Prompted by a lively discussion in the Facebook Group Piano Teacher Central, I decided to host a live debate on YouTube! This is the recording of our “debate” on counting. The teachers who joined me were Mike Langer, Brian Lotter, Jeff Millis, Val Muller, Harrison Richter, and Jordan Thomas. It was a very thought-provoking discussion where we discussed the meaning of “counting”; if and how it helps students learn rhythms; other ways to learn, know, and feel rhythms besides counting; and using words and syllables instead of just numbers. Below are some of my favorite quotes from the episode.

Jordan said, “They’re so worried about trying to figure out ‘am I saying the right syllable at the right time?’ that it impedes whether or not they’re able to even play the rhythm.”

Jeff said, “Counting works for helping students understand mentally … it’s not really a feeling thing or a musicality thing, it’s purely academic, it’s intellectual. It’s to help students understand where we are in this music, in this measure, in this piece.”

Mike said, “A metronome does not give you rhythm. It’s some sort of external thing. You have to feel rhythm. We have a heartbeat that beats at a regular interval and we can divide that in certain ways. We walk in a steady beat. So I think rhythm has to start internally.“

It’s The Piano Sensei Way, so of course one of my favorite quotes is my own! I said, “Can you know the rhythm, understand the rhythm, understand where you are in the measure, and feel it without counting? I think the answer is yes!”

I know this will stimulate your mind, enjoy!

Creative Teaching Conference 

Watch video version