Teach Me How To Use The Metronome

March 6, 2008 at 04:33 AM · Can someone suggest some exercises that I can do with the metronome so I can make use of this tool. When I attempt to use it I get distracted, if I focus on the metronome I make mistakes playing and vice versa. I can walk and chew gum so this shouldn't be so difficult should it?

Replies (21)

March 6, 2008 at 04:45 AM · Start with open strings and scales maybe?

March 6, 2008 at 04:53 AM · Your "internal metronome" may be off. Try just counting out loud with the metronome at first. Then step to the beat of it. Then shift your weight from foot to foot. Then finally, start bringing your upper body into the picture (bowing open strings, then adding scales).

March 6, 2008 at 05:39 AM · Greetings,

I suggets you switch from a difgital to one of the old analog mms even if it epxensive. Learn to watch the stcik. Then use this mental imahge to actually parctice counting and vizualizing yoursle fpalying simultaneously.



March 7, 2008 at 05:15 PM · You have to understand which note comes on the beat, and match that with the metronome click. I think that Yixi Zhang is right about starting with open strings and maybe a small scale to begin with. Start with a slow beat and just play to match the click of the metronome open "D" for example see if you can play the d the same time that the metronome clicks. Gradually, increase the speed of the metronome and try this exercise again. When you feel comfortable with open strings, you can then try using a small scale and see if you can match the clicks first one note for each click, then two notes for each click etc. making sure that the note on the click matches the speed of the metronome. When your comfortable with this you can try this with a piece that you played alot and that you are very familiar with. Again start the metronome at a slow speed and match the notes with the metronome that come on the beat.

March 7, 2008 at 06:18 PM · Thanks for everyones advice. I will start with open strings and scales and hopefully I will master this.

March 8, 2008 at 12:24 AM · If you play too loud it will be impossible to hear the metronome. If you have to look at the music it might help to play more quietly for a while to get the rhythms down.

Also if you're making a lot of errors maybe set the metronome slower?

Regarding the spring metronomes...I personally like my digital metronome because it fits inside the tiny slot in my violin case...plus it will do various rhythmic patterns and will make an annoying ping sound on the down beat =P

March 8, 2008 at 01:41 AM · slow down

March 8, 2008 at 09:07 AM · Danny's advice was the first thing that came to my mind too, but then I started thinking. At a slower tempo, it's often more difficult to feel the relations between the big beats. So, I'd suggest slowing down the tempo, but speeding up the metronome - in other words, subdividing. Say you're playing at 60=quarter note (why isn't there musical notation on my computer keyboard?). Set the metronome to 120=eighth note and see if this makes it easier. Some metronomes will also subdivide for you, with different sounding clicks for main beats and secondary beats. Hope this helps!

March 10, 2008 at 06:25 PM · I vote with Megan, using faster sub-divided beats — they are easier to hear and when you do stop for correction, etc., there is immediately another beat to grab. The last reason also means, to me, not using a different sounding beat pattern — but I am a bit old-fashioned, perhaps:-)

Also, count various duple and triple rhythms throughout the day — for instance, count to your walking, etc., put a drummer in your head:-) — type at the computer to a rhythm...........

March 10, 2008 at 07:16 PM · Another tip for improving your internal metronome. Get hold of a digital watch with a stopwatch. Start the counter going, and see how close to 10 seconds you can stop the counter (without watching the timer!). Gradually increase the timespan. I spent ages doing this when I was young, and once got within 3 hundreths of a second over a 20 minute span!!


March 10, 2008 at 09:42 PM · Phil, Robert Mann once said he used to do that too. You're in good company!

March 11, 2008 at 12:11 AM · I used to always rush the metronome. The easiest way to start getting it right is to just sit there and listen to the tempo for a while. Then try humming the timing. The trick is to get the beat of the metronome drilled within you.

March 11, 2008 at 12:33 AM · I would put down the violin and just try to clap with the metronome. It's much more difficult than you think! =) First do it with the sound, then just the light, and then look away so you're only checking yourself every few beats.

March 11, 2008 at 12:51 AM · Just listen.

March 11, 2008 at 01:32 AM · The metronome is not to tell you exactly where to place each note. The metronome is a speed indicator. Get used to listening to whether your speed matches the metronome or is slower or faster. Then adjust your own internal tempo. Don't just dive for each beat like slapping at flies. Get used to exactly synchronizing your beat to match the tempo indicated by the metronome. When you get it exactly right the metronome click will disappear like magic. When you can't hear the click you are exactly right.

There are other issues and techniques for using the metronome as others have pointed out already but I think that most people don't use it effectively enough.

March 11, 2008 at 09:00 AM · The fly-swatting flaw is that people hear a sound and picture a point on a graph that must be shot with an arrow, when really the beat is a continual motion.

You could picture someone walking down the street, placing one foot after the other in natural rhythmic cadence. You could picture swinging a shovel or axe. Heck, wave your hands in the air like you just don't care, like you're at a concert. Do something that makes your whole body get involved, and suddenly you will find that you already have rhythm. If you can nod your head to the music, then you can play to a metronome. Don't make this difficult.

This is also why Buri's advocation of a pendulum style metronome is so wise. It swings, you see. It's why conductors do that thing they do with their arms and baton. Otherwise, we could hire a flashing light.

March 11, 2008 at 11:20 AM · "Otherwise, we could hire a flashing light. "

If the conductor was serving the purpose of a metronome, a flashing light would be better - a more precise beat.

March 12, 2008 at 12:39 PM · I appreciate everyones suggestions. The fly swatting analogy is how I feel when I get out of sync with the metronome. I get flustered and rush to get back in rhythm with it and then my timing goes out the window.

All of this advice is helping already. I realize I've been working against the metronome instead of with it. We'll become friends yet!

March 13, 2008 at 03:23 AM · Start slow. Can you clap on beat? It could be your timing to begin with is off.

Once you've identified that, identify and "feel" each beat while you play quarter notes to a slow tempo (40 is slow as most metronomes go). Can you feel beat ONE? Some metronomes (like the korg) accent beat one. Try bobbing your head or counting out loud while you play quarter notes slow.

As this gets easier, slowly up the tempo. When you are comfortable start playing simple songs with the same idea in mind. Slow, count, feel.

A big thing is to remember is that this can take time! Almost no one gets it right away!

March 13, 2008 at 03:24 AM · If you lose it or miss a note (depending on your situation) either go back and replay it, or keep your eyes moving and keep counting and come in on beat one of the next measure (or however many measures it takes to regain your composure).

March 14, 2008 at 01:05 PM · Try the rhythmsource metronome. The circular system helps relax and entrain with the musical phrase, not just a bunch of metronome clicky clicks or beepy beeps. It's more musical, nicer to work with.


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