Practicing with a visual metronome ?

April 24, 2019, 1:38 PM · I was wondering whether its okay to use a visual metronome (as in following a flashing light). I just started taking lessons a couple weeks ago and keeping time is the thing giving me most trouble. I tried using a normal metronome but even after lots of practice I have made litte progress.

Is there any benefit to using a normal metronome ? Should I keep trying ? With the visual one everything is much easier.

Replies (10)

Edited: April 24, 2019, 2:12 PM · Have you considered a Peterson "Body Beat Pulse Solo" device? It will plug into your mobile phone, or any metronome with a headphone jack. And with Peterson's own metronome app the device will even subdivide beats. I'll leave it at that and let you look it up, except to say that I think they're great.
April 24, 2019, 3:08 PM · If you're a complete beginner, practicing with a metronome at this point is more than a bit premature. You should be focusing on correct left and right hand positions, and landing on the pitches in tune. There's plenty of time to work on rhythm with a metronome once holding the instrument and producing a good sound has become more automatic.
April 24, 2019, 6:17 PM · I can't stand visual metronomes myself, but that's me.
I think you will be more precise with a standard metronome (we react faster to sounds than sights), and that's what you want when you're *learning* a piece. It also lets you look out the window and contemplate life while you work.
April 24, 2019, 7:31 PM · I'm not a teacher, and only returned to the violin 5 months ago. I wasn't a complete beginner, remembered more than I thought I would, but it's only been about a month since my teacher started me working closely with a metronome as things become more challenging than they once were. Like Timothy I use a Korg, mine is a tuner/metronome combination and there are various options for the metronome and other things that are nice to have and can be useful. It's also pretty inexpensive.

Battery life is great, speaker is in the front (not the back like some), and you do have the option to turn the sound off and use the light if you wish. Personally I don't think that would work for me as I'm reading music, but that's me. I'm easily enough distracted from the music to play by ear as it is!

April 24, 2019, 9:56 PM · I stopped using standard metronomes because for the most part they don't indicate WHERE they are in a given measure. I've actually started using a drum machine software (DM1) on my iOS device, connected to a bluetooth speaker to provide students that need to work on pulse a variety of pop, rock, techno, and other beats while they play everything from long tones to scales to pieces of music. Doing slow practice on difficult passages with a drumbeat going at quarter note = 30-40 is awesome because you can hear most of the subdivided parts of each beat, and each part of the measure is distinctly different.

It's been a Renaissance in pulse steadiness and rhythmic accuracy in my grade 4 and 5 string orchestra classes, as well as my elementary ensemble in my youth orchestra--some of my private students have been astounded at the improvement in their rhythmic consistency after a few weeks of doing this. Practicing with a drum machine "locks in" everyone to the pulse in ways a standard metronome doesn't. I was very skeptical at first, but I've been delighted with the results!

April 26, 2019, 6:32 AM · Isn't the tick of a metronome much more precisely marking a point in time than a flash and therefor inherently preferable? I say that as someone who does not like that tick at all.

My problem with acoustic metronomes is this: Try to work with a quartet and the metronome. All of a sudden you can't hear the thing any more (that used to get on your nerves so terribly when used "solo"!) unless everybody plays pianississimo all the time.

I'd like a way to modify the loudness of the metronome but mine does not allow for that (and the old beautiful mechanical ones don't anyway!).

Edited: April 26, 2019, 6:56 AM · To echo Albrecht, the auditory system has a far more acute sense of timing than the visual. I think I'd find it very hard to synch with a flash faster than about 100/min. The click track generator on Audacity distinguishes the first beat (tick) from the rest of the Bar (tock) and also gives you the choice of other annoying noises like cowbells and pings
May 2, 2019, 2:15 PM · A question about the metronome pointing out the first beat: Does anybody feel this is helpful? I don't. I thought the designers offered the option because it is easy to program and sounds like an additional feature (for which money can be charged). But what does one do with it that helps practicing?

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