Everything A Musician Should Know About Tempo

Tempo is an important aspect of all music, and this video helps you make it a tool for your toolbox.

Sometimes you go too fast. Sometimes you go too slow. You don’t realize it. This is a problem if your goal is to sound as good as you can.
My biggest compaint when I watch a band play isn’t the crappy singer. It isn’t the dry or muddy guitar tone, it isn’t the mix.

It’s the tempo. It’s always the tempo. I live in Nashville, I tour for a living, and I see a lot of opening bands all over the country and the amount of similarity between every local band in Jacksonville, Milwaukee, Boston, Sacremento, and everywhere between is spooky. They all, almost unanimously, have no idea what speed the song is supposed to be and have no ability to play it at that speed.

Be a professional. Push past this ameatur level of guessing at what the speed of the song is supposed to be. You aren’t a jedi yet, but there is a way.

I made a video that shows you how to solve 99% of the tempo problems I see. The top guys know what 80bpm feels like. They know what 130bpm feels like. They know that song 1 in the set list is 92bpm and song 2 is 107bpm. It’s not random. It’s not guesswork. If you want to be a part of that world, then take a few minutes and join in understanding tempo and using it as a tool.

PS: Arguments that are invalidated by membership in a regional cover band:

“Playing with a click takes the feel out of the music”

“My favorite band from 1962 never used a click”

“Speeding up raises the energy”

“No click lets you play off the energy of the crowd”

“Classical music doesn’t have a steady tempo”

These things apply to Ben Folds, they don’t apply to you. He practices more than you (and me). He’s capable of playing the correct tempo. You probably are not. Please realize this and work on this.

I love you guys and that is why I share this. Best of luck and Merry Christmas!

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-Jim