beat but I hear mostly my own fiddle unless I stop to listen. . . I hear there’s a tool to slow those down if those are too fast, but I’ve not gone there yet. I have bad memories of being in a room with a nun and a metronome at a piano, and of a ballet teacher with a stick. PTSD aside, this practice is quite joyful if I don’t try to go too fast.

        And here is a metronome app for kids that I found both scary and funny. I think the kids I work with would run from this little leprachaun, but I appreciate the effort to make it fun

        I wish we could do this in person. Fun conversation to have. But I looked up Sturgeon Bay and haven’t been to Wisconsin in over 30 years. Holler if you ever come to Seattle

    • #26135
      Jim Guinn

      I’ve been trying to reply to you on this thread for over a week, but each time I do, my post disappears. Since I had luck in another thread tonight I thought I would give it another try.

      Another lesson that might help you with beat can be found in Jason’s YouTube videos (not on the site here). It helped me a lot.
      How to Use A Metronome – Practice Technique –

    • #26572
      Jim Guinn

      My pleasure! Hope it helps.

    • #28948

      Replying in solidarity! I have only a half dozen songs but now that my intonation and tone are pretty decent (I think, I hope!) I’m going to spend the next few weeks working on my rhythm before doing any new lessons are learning any new songs. I had my son try to play a few chords along with Will The Circle Be Unbroken and we just couldn’t mesh for anything. He’s a better musician than I am, so I’m sure it was me! I’m also hoping to play along with a few others at some point.

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