Relearning to count rhythms

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ♠♥CORNET♣♦, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. ♠♥CORNET♣♦

    ♠♥CORNET♣♦ Pianissimo User

    Oct 18, 2014
    New Jersey
    I have been playing trumpet for 6 years. The first 3 years I did not care about the trumpet and I would only practice about 30 minutes a week. But then I started to take it seriously and now I practice for about 2 hours a day. I am always first trumpet in every band I am in, and everyone compliments me on my tone and ability to play difficult pieces of music.

    When ever we get new music to learn I kind of make it up and play what I think is right. But the moment I get home I listen to the song on YouTube a few times and learn it by listening and looking at the notes. Then during a rehearsal I know how the song goes and so I am able to play it. Most of the other members of the band do not listen to the song but they are able to play it almost perfectly without ever hearing it before. I asked a few of them how they do this and they tell me they do this by counting.

    The truth is I can't count. I think because the first three years I did not pay attention to anything and would just fool around with my friends, I never learned to count. Now I realize that I need and want to learn. So I ask you how should I learn to count?
    Sorry about the long explanation, but please help!

    One more question: When you are playing a piece that you already have practiced 100s of times do you still count?
    Thank you
  2. Culbe

    Culbe Forte User

    Jul 25, 2014
    Maybe you're supposed to, but I don't. I would know it well enough to play without thinking, even the valves lock into place.
  3. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

    Mar 16, 2011
    Get a copy of Develop Sight Reading, by Charles Colin. Playing that stuff will tire your brain in a hurry :stars:, but in time you will learn to count and to sightread. :bravo:
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Subdivide and conquer. We are told that a quarter can be divided into 4 sixteenths. The zenarooni subdivision trick is to think of the quarter as four sixteenths combined together. Subdivision is knowing where the shorter notes lie during a longer note. Google "how to subdivide rhythms" and you'll find a ton of information.
  5. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

    Jun 11, 2006
    South Salem, NY
    The others in the band don't do it by counting, they do it by recognizing rhythmic patterns. To learn to count you would be advised to learn what a particular rhythmic pattern looks like in music. Rather like learning to read a language; babies have already been speaking for a while before they learn what the words they are ALREADY SPEAKING look like on paper. You only need to relate what you are already playing to how it would look on paper.
    An Issue with Musical Notation
  6. Dennis78

    Dennis78 Fortissimo User

    Feb 1, 2015
    My cognition during rehersal is terrible but I'll piece it together at home with a metronome. Also just watch the conductor and listen and count 1&2&3&4 or 1E&A or some crap like that. I don't know that I count well for me some rests may be shorter or longer than I think. Just relax and don't over think, once you have the tune you have it
    Peter McNeill likes this.
  7. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Just so you won't feel alone - a couple of comments:

    Chet Baker was a notoriously bad reader. When he was in both Army and college bands in his early years, he listened to the compositions and then played a part (his own) that fit the music. Mostly ears, leastly (is that a word?) eyes.

    I was teaching at a HS for the arts. One day a tenor player was out and the band director asked me if I wanted to sit in his place. As the rehearsal went on, I gradually realized that the guy sitting next to me was not always playing the written notes, but was always playing notes (and rhythms) that fit. When I mentioned it to him, he pleaded. "Oh Mister Gary, please don't tell Doctor X (the band leader). Me: "What's the problem, Mark?", He: "I can't read music.", LOL.

    Now, having made you feel better, ;-) , you still need to learn to read and read well, OK?

    First, as mentioned above, you need to learn individual rhythms. Subdivide the rhythmic figures and learn them in short groupings.
    Then, also mentioned above, start learning recognizable and common rhythmic units. Just a simple example, ♪- ♫♫/ (where - = an 8th note rest and / = a quarter note rest. Simple but very often used figure in jazz. Learn to see this measure as ~one~ figure, not as four separate beats. Later on, you'll see more complex or longer figures. Then when you read ahead, you don't think of individual notes, you think of figure groupings.

    How to apply this. Take four measures from one of your band pieces. Write above the notes what beat they are (1, 2, 3&, 4, etc.). Then, (very important), say the rhythms out loud. Then pick any note, and play the rhythms of the figure. Now play the figure as-is, rhythms and pitches.

    Look through an entire piece of music, and see if you can see where there are rhythmic pattern that are the same or similar. So this above work on these. Go to another piece and do the same thing.

    This is all about sight-reading and playing your music more correctly. It does not preclude your also practicing the music, measure by measure, phrase by phrase. By the way, when you practice your band music, don't just play each piece from the top to the bottom. Play and practice what you can't play, not what you can play.
  8. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    Having sat in with members of the Chicago Symphony (NOT in the symphony, of course) and other top notch Chicago area players, what separates them from good, adequate, or lousy amateur musicians is they subdivide way better than the rest.
    How the devil do you think they can play complicated orchestral music/ Broadway, jazz, and types of music other so easily and perfectly in time?
    When one truly learns to count properly, music and sight reading becomes much easier.
    There are few things worse than a lazy musician who doesn't count properly, amateur or otherwise.
    Rich T.
  9. Reedman1

    Reedman1 Piano User

    Sep 5, 2013
    NY, USA
    This is spot on. I realized recently that the secret to sight-reading is to never do it: study reading at home, and you won't have to worry about reading at rehearsal. (Sometimes you still have to count.)
  10. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    What do you mean, "never to do it"? If you're a professional, particularly, you're always sight reading. That's one of the skills that separates the men from the boys.

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