I'm an adult beginner piano and harp player and the thing I struggle the most with is rhythm.
I have the most difficulty in songs in which the beat is a quarter note and there are eight or dotted quarter notes. In those cases the only way I can get it close to correct is to convert for example a 4/4 to 8/8 and count like that.
One thing that helps me improve my timing is to generate a MIDI file with the score and try to follow that as a play. But my former teacher strongly advised me not to do that. He said I sounded robotic and that I wouldn't improve my sense of tempo if I did that.
IMO I sound robotic anyway therefore if I could sound robotic while playing the song correctly that would be preferable to being robotic and incorrect. :) I think it's easier for me to first learn the notes, then the rhythm, and then try to add some expression on top of that. But I wouldn't want this strategy to become something preventing me to develop my own tempo.
My new teacher recommends me to use a metronome, but that is much more difficult in particular for cases when there are subdivisions of the beat.
So I'd like to hear more opinions regarding the use of a MIDI file as a tool to help practice.