Counting rhythm is something I learned early on in school and it can be a very useful tool when learning to play (or sing) music.
My singing is not fantastic, still working on it. But the rhythm here is fairly accurate.
I use the blue water bottle’s motion to represent downbeats and upbeats. When it is at the bottom, that is a downbeat, when it’s at the top, that is an upbeat. Downbeats last for only a moment, as do upbeats. The motion in between the top and the bottom is between the downbeat and upbeat.
For St James, the first phrase has notes that either are on downbeats or upbeats. It starts with a downbeat.
I count the rest before the entrance and the first note is when I say “and”
“and and one two and three (four) one and two (three)”
The words in parentheses are sustained, not said out loud.
The lyrics for this first phrase are “I went down to St James Infirmary”
You can also try saying or singing those in your head as you play. If it sounds strange, like words are rushed, you may be playing it incorrectly.
Check out the video