Public Space for "Improving your rhythm!": Beyond the Metronome with Johnandrew Slominski

We’ve probably all been told, “Practice slowly!” or, “Don’t rush!” and almost certainly, “Use the metronome!”  These statements can be valid, but how we treat time, rhythm, and meter in our playing, and what we do—that's a much more nuanced thing.  In this Two-Week Intensive, we explore unique practice techniques that impact how we use tempo, technique, rubato, and expression.


BYOP: Bring your own Piece! This challenge does not rely on specific repertoire, so feel free to pick any piece that best suits your current abilities. 

Pianists of all levels are welcome. You may choose how much of the piece you would like to work on. It can be a phrase or a page. 

More Detailed instructions coming soon!

Assignment 1


Explore the pulse strategies introduced in the demonstration video.  Choose 2 strategies (your favorites, or the ones you find most challenging/rewarding/interesting) and record yourself demonstrating two passages in your choice of repertoire—one passage per strategy.  Please include a PDF of the score and the title of the piece.




Choose a passage of a piece from the nineteenth-century repertoire.  Practice singing the melody or leading line (yes, out loud), marking points where gestures or phrases end and where you choose (or need!) to breathe before the next musical idea.  Next, sing or speak subdivisions at the smallest rhythmic level you’re playing, or next smallest (e.g., if you’re playing a passage that’s all eighth-notes, your sung or spoken subdivisions will be no slower than eighths, and likely sixteenths).  I suggest using a neutral syllable such as “bum” or “ta.”  


Record yourself doing two things:


1) Physically breathing, while you play, at the places you’ve identified as ending points, paying attention to the speed of your breath and the time it takes to accommodate a natural inhale; and separately,


2) Speaking subdivisions aloud on a neutral syllable as you play—your goal is to use these subdivisions to drive rubato intentionally and expressively.  Extra imaginary internet points if you sing with your subdivisions!  Please include a PDF of the score and the title of the piece.

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