• If you haven't done so already, please add a location to your profile. This helps when people are trying to assist you, suggest resources, etc. Thanks

Learning to use a Metronome

Lucio76

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2020
Messages
52
Reaction score
98
Location
Parma, IT
Ok but you wrote: "Don't get the metronome out till you've learnt the piece you wish to practice..."
I thought that you weren't talking just about chords progressions and fingerings.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
95
Reaction score
60
Location
North Carolina, USA
I never could play to a metronome. I've had mechanical and electronic ones but the 'clicks' always seemed asymmetric to me, like one beat was slightly longer then the others. Give me a drum track though, especially something with a bit of rythm and I am fine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bum

Jeremyh

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2021
Messages
43
Reaction score
57
Location
Essex UK
I play with a metronome a lot, I find it helps to get your foot in sync with it.

Prompted by this thread to try a silent metronome I started playing around with my Snark tuner that will flash in time to a beat that you set. I don't want to have to concentrate on the flashing heart :love: that it uses but if get my foot in time with it I found that I could keep it there with the occasional glance.

I use the metronome to try and keep my practice a speed I can manage, rather than the speed my fingers think I can manage -which helps with the muscle memory Lucio mentioned. It also helps with tricky timings and keeping me honest and stopping speed changes for easy and harder bits, something I am very guilty of without the metronome.
 

fjsys

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
379
Reaction score
15
Location
Provo, UT USA
One tip that I have would be to leave it running at around 60 bpm the whole time you are practicing and you will find that you eventually sync up with the metronome naturally. Then you just need to decide where the pulse is in the music and put that on the down beat.

To be fair I use a metronome occasionally, but there is a loud ticking clock in my practice room that I find that when I go to my lessons and my teacher asks about an exercise (Hannon, scales, or other) "what speed are you playing that" usually I answer 60bpm and he finds I am correct. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bum

JeffJetton

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
826
Reaction score
232
FWIW, the features I find I like in a metronome are:
  • Being a standalone metronome (i.e., not an app)
  • A nice, loud click that sounds good
  • Easy to read what the tempo is, with large, clear numbers
  • A dial or slider to quickly set the tempo with, rather than having to press "up" and "down" buttons. This really does make a big difference.
  • It should remember the previous tempo setting from use-to-use (i.e. not default to 120 every time you turn it on)
  • Nice to have, but not a deal-breaker: "Tap" tempo
All the other stuff that some metronomes have, like different sounds (including a voice counting "one, two..."), different click patterns, different sound on beat one, etc., are nice I suppose, but I find I rarely use them.

My current favorite is the Korg KDM-3.
 

jozz

Prolific poster
Site Supporter
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
1,545
Reaction score
272
Location
The Netherlands
Also nice if digital:
  • 3.5mm jack out for earbuds
To get the click really 'into' your head...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bum

Ric46

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2019
Messages
81
Reaction score
88
Location
Piacenza
Well, I have played drums since the late 60's :cool: I rarely use a metronome, there is one in my head!
I am a drummer too. Do you know "live bpm" app? I think it is very useful. It's not a metronome app. You can rub it when you play and than check if your tempo is straight o goes up and down :ROFLMAO:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bum

TomBR

Prolific poster
Site Supporter
Joined
Nov 1, 2013
Messages
1,025
Reaction score
93
Location
SE. Gloucestershire UK
I never could play to a metronome. I've had mechanical and electronic ones but the 'clicks' always seemed asymmetric to me, like one beat was slightly longer then the others. Give me a drum track though, especially something with a bit of rythm and I am fine.
I'd be interested to know how you'd get on with only one or two clicks per measure.


More generally I'd suggest having as few clicks per bar/measure as possible so the metronome is no faster than the pulse of the music. That said, there are exceptions where having more clicks is useful - for example in the early stages of learning something with tricky timing from sheet music.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bum

Zevy

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 30, 2013
Messages
529
Reaction score
64
By "learn" i meant conceptualise the movement... Understand the chordal progression completely along with the fingerings needed, before playing either with a metronome or without.... 😉
I totally agree. I'm lucky to have a decent sense of rhythm, so I won't be speeding off into the wilderness. First and foremost is the need to "lay down" the main points of the piece. Get the "road map", the harmonic structure, repeats, and fingerings. Also, make sure your music is easily visible and that you don't have to turn pages at awkward points that would stop the flow of the music. Go through the music slowly, and when you think you are ready to play without stopping, take out the metronome and start very slowly, picking up the tempo gradually. Set for yourself the ultimate tempo at which you want to play the piece. I know one musician who used to practice until he could play the piece faster than he wanted in order to guarantee himself that he won't trip when playing at his "real" tempo. I personally don't agree with that.
Good luck!
 

oldbayan

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
254
Reaction score
103
Location
Toronto, Canada
I am a drummer too. Do you know "live bpm" app? I think it is very useful. It's not a metronome app. You can rub it when you play and than check if your tempo is straight o goes up and down :ROFLMAO:
Actually, it's not a bad thing to slightly vary the tempo during a tune! Accelerate a little during choruses, and going back to the base tempo in the verses. But for dance tunes, it's better to keep the same tempo all along.
 

Ric46

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2019
Messages
81
Reaction score
88
Location
Piacenza
Vary the tempo during a tune could be a good thing if you do it consciously. ;) You can check some live versions of famous tunes. Sometimes there is even a "big" variation. The problem is if your tempo goes up and down and you aren't aware. As you told, if you play dance tunes the tempo should be straight no rollercoaster. Unfortunately, I don't think live bpm works with accordion solo. It could be interesting
Actually, it's not a bad thing to slightly vary the tempo during a tune! Accelerate a little during choruses, and going back to the base tempo in the verses.
 

saundersbp

Active member
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Messages
142
Reaction score
105
Location
Yorkshire UK
I've played rock drum kit and it helped my rythymn enormously in playing classical music. Two things I've found useful:
- The most important bar is the first. If you establish a perfect rythymn there it should carry you through the whole piece.
- Feel the beat/pulse deeply in the centre of your body. Sometimes tapping a foot can help but I've seen plenty of people tap their foot pretty irregularly. Far more fun is to play a game that centres on rythymn and pulse: they don't come much better than beat saber in VR. (This may be the strangest suggestion ever made on the forum 🙂)
 

Siegmund

Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
13
Reaction score
13
Location
Montana, USA
Metronomes ARE harder to play with than real live musicians. In a live ensemble there's a bit of give and take as everyone adjusts to everyone else. The metronome insists on its tempo all the time:)

There are some modern alternatives -- if you have tempo changes you can make yourself a "click track" with software. You can even synthesize the other instruments and play "instrumental karaoke". On the one hand, you get to hear the ensemble... on the other, it's just as inflexible as the metronome is, and if nobody has a strongly rhythmic part it doesn't give as much help as the metronome does.

Ultimately it comes down to spending more time with the metronome and learning to stick with it. Sorry there is no magic answer!
 

Similar threads

Top