Piano, Organ, and Keyboard/piano


I have difficulties with counting and playing syncopation.
When I play a piece very slow it is easy to count and know how long each note should be. How can I learn to play the piece in a correct fast speed?
Syncopation is another difficult area. How can I learn to play syncopation?
I do take piano lessons but I still don't really manage this.
Do I need certain practices (on and off the piano) or is it something else?

When it comes to counting, I hear ya!  I admit, it's hard for me, too.  Many players use a metronome (and I think they now have them in digital).  It seems to take an "inner discipline" where you count to yourself and hold the notes for the right amount of time.  The problem many players have--myself, included--is the inclination to play fast. After watching players on TV, we get the idea that to play well, you have to play fast.  Counting properly does require discipline.  To do that, you count to yourself, even maybe count out loud.  What would likely help is to accompany a singer or musician.  Then, you have to count properly.  (Once, I accompanied a singer at a wedding and I really sweat!)  Being an accompanist may be a good way to train yourself in counting. (You don't want to get ahead of them!)
    Syncopation, I'd say, is largely about reading "syncopated" notes.  Syncopated rhythms are like eighth notes to eighth rests--which you play short--or dotted eighth to sixteenth notes. You need to know how to play them.  With some music, you have to "figure out" some very complex rhythms.  You find this in jazz and Latin music.  It's basically about how to read the notes.
    Hope this helps.


Piano, Organ, and Keyboard

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Joel Bjorling


I can answer general questions about playing the piano, playing technique, and piano literature.


I have played piano for over forty years. I have taught private piano. I have also played in church. I am especially interested in the piano as a music ministry. I have also written several compositions for piano.

I'm a past member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers.

Making Music Magazine Newsletter of the Illinois Country Music Association

BA, Behavioral Science, Oral Roberts University (1975) MA, McCormick Theological Seminary (1980) I have had courses in Music Appreciation, Music Theory, and in Hymnology

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]