How To Practice Time
In this 5 minute masterclass we’re going talk about time, and how to improve you own time feel and detect your bad tendencies.
One of my main teachers, a great pianist and educator Olaf Polziehn taught me about the importance of time, and gave me numerous tips how to practice it. In this lesson I’m going to share some of these ideas.
Your Best Friend When Practicing… The Metronome
I like to use metronome almost 100 percent of the time when practicing. There are infinite amount of ways you can use it, from all different tempos to all divisions of the beat as well as complex metric modulations.
One of the most important exercises I learned from my teacher was simple etude from Charles-Louis Hanon, which I’m playing still almost every day. You can buy the Hanon book online or in any music store.
We will explore this exercise using the metronome as a guide.
Chordal Exercises Using 251s and 2516 Progressions
We will take a 4 bar long 25 progression in C. Let’s take a slow tempo and first play with simple voicings such as drop 2. First we will play half notes, then we can think triplets with the metronome, and practice placing the voicings on different triplets.
Next we will keep the same 2516, and play a whole note on left hand, whilst improvising in the right hand. We’re going to do this with the same slow tempo, but you can and should practice all these exercises in all different tempos.
Now, we can divide the quarter note into different divisions, from straight 8th notes to triplets, 16 notes, 16 note triplets and so on.
Listen To Your Time!!
Always whilst doing these exercises, remember to really listen your time, are you behind or front of the beat? and detect your bad tendencies, and work on those.
This is a nice way to practice different things simultaneously, and you can add more levels into this exercise; first of course in different keys, then for example with a walking bass line, and so on, the options and variations are limitless.
How To Practice Time – Lesson Notation File Type: pdf
Practice these exercises in different tempos, maybe a good range is 60 to 120.
Also play the exercises in different keys to improve your dexterity around the keyboard.
Try to land directly on the metronome beat. Pay attention to where you are landing. You must be critical and observant whilst doing these exercises.
- Also try to ensure that all of the notes are the same volume and sound.