tapping foot while playing...

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tapping foot while playing...

Post by Claiken » Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:43 pm

while many people do this automatically, i never have. i find it easier to internalize the rhythm and just play along with a metronome. (say, to T&G number 1). but my teacher wants me to be able to tap and play... but my brain kinda wants to explode, having to think about my foot, my fingers, my tone, the metronome... everything.

does anyone have any tips on how to do this?

i really dont see why its necessary to be able to do either... as performers NEVER stand up there tapping their foot. enlighten me?

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Post by Buttercup » Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:09 pm

Cripes, your teacher wants you to LEARN tapping your foot? Are you having problems with rhythm or something? Normally I would not advise foot-tapping, it is a really unreliable way to keep time and if it becomes a habit then can become an annoyance for the audience and your band/orchestra-mates!!

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Post by Claiken » Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:10 pm

that is why she wants me to learn - to better my rhythm, but i feel i am better at staying on time with just the metronome, rather then the metronome on and have to make sure my foot is moving and on time. its just one more thing my brain needs to be thinking about, on top of tone, fingers close to keys, getting the right notes, etc etc. and when the fingers are tougher combo's, my brain kind of explodes trying to do everything at once.

luckily she doesnt want me to do this while learning a piece, just for warmups, but i still, in school band or anything, ive never felt the need to tap and play. nor has any conductor ever told me to before. some people do and it works for them, maybe they just do it naturally, but i just always felt it was a preference thing, rather then something that people needed to know how to do. you know?

plus, its something that a performer will never do while performing. thats what i dont get too. like, we use tone, technique, etc out there on the 'playing field' so those exercises make sense, but nobody ever taps their foot while performing a sonata. you know?

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Post by atoriphile » Mon Mar 10, 2008 7:13 am

Just a guess, but how is your rhythm when playing without a metronome? If it's not steady, perhaps your teacher wants you to internalize the beat. Maybe she thinks that if you can beat your foot in time, then you will be able to keep time without the metronome.

I agree with Buttercup that it's a bad habit to get into. A better exercise might be to have you clap along with the metronome or a recording so that you internalize the beat, then immediately afterwards (while it's still fresh in your mind) having you try playing the piece.

Again, this is just a guess. If you can play in rhythm without a metronome (and without tapping your foot), then I would ask your teacher exactly why she wants to teach you this bad habit?

Best of luck!

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Post by Claiken » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:47 pm

this is all based on my own opinions of my playing, but. i do think, provided i already have the notes under my fingers, that my rhythm is very accurate, unless theres some weird thing, but then i work it out & remember it from then on. (like, i used to be confused by dotted eighths followd by 16ths, but since i started calling them "Teem-ri"s, its so easier now)

when im just listening to music though, i can find and tap/clap/head nod to the beat SO easily. in my advanced skills class, rhythms/rhythm dictations are my strong point.

its just more when im trying to do so much at the same time its hard for my brain to process almost. its like by the time i think it, half of the beat has already gone by and i get off. but, without foot tapping, but with a metronome, i have alot easier of a time playing and staying in time. i feel almost like im hindering my own progess by learning tapping, a possibly un-needed skill.

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Post by candi » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:48 pm

I don't tap my foot, but I do rhythmically move my upper torso, kinda like a human metranome, but I do try to do it unobtrusively. You can just use your mind to do it.

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Re: tapping foot while playing...

Post by wulf » Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:47 am

Claiken wrote:i really dont see why its necessary to be able to do either... as performers NEVER stand up there tapping their foot. enlighten me?
Which performers? I'm much more of a bassist than a flautist (20+ years on one and < 2 months on the other) and I've found foot tapping to be quite common in most of the groups I've played in.

I can see that it might not be so suitable in an orchestral setting when there are a lot of musicians all watching a conductor but, for less formal settings like a jazz quintet (here's mine) it doesn't hurt and can be a positive benefit, along with other body movements, in communicating among the band.


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Post by fluteguy18 » Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:20 am

I don't ever tap my foot, unless I am in woodwind quintet. In that ensemble, I only do it if I can feel things pulling apart. In our group, I am typically the one who gives cues and "directs" the ensemble while playing. So, when things fall apart, I pull it together either by tapping my foot [ where everyone can see it], or beat the pulse with my flute.

When playing solo, or in a large ensemble, I rarely do any foot tapping. The only time that I can remember it, is in a piece that our Universty Wind Symphony did. At one point in the piece, the Instrumentalists were in one time signature, and the Choir was in a different time signature.

So, as soon as we got to that point in the music, I [Principal Flute] and my friend [Principal Clarinet] both began giving subtle body cues because the conductor was conducting the choir leaving the instrumentalists up to our own devices. In this instance, I tapped my heal, and emphasized the pulse with my head/flute and the Principal Clarinet did the same thing by doing a subtle side to side motion. These weren't huge gestures, but just big enough that we kept things together across the ensemble.

In most instances however, it is inappropriate and unneccessary for me to tap my foot in my ensembles. So, I just don't do it. I might help give subtle cues in Orchestra and WW Quintet, but other than that, I don't do anything.

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Post by vampav8trix » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:28 am

I find that a large ensamble foot tapping is very annoying. Try sitting in an audience and listening to a band with a lot of habitual foot tappers. I don't recommend learning to tap your foot to the beat. Try some of the other suggestions that others have mentioned.

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Post by Dusk » Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:39 am

I used to foot-tap, but it just stopped somehow. Now I'm just able to count in my head as I play. I'm not recommending anybody to attempt to learn foot-tapping; It's extremely annoying for other performers and the audience. I once went to a concert in which one performer was constantly swaying from side to side-- and I mean extremely noticeably. If you let things become habitual, they will control you.
Honor is for the living; death has none.

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Post by Claiken » Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:10 pm

i prefer (and find it easier as it requires less thought, IMO) to pulse my chest, as someone else said. not huge or highly noticable, but i do prefer that. i also find that my foot itself gets fatigued VERY VERY quickly!!!

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