How to teach Rubato?? : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I'm having trouble teaching rubato. I've talked about the concepts of "robbing time" and "making it up" and demonstrated it but I can't seem to show my student this concept very effectively. Any suggestions?

Thanks, Diana

-- Diana (, June 22, 2003


Verbalizing can be really helpful here. Invent some words (or just use your regular counting words) to speed up/slow down as you play. Playing a game with stretching rubber bands can also illustrate the push and pull of the sound.

-- Arlene Steffen (, June 26, 2003.

Yep, s-t-r-e-t-ch-ing is what I thought of too. The direct translation of "rubato" to "robbing" is kind of cute, but the feeling is more of stretching the tempo when you get to the REALLY GORGEOUS spots, and going back to normal speed when you want to move things along. Try saying to the student "relax, drop your shoulders" when he gets to a stretchy part (doing that sort of naturally lets us slow down a little), so that he can equate something physical with the sound that comes out. Definitely keep demonstrating...

-- anon (, June 27, 2003.

When you play rubato and pause before a note, is it necessary to then speed up the next few notes to make up the robbed time, or is it okay to just pause?

-- John (, June 27, 2003.

I find it always helpful to offer periodical examples to the student - explaining and demonstrating the "leniency" that each period allowed for expressing phrases. Afterall, rubato for Chopin would be different for Beethoven and Debussy. Help your student appreciate that rubato is a creative instinct in a way.

-- June Ryan (, December 29, 2003.

Try playing a piece with in strict time, having the student tap along with the beat. Then play it with rubato, and have them tap the beat. I find it often helps a student to sing as they play - it often gives them a natural sense of where to speed up and slow down. In response to the other question: yes, robbed time must be given back. A piece played with rubato should take roughly the same ammount of time as it would take to play it in strict tempo.

-- Zoe (, December 07, 2004.

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