LESSON 45 Counting the Beat


What you'll learn

Meaning and use of time signature
How to count the beat while performing rhythms


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    • I was sick for a few days during that period of filming, but the difference in sound is due more to the different audio and video technology we were using at the time. We’ve upgraded since then, so later videos have better sound.

  1. Hi Mr. Hoffman i’m 12 and as my holidays are going right now, i’m learning to play piano. I want to be an expert in piano so spend all my time in just playing this instrument. well i was wondering that is it correct that i’m doing 1 unit in 1 day? do you think that I’m going to fast? because when i used to learn french i used to learn so much in depth that i used to forget half of the things. will this same thing happen with me again?

    • If you are new to piano then, yes, one unit per day is too fast. Your fingers will take time to develop the strength and tone that they need to play well, plus our minds usually need time to relax, reflect, and review before concepts really sink in. If you move too quickly through the lessons, you will likely come to a point where your progress plateaus and you feel “stuck.” I would recommend you check out a couple of our blog articles about What Practice Time Should Look Like and When to Move On to the Next Lesson.

      If you have some piano experience already, and are working through the lessons as a review, it’s ok to move more quickly until you find a section that begins to offer new concepts and challenges. I hope that helps! Good luck and happy playing.

  2. I was wondering, do you have a recommended practice time or schedule to accompany each lesson? My daughter is going through each one by one, and does 10 or so lessons a week. Is that too fast to entrench those skills? Thanks.

    • 10 lessons in a week is faster than I would generally recommend, but it depends a great deal on the student’s experience. If your daughter has studied piano in the past and is working through the current lessons as a review, going through them quickly is fine. However, if your daughter is new to piano, I would recommend putting the breaks on. 2-3 new lessons per week is a good goal for a beginner.

      If a student rushes through the lessons, they may listen and think, “Yeah, I get that!” and move right on without actually practicing the concepts and exercises enough for things to sink in, and their fingers don’t get to develop the necessary tone and control. The result is usually that the student “plateaus” – they get to a point where they feel “stuck” or like they “don’t get it anymore,” which is really hard on motivation. You might want to take a look at these article we’ve posted in our Support area: When to Move on To the Next Lesson and The Power of Deliberate Practice.

      I hope that helps. Good luck and happy playing! – Mr. Hoffman

    • We’re working on the curriculum for Unit 7 right now! I’m sorry we haven’t been able to produce new lessons as often as people want up to this point, but we are putting improved processes in place that will make lesson development a more streamlined process in the future, so we can add new ones more often and at a more consistent rate. Thanks for your interest! – Mr. Hoffman

  3. I have a question Mr. Hoffman, so lets say there are three beats per measure and one of those is a whole note will it keep going through to the next measure or is that not possible?

    • Great question. A whole note would not be the right way to dictate the rhythm, no. The number of beats per measure should always total up to the top number of the time signature. If you wanted to hold a note for four counts in 3/4 time, you could use a dotted half note in the first measure, then a quarter note in the next measure with the notehead on the same line or space as the previous measure, and you would use a curved line called a tie to indicate that it should be held through those counts, rather than played as two separate notes. …but that’s another show! :) – Mr. Hoffman

  4. Mr. Hoffman you have a wonderful way of explaining things. But why there is a lot of difference between your tone that you play in the starting and the tone you explain to us. Is that the process of teaching or you are reducing the level? I’m confused.

    • I’m afraid I don’t quite understand your question. By “tone that you play” and “tone you explain” do you mean notes or my way of speaking? – Mr. Hoffman

      • What I mean is when you start explaining a song, you play it in a way much different from the way you explain it to us for practice. Why do you do so?

        • Ok, I understand. I use this method in many of my lessons for a few reasons: It’s important for students to practice recognizing the melody along with other notes going on (the accompaniment). Also, listening to a fun arrangement helps familiarize you with the song and prime your aural skills to more easily play it by ear. However, I would never expect a beginner to learn a full two-hand accompaniment so early in your piano training. I hope that makes sense. Good luck and happy playing! – Mr. Hoffman

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