Guitar Teacher Boulder: Using Click Track
Hi friends, Lee Johnson of Boulder Guitar Studio here, with some info about the 5 main reasons that clearly show the importance of practicing and playing to a steady beat.
First, most beginner and intermediate students spend time practicing by themselves. They don’t play out professionally, with a band or solo, or at bluegrass picks or open mic’s. They don’t record in studios. Additionally, there is nothing holding them accountable to play to a steady beat. If they do any of these above items, playing with a click will simply improve the results!
ALL styles of music are played to a steady beat! So playing to a click track, and or the track of the song they are learning, are the 2 best ways to get that experience. Learning a few licks or riffs on youtube, can sound like you know what you are doing. However, playing licks, or riffs, is very different from playing whole songs.
5 Reasons to Play with A Click:
1. Developing Solid Technique:
to really develop solid rhythmic ability, students need help breaking down a strum pattern and being able to count. Knowing exactly what is happening on each beat is going to help much more than doing it by feel alone. If you can count, you can be sure you know what you are doing vs guessing! Generally, for the right hand, its important to develop solid technique going down on the beat, and up on the “and” if 1/8 notes are present. If 16th notes are present we use down up down up. In my programs I help you develop these skills early on. This way it’s no big deal to count as we progress and get into more complex strum or picking patterns.
2. Keeping Track of Progress:
A click not only helps you clearly define the strum pattern or picking pattern, it also helps you keep track of your progress. Many songs may be too fast to learn at full speed. So let’s say you know the goal is to get the lick or rhythm pattern down at full speed, for example 128 bpm. You may need to start at 78 bpm, and go incrementally to 88, 98, 108, 118 and then 128. This gives you a chance to break the technique down, learn it correctly. Once you do so, THEN start working on getting it up to speed. Increments of 10 bpm works well.
3. To play with other musicians:
The first rule to play with other musicians is to be able to keep solid rhythm. Otherwise its like trying to build a house on quicksand. If the foundation is not solid, it will all fall apart. Being able to reciprocate solid rhythm is not only good etiquette, it makes it fun. It’s NO fun to try to play with someone who can not keep a steady beat, it is the single most important thing to develop as soon in your playing career as possible. If you don’t have this skill, no one will want to play with you!
4. To communicate:
If you are playing with other musicians, you will need to communicate with them. If you cant count, while playing, you have no way to say “hey this accent needs to happen on the “and” of beat 3 and you are doing it ON beat 3″ for example. To walk the walk, you have to talk the talk. You have to know your stuff, and be able to communicate it in musical terms. Trying to describe where the accent falls without reference to the beat is pretty hopeless, and shows that you don’t have a clue! Don’t be that musician!
ALL recordings are done to a click track. If you record without a click and want to overdub other parts later, you will have to go back and re do the original part to a click. Parts are very difficult to add to a track that fluctuates. ALL professional players have these skills down, and asking them to try to follow your erratic playing makes it very hard. Even the best players expect a track to have rhythmic integrity as a given. Also, If you are a songwriter, you need to write your lyrics to a click so the syllables fall in the right places. Finally, writing without a click has no form, nothing that you are being relative to, to keep you on track.
Here is a link to a cool article I found that discusses the importance of playing to a click for recording purposes:
I hope you find this info helpful! Also, check out our website http://boulderguitar.com and email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions, or want info about getting started in a custom program to suit YOUR needs, either in person, or via skype.
Finally, I also have a team of instructors to go to students homes. This service is available through my new business My Local Music Lessons. To browse instructors simply enter your location and instrument. To book lessons simply click “purchase lessons” button, enter location, and instrument. Then choose instructor and time and day. You can browse without being charged. You can back out if you don’t find what you need, and start a new search.