How Music Timing and Dynamics Can Change The Way You Play

Some people just have it....... Great Music Timing.

Have you ever listened to someone play the piano in a way that leaves you almost lost for words?

Playing with great timing is a skill that can make a very plain song sound enchanting. It forces you to keep listening, almost putting you in a spell.

Learning to have great timing is a skill that is not that hard to develop. It is what separates the average, so-so players, from the greats.

You could listen to two equally talented musicians play the same song. If one has great timing, they will sound better every time

Let’s talk about music timing and how this simple aspect will keep people talking long after you stop playing.

Not Just Timing

It’s not all about timing.

Having great timing is important to being a great piano player, but its not all there is.

Having a good touch on the piano comes from a number of factors.

How you use music dynamics, how quickly you raise and lower the keys, how you use the pedals are all factors that make a performance great.

You need to have good timing when playing the piano, but you also need to be able to have good flow.

Being able to use all the elements on the piano at once and make them work together almost flawlessly is what makes a performance great.

It’s not just about playing the notes on the page, there is an unteachable element involved that just makes some players sound great.

In order to have great music timing you need to focus on working on how you use all the elements on the piano together into one fluent unit. Adding expressions to certain notes, playing dynamically, and adding aspects of personality and emotion will make your playing stand out among the crowd.

The Human Element

If you have ever listened to one of those automated piano's that play themselves, you'll know what I mean by the “Human Element.”

Listening to a player piano sounds beautiful, but its nothing like listening to a live performance.

The player piano sounds mechanical, almost fabricated. There is almost a robotic sound to what it plays.

There is no emotion involved.

There is a human element to music timing that makes what they play sound so amazing. Simply playing the notes on the page can sound robotic, but playing a piece with great timing makes it come to life.

To really master the piano you need to master timing. Don’t just focus on playing a piece note by note. Add a human element to the song to make it your own. Add your own style and emotion to the piece.

If we could get the same sound from a player piano, or digital piano, we wouldn't need people to play them.

You! are what makes the piano sound so great, not the notes or the song.

Add your own personality to a song. Give it your own personal stamp.

Nothing’s Perfect

When you are first starting to learn to play the piano, you are focussed on learning every note name, note value, and musical symbol. You learn how long to hold out certain notes and rests to create a fluid song.

You have to know all these things go together to create a song. But remember, no one is perfect.

It is impossible to have a perfect performance. Even the best of the best players in the world cannot be 100% perfect.

This is the human element we talk about. You don’t need to be a master of playing in time to play the piano. This aspect of being slightly out of time is what makes a song sound musical and not robotic.

You don’t want to be so out of time however that everyone in the crowd can tell. But you want have a fluidness to your playing that gives emphasis on certain parts of the song and less on others.

Using music dynamics is another great example. Playing at one volume level throughout an entire song would bore even the most intent listener. Use loud and soft tones to tell a story with the song.

Use every element of music timing to create a song that sounds magical.

How To Get Great Music Timing

The first thing you can do to get a great timing for music is to practice.

When you are practicing a piece, make sure that you are focussing on your timing. Not only that the notes are in time, but you are playing in a way that shows emotion.

If you are playing alone, add slight pauses in to a song. Being a little off the beat is an acceptable way of playing. Add hesitations to a song.

Practicing these types of movements will make you become a more emotional player as well as adding a unique timing element to a song.

Listen to the greats. If you want to start playing with more emotion, then you need to listen to a player who you think fit the bill.

Listen to how they play and try and emulate their style. Remember it is not all about being right on the beat. It’s about causing the listener to have a great experience listening to you play.

Make your style of playing stand out. Don't play like a robot. Play like a human by creating your own individual identity with music timing. Make your playing flow by using all the elements of the piano to make a song sound as great as it can.

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