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Lesson 28: Playing with a Band – Rhythm Workout Level 1

This lesson focuses on a seemingly simple yet crucial skill for any musician: playing a chord on beat 1. You might be surprised to learn that many advanced players struggle with this. The aim here isn’t about chord voicings or reading sheet music (though the video includes new notes we haven’t covered yet, which you can learn by copying from the video). Instead, the focus is on finding and consistently hitting Beat 1 within a simple musical form.

Approach to the Lesson:

  1. Preparatory Step: Before starting on the piano, watch the video and count aloud “one two three four.” If you’re counting correctly, you should say “one” exactly when a chord is played. This step helps you internalize the timing.
  2. Recording Your Play: As you play along with the video, record yourself. Then, listen to the recording to check if you’re hitting the notes precisely with the video demonstration. Are you rushing or dragging? This self-assessment is crucial for improving your timing.
  3. MP3 Track Practice: Download the MP3 track featuring only bass and drums, without piano. Try to maintain the rhythm, marking beat one with your chords evenly and precisely. Record yourself and listen back. Repeat the counting exercise you did in the preparatory step to ensure your chords are landing on beat one.
  4. Listening to the Drum Groove: The drum groove in this exercise is something you’ve already practiced. If you count aloud again, you’ll notice the snare hits align with your counts of 2 and 4. This alignment confirms you’re counting correctly and staying in time.

Are you ready for the next Lesson?

Aiming for Consistency: Your goal is to play the exercise three times in a row correctly, without losing the beat. Achieving this level of consistency is a sign that you’ve mastered the rhythm and are ready to progress to the next lesson.

Being able to find and emphasize Beat 1 is a fundamental skill for playing with a band. It ensures you’re in sync with other musicians, particularly the rhythm section.