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Developing Strong Inner Clock – Part 2

In this lesson to further strengthen our inner clock, we will be developing the ability to count an independent time signature while playing a written piece. The chart is the same from Part 1 and can be downloaded below. The chart is written in 4/4, but we will count out loud in anything but!

This will be very challenging at first, because seeing the bar lines as you read will inherently signal the end of a measure and the beginning of the next. With practice, you will begin seeing figures for their note values and how they relate to the MASTER CODE of time, regardless of the given time signature.

Here are the steps to developing this skill:

  1. Get comfortable playing the chart with your hands on the snare, counting aloud in 4/4 as written.
  2. Count in other time signatures with a quarter-note subdivision, e.g., 3/4, 5/4, and 7/4. (In the video, I demonstrate counting in 5/4.)
  3. Count in time signatures with an eighth-note subdivision, e.g., 5/8 and 7/8. (In the video, I demonstrate counting in 7/8.) You can count eighth-note subdivisions in two ways (using 7/8 as an example):
    • “1 2 3 4 5 6 7″ (make sure not to give the two syllables of “seven” two beats!)
    • I prefer counting with the Mike Mangini Not Quite Doubled (NQD) method, so I will count 7/8 as “1 & 2 & 3 & 4″. I do this for clarity and ease of pronunciation.
  4. Once you can count in both quarter-note and eighth-note subdivisions, practice counting in mixed-meter sequences! In the video, I demonstrate using the first ten digits of pi (Ï€ – 3.141592654 – I rounded the tenth digit) to create the following mixed meter sequence: 3/4 + 1/4 + 4/4 + 1/4 + 5/4 + 9/4 + 2/4 + 6/4 + 5/4 + 4/4.

Here are the three steps as demonstrated in the video:

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Print out the PDF and write the counts in and/or draw bar lines for initial help, if needed. Something I like to do is “laminate” charts and use a dry erase marker. However, you should strive to be able to superimpose your independent counting over any chart without writing it in!

I hope this video will open up yet another door to new ideas for you. Use your creativity. In a future lesson, I will show you a more musical application for this skill to create grooves and rhythmic textures.

See you next time!

sf_downloadpdf Download the PDF Chart