Do you struggle in keeping the steady tempo and correct rhythms in organ pieces that are more than 2 pages in length? Or perhaps you are frustrated because your teacher says your tempo and rhythms are off but you just can't seem to notice it? In this article, I will give you 6 tips which will help you to keep correct rhythms in longer pieces.
1. Feel the constant pulse. The most important thing which helps me in playing in steady tempo and in correct rhythms in short or long compositions is feeling of the pulse. Regardless of the difficulty level of the piece, your rhythms will be fine if you will keep the track of the pulse.
2. Count the beats in the measure. When the complicated rhythms throw your playing off balance, try counting the parts of the measure. Make sure you do not miss a single measure because if you do, very likely this is going to be a place where your rhythms are incorrect.
3. Subdivide the beats. Count not only the quarter notes but also the eight notes. If the meter is 4/4, count "one-and, two-and, three-and, four-and". If the smallest rhythmical unit is a sixteenth note, count "one-eh-and-ah, two-eh-and-ah, three-eh-and-ah, four-eh-and-ah".
4. Count out loud these subdivisions. Very often we imagine that our rhythms were correct when in reality they were not. To make sure you are counting correctly, practice saying the numbers aloud.
5. Do not use metronome when practicing. Use it only to check the starting tempo. Imagine that metronome is something similar to a crutch. You can't learn to walk by using a crutch. The same rule is valid in music when you want to learn to play in correct rhythms. You have to use your ears, not metronome.
6. Record yourself. This is a very powerful tip which I hope you will take advantage of. By recording yourself and attentively listening to the recording you can discover the mistakes you just made which otherwise would be difficult to spot. Unfortunately, far too few people are recording themselves in practice.
Use these tips when practicing to keep correct rhythms in longer pieces today. They will help you to overcome rhythmical problems in your organ playing.
By the way, do you want to learn my special powerful techniques which help me to master any piece of organ music up to 10 times faster? If so, download my FREE Organ Practice Guide.
Or if you really want to learn to play any organ composition at sight fluently and without mistakes while working only 15 minutes a day, check out my systematic master course in Organ Sight-Reading.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
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