Nev discusses the importance of good timing.
I’ve had issues with my timing in recent years. As a younger chap, with the confidence of an age where things have come together and youthful self-belief carries you through most things, I played with ease and didn’t rush it.
For some reason, as I’ve got older I’ve lost a lot of that playing confidence and can get nervous of situations - a big upcoming solo, someone important watching, or whatever - and the first thing that goes is my timing. I start to panic and end up cramming poorly played notes in, rather than relaxing and giving myself time to do it properly.
Were I to take my own advice I’d develop a regime that involved learning relaxation techniques, and doing various playing exercises that gave me enough headroom, and time, to play with the confidence and ease with which I used to.
If you find yourself facing similar struggles (or until now hadn’t recognised your own problems as being timing based), then Jon Bishop’s main feature this month is for you.
Using a metronome or click track (if you don’t have a metronome there are many smartphone apps that provide a click), Jon has devised a set of exercises that are interesting and rewarding to play, but which also test your ability to do so in time. Rushing ahead is one of we guitarists’ commonest faults, and if you fall into that category this is a great way to train yourself out of bad habits.
It’s also worth pointing out a couple of other things: do you find yourself tensing up, perhaps hunching your shoulders and not letting your whole body relax? If so, make an effort to drop your arms and loosen yourself up. And do you breathe slowly and steadily while you play? Weirdly, some people hold their breath when it comes to that big moment - this, and the hunched shoulders, is a sure giveaway that you are not relaxed. And if that’s the case your chances of playing a cool and in-time rhythm part or solo, are right out of the window! I’d love to get some feedback about Jon’s article once readers have had a chance to practise the exercises. I’ll let you know how I get on, too. See you next month...