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Tips for improving timing (Singing teachers)

2 replies, 3 voices Last updated by Shane Chauhan 4 months, 2 weeks ago
  • Creator
  • #15095
    Candi Underwood

    I have a student who’s pitch and tone is really coming along but she struggles so much with her timing.

    We’ve tried clapping as she sings and she’s fine to find the beat when she doesn’t sing but as soon as she starts she goes off time. I’ve also tried using a metronome but she’s really resistant and says it puts her off.

    I’m a bit stuck for ideas. Has anyone else had any experience with this?


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  • Author
  • #15101

    Eliza Jane Fyfe
    Points: 122

    I find metronomes much harder actually (even for me!) – they’re very robotic and distracting – clapping is the same as it’s easy to be clumsy/clunky. It’s more about feeling the pulse within the student’s body – get her to lightly bounce or tap her thigh, or you can tap the pace on her arm if she doesn’t mind. Sing the melody against the arm-tapping / bounce and then with the music so she can actually feel how the melody and then music fits with the pulse. Don’t add music until it makes sense as just a melody against a pulse, or just the pulse against the music. Then show her the accents of the first beats of the bar in the music, and where the melody fits around it. She doesn’t have to count beats of the bar, but you can, so she is aware of the beats where you have to wait before coming in, for example.

    I hope that makes sense? I find this the hardest to teach. But it can improve! Good luck 🙂


    Shane Chauhan
    Points: 36


    I’ve found the same with some of my students. For the ones who really struggled, I planned lessons purely on rhythm and came up with some percussive vocal exercises helping them to learn beats and subdivisions.

    It works wonders! Once they get rhythm, even to a basic level, they tend to understand phrasing a LOT better. Plus it means you can tell them what do do in musical terms if they get stuck, which I think is basically an essential skill.

    If you want some of these exercises let me know and I’ll happily send them over 🙂

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