A Good Sense Of Timing
An integral part of playing music is learning to play at a consistent speed. Now personally, I don’t believe that anyone can just ‘do’ this. Like everything, some people take to it more naturally than others, and some people say they have a ‘natural sense of rhythm’, but playing at a consistent speed over a period of time is not a natural thing to do. We have to learn it. Everyone has to learn it. Everyone has to practice it in order to improve. Traditionally, this is done with a metronome, which to be fair is not that much fun, which is probably why people don’t bother when they really should.
Who’s Responsibility Is It To Keep Time?
Whatever you play, you need to work on your sense of timing. It is every musicians’ responsibility to work on this aspect of music. It is the timing that keeps everyone together, and makes the difference between noise and music. Listen to someone practicing guitar and stumbling over difficult chord changes, then speeding up through the easy ones – it’s as off putting as singing out of tune, and breaks the flow of the music. If you play in a band with a drummer, you’ll have a big help keeping time, but this doesn’t mean it’s not your responsibility to develop a strong sense of timing. Many of you won’t have the experience of playing with a drummer regularly, or at all, so you can’t leave it all to them anyway.
Try practicing with a drum loop rather than a metronome – it’s much more organic and enjoyable.
Here’s a loop at 100bpm – grab your music and have a play along.