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Heather Broadbent

How to Use a Metronome

February 28, 2013 at 1:01 PM

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How to use a metronome - It is not as easy as just turning it on and hearing the clicks while you play. It is a process of internalizing the metronome into your being.

The metronome can be very frustrating to work with at first and many students absolutely hate the metronome. The relationship between you and your metronome needs to be a positive one. How is this possible?  Start small and do only a measure at a time successfully and slowly build.

In this video, I discuss and demonstrate how to use a metronome. Like I mentioned earlier, it is not as easy as turning the metronome on while you are practicing and saying "Yeah, I practiced with the metronome." It can click away and you are playing, but there is a good chance you are not with the metronome:) Record yourself playing with the metronome and playback to double check you are truly with the metronome.

When you are looking to purchase a metronome you want to buy one with two different pitches. This way you can make the downbeat, otherwise known as the first beat of the measure, the higher pitched click and you know for sure you arrived on the right beat for the new measure.  This does not guaranty that everything in the measure was played rhythmically accurate but at least it is a good starting point.  After building the framework of the measure you can then start to internally dissect the measure.  The most important secret to excellent rhythm is...................are you ready?

To always SUBDIVIDE:)

Subdividing is basically rhythm division - breaking down the rhythm into smaller increments to increase rhythmic accuracy.

Enjoy the video and remember the metronome is your best friend!!!!

Happy practicing:)

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From Terez Mertes
Posted on February 28, 2013 at 7:14 PM
The weird thing is that I've always LOVED using the metronome. Wonder if that's an adult beginner thing vs a young beginner thing. Or maybe the fact that I'm more a ballet dancer than a musician at heart. I love the measured, even accompaniment as I play. It soothes me. Or focuses me. Or something.

Would love to know how other v.commers feel about the metronome.

From Kevin Keating
Posted on March 1, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Very helpful video! My teacher recommended that I use a metronome at home. So I bought one. Being what I call a "time slave" I figured I'd just turn it on, set the tempo and away I'd go. Wrong! It actually throws me off. I'm more comfortable tapping my foot. My metronome, however, isn't loud enough to really be heard well over my violin so that's probably part of the problem.

From Paul Deck
Posted on March 1, 2013 at 3:54 AM
Yes Kevin, it's got to be loud. Try plugging in earbuds.
From Heather Broadbent
Posted on March 1, 2013 at 6:06 PM
Thanks for the replies. I'm sure I hated the metronome when I first started to use it but I grew to love it. I now appreciate the internalization if that is such a word:) I had a student transfer to me from another teacher and as a going away gift the teacher bought the student a metronome and warned her that I would make her use it. I chuckled when she told me the story at her first lesson with me when I asked her if she had a metronome.
From Kevin Robinson
Posted on March 1, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Thanks for that excellent video, Ms. Heather. At 46 yrs old, I've never thought of sub-dividing the beat like that b4... that will be very helpful. ¶ I use the same model metronome, btw ?


From Paul Deck
Posted on March 2, 2013 at 1:57 AM
I've got an Alesis SR18 drum synthesizer that I can plug into my Fender Passport keyboard amplifier (small PA), makes a very nice, strong metronome. You can play Vivaldi to a rock beat if you really want.
From Nathan Kroptavich
Posted on March 3, 2013 at 1:53 AM
I started using a metronome more often in practice sessions and have noticed a big difference. You are right - subdivision is key! Oh, I also have an app on my phone called Mobile Metronome, so I never forget to bring a metronome to my practice session. Thank you for posting!
From Mark Roberts
Posted on March 4, 2013 at 1:27 AM
What timing, I used to use a light metronome and I thought that I was playing with it, I have just got a loud metronome with all the bells and whistles and I cannot play with it at all - I keep rushing, I suppose that it is a matter of persistence.

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