Thursday, August 14, 2008
Music Lesson: Importance of Using a Metronome
What is a metronome?
A metronome is a musical device that keeps a steady pulse.
Who should use a metronome?
Everyone! Even professional musicians use metronomes.
When do I use a metronome?
A metronome should almost always be used when practicing.
What type of metronome should I use?
There are 3 types of metronomes:
One of my favorite metronomes is called Boss. These can get pricey but are great for musicians who are playing a lot of complex rhythms. For beginning music students I would recommend an analog metronome because it is easy to use and easy to pack around. You can read more about the differences between the 3 types of metronomes here.
Where can I get a metronome?
You can get a metronome from a local music store or on-line. You can find good prices at http://www.amazon.com/.
Why should I use a metronome?
I cannot over emphasis the importance of using a metronome! If someone does not practice with a metronome, he or she will not play with a steady beat.
Using a metronome is a MUST because a metronome helps you to do the following:
1. Play with a steady beat
2. Feel the tempo of the piece
3. Play at your tempo goal (e.g. if a piece has a “difficult to play” tempo, starting slowly and gradually speeding up with a metronome will help you to play at your tempo goal.)
How do I use a metronome?
There are a many ways to practice with a metronome when trying to learn a new piece. Here are some ways I have my students practice with a metronome:
1. Set your metronome to the speed of the piece, and play the whole piece with the metronome on. Can you play the whole piece without making any mistakes? If not, slow down the metronome to a speed you can play at without making any mistakes. Once you can play the piece with out making any mistakes at the slower speed, then speed up the metronome a few clicks. Gradually speed up a few clicks (only if you can play at each speed with out any mistakes,) until you reach your goal speed.
2. Practice playing through your piece a few measures at a time with the metronome on. For example, let’s say your piece is 8 measures long. You can repeat measures 1-2 until you make no mistakes. Then, go on to measures 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8 repeating, these measures with out any mistakes. Now play measures 1-4, and then play measures 5-8. Once you can play these sections without any mistakes, play the whole 8 measures until you make no mistakes.
3. There is a GREAT website that contains information about metronome use: http://www.metronomeonline.com/ . This site has a free, on-line metronome and has articles on how to use a metronome, on tempo markings, on how to practice music, and on timing.