Rhythmically Inept?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jdostie, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

    Feb 20, 2008
    I am very frustrated with myself. We were reading through some new stuff last night, cut time, and lot's of off-beat stuff. Somehow, I understand if you will, I can tell you how it's supposed to divide up, how it should be counted or whatever, but when trying to play it, I find it impossible to count, well almost impossible, if I sat down and wrote out 1e+a2e+a on the music I'd probably be ok, but no time for that in a group.

    I don't think it's just the tempo either, I was working through some Arban's stuff as an assignment from my teacher, trying to play with the metronome nice an slow. Similar situation, here, a rhythmic pattern similar to previous exercises that I had no trouble with, but on off-beats. It drove me nuts. I resorted to putting it into finale notepad and timing my mouse-click with the metronome and playing it over and over to get it right.

    Using finale notepad is probably a crutch I should not have resorted to, but it got me practicing the music properly and was expedient for the short term. I don't know what to think. I think that as a kid, marching kind of tied it all together because there were lots of queues going on, either what someone else was playing, or what was happening in the drill?

    Very frustrating.
  2. mrtrpt

    mrtrpt New Friend

    Sep 23, 2007
    practice easy scale exercises with basic rhythms everyday for a few minutes.

    Take a C scale and play quarter notes: C, C, C, C, whole rest D, D, D, D, whole rest, E, E,E,E etc.

    Then change from 4 quarters to: quarter, quarter, two eights, quarter for the next scale, always putting a whole rest between each new pitch. then a new pattern for the next scale. Or use one pattern going up and another coming down.

    come up with as many different one measure rhythm patterns as you can think of and do it everyday. For off beats try this stepping stone pattern: play a measure of all eighth notes (1+ 2+ 3+ 4+) and accent all of the "and's"

    This is a great way to kill many birds with one stone. Scales, rhythm, tonguing, sound, entrances, patience...

    Another thing to do is really break down the section you are working on into very small sections. If it is an eight bar phrase you are having trouble with, work on it literally a half measure to a measure at a time, and don't always start at the beginning of the measure.

    And of course... practicing slowly never hurts :)

  3. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    It is a natural tendency to emphasize the beats. 1 2 3 4 , or 1 2 3 4 In Arban there are syncopation exercises which get you emphasizing 1&2&3&4& , 1 2 3 4 etc. It is hard to break into this. Practicing scales with the emphasis on re, fa, la, do, mi, sol, ti or up: re, fa, la, do, then down la, fa, re ... Then move up a step to the dorian and continue emphasizing: mi, sol, ti, re, fa, la, do...

    I find sometimes I move the emphasis back the the odd or on beat automatically, it is so ingrained. You have to just keep practicing it.

  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Welcome to the majority of trumpet players.

    There is only one solution and it is old school and no one wants to hear it.

    Rhythm is only learned by practicing VERY slowly, and only moving forward when perfection has been reached. Bad habits will haunt you for the rest of your life.

    I think a metronome should be required for the first 5 years or so of trumpet lessons.

    Everything that we play needs to be in rhythmic control. There is no excuse for bad rhythm, even on a bad day.

    Slow down, break the phrases down and do not accept less than 100%
  5. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

    Feb 20, 2008
    Thanks, these are what I was expecting to hear. I'm obviously just expressing frustration. Frustration because I actually understand it, and yet still seem to have trouble with it, and think there is no excuse.

    I have an especially hard time of it when working with a group as last night because they want to move much faster than I am ready to go. Conceptually I understand, but at 116 bpm and cut time, I just could not keep up, I ended up just "feeling" it.

    I'm considering a dr. beat for subdividing measures, but wonder if that's just a crutch as well, and should just force myself to work with the standard metronome.
  6. rbdeli

    rbdeli Mezzo Piano User

    May 8, 2009
    First off, don't worry about it.
    Recognizing and admitting your problem is the first step to solving it.
    Remember that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. As a result we have to spend more time practicing on our weaknesses. Rhythm and counting was my own achiles heel back when I played seriously.

    Look for trumpet method books that address synchopation, counting and rhythm. Read as much music as you can everyday and play duets or combos with people.read, read read.. It will start to click.

    Playing and reading from Jazz Solo Books will help you see and learn to recognize a bunch of different rhythm patterns, eighth-note rests, etc..

    Try a Chet Baker book because it's rhythmic, but won't distract you with difficult technical licks.

    Chet Baker Jazz Play Along for Trumpet

    (about $14.00 on eBay)

  7. ChopsGone

    ChopsGone Forte User

    Jan 26, 2009
    Northern California
    If you think you're starting to master syncopation, you can get a good measure of just where you stand by trying the syncopation-specific part of Charlier's "Transcendental Etudes" - a standard which belongs in every collection.
  8. R.T. Swing

    R.T. Swing Pianissimo User

    Feb 6, 2007
    When I struggle with any rhythm. I will work it out very slowly, and when its in my head, I practice every time I walk. This is great as sometimes I walk fast and put the rhythm in double time. Or if I'm not in a hurry, half time.
  9. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    Listen to more (or just in general) Aretha Franklin.
    While this sounds a little strange as a suggestion, listening to music with a strong emphasis on the beats can give YOU a better internal rhythm with which to base the rhythms on the page off of
  10. Bloomin Untidy Musician

    Bloomin Untidy Musician Piano User

    Jan 14, 2008
    My recommendation is lots of band playing, playing with musicians that are better than you. Nit picking conductors, and strong section leaders aside from home practice with a metronome will help you. Whatever you do, don't drop banding because of a lack of confidence/inexperience. Banding is an essential part of musicianship. The practice room alone will not help. You will still have to face the conductor who cant give a clear beat, or rushes.

    We all have times when we feel under-power until we gain experience. It is all part of the eternal learning experience that is musicianship.

    Good luck


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