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Richie Beirach on developing an instinctive sense of time

Remember the scene in the movie What About Bob where Bob Wiley (Bill Murray), terrified of being on a boat, is tied to the mast as he proudly yells, “I sail! I’m sailing! I’m a sailor!”?

That’s my inside joke with Richie Beirach when we talk about him reading comments from my blog.

He might not like me sharing this, but it wasn’t too long ago that Richie didn’t even know what a blog comment was. Now he’s writing them! Cool!!

“I blog! I’m blogging! I’m a blogger!!

I asked Richie to read from the 100 comments attached to a couple of recent posts. The comments were filled with descriptions of what players most struggle with when playing jazz. Richie also wrote a few replies to some of theose comments, but don’t let the children near them!

Richie’s immediate reaction was, “I have to answer these people. I can help them.”

So he got busy preparing for a video. We talked a few times about what he wanted to say, and then we got online and recorded 90 minutes of Richie sharing how he and his friends learned to get really good at playing jazz. He covered a LOT of topics.

The video covers some basic fundamental stuff that he really has never taught at the university.

I want to give you a sample, so I pulled out a 20-minute excerpt of Richie talking about developing good time. He had some very cool things to say about making good time instinctive. And you may be surprised by what he has to say about our old friend the metronome. You are free to agree or disagree.

I think that having good time is the most important attribute for a musician to master. It’s the foundation of their groove and their musical voice. It’s also much of what the listener responds to. Rhythm is inside each of us through our heartbeat and numerous cycles.

You must have a great feel for the time.

So watch this video clip and let me know if this makes sense and how you might apply this to improve your own time.

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Michael Lake

Trombonist, author, marketer, & tech guy

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