Metronome Help

January 13, 2021, 2:02 PM · Hi All,
I am a late adult beginner. I confess to be rhythmically challenged and need some help. I have been using an iPad app TE Tuner which I do like. But often I have difficulty hearing it and staying on beat. I am wondering if anyone has used the "Soundbrenner" pulsating metronome or any other similar device. I would appreciate any thoughts or product recommendations. Thank you in advance!

Replies (24)

January 13, 2021, 3:33 PM · I haven’t used the “Soundbrenner,” but I have looked into it. It’s expensive and there are a lot of less than enthusiastic reviews. I also find their marketing to be slick and overhyped. But, to repeat myself, I haven’t used it.

I have, on the other hand, used the Peterson “BodyBeat Pulse Solo,” and I find it to be simple, reasonably priced and effective. I like it. I’ve recommended it here before but no one seemed interested because no one responded to my posts. It can be plugged into your phone, or any stand alone metronome with a 3.5mm (1/8”) output jack.

There’s a short learning curve to get used to it, but after that it’s great.

Edited: January 13, 2021, 3:57 PM · I've found it best to use a standalone metronome that's not on my phone. I use the Korg TM 60. It takes months to go through a battery and the metronome is nice and loud with a few nice features. It can be plugged into a separate audio device if desired.

I'm 61 and returned to the violin 2 years ago, and I find this device quite useful. It's about $30ish if I recall correctly, not much more than that.

January 13, 2021, 4:03 PM · Have you tried using the different sounds available in the app? I don't normally use TE Tuner for metronome but it looks like the last time I did I set it on Bongos 2. I also like to use a bluetooth speaker whenever I'm using a phone metronome - I find it's not loud enough otherwise.

For most things I also use the Korg TM 60.

January 13, 2021, 5:00 PM · I've started using the Metronome M1 app for its moving colored bar. It's for iOS or Android. I never used a metronome when I was young and now it's a challenge but the visual cue seems to work for me more than the sound.
January 13, 2021, 6:49 PM · Mark, thanks for the recommendation. I’m curious as to what metronome you are using with the BodyBeat Pulse Solo? Definitely more affordable than the Soundbrenner option. Irene, that’s a great suggestion but I’m not sure I would enjoy listening to an amplified electronic bongo or click. It looks like you and Catherine are using the Korg TM 60. Do either of you find a specific advantage over an iPhone app? Ann that is also a great suggestion. Perhaps using a visual queue would be helpful. Although my eyes are usually fixed on the music.
Edited: January 13, 2021, 7:29 PM · John, I usually use my Seiko SQ 50V, a classic they’ve made for decades because it’s good, and I also use my iPhone. The very real advantage of the Seiko and other similar metronomes over apps in an iPhone is that you can change settings in about a second. Not so with iPhone metronome apps in my experience. The Seiko is pocketable, so you’re free to walk around while you’re using the BodyBeat device.
Edited: January 13, 2021, 7:41 PM · I don't have an Apple device, and I just prefer my Korg over my Android. Easy to change settings, I can hear it, and I just like it. I don't always use it but it's dependable when I need it.
January 13, 2021, 7:42 PM · The main advantage of the korg for me is that I'm not staring at my phone the entire time I'm practicing. The tones don't actually sound like what their names are - I suspect they just found it more fun than naming it "Tone 21" - I'd play around with the different ones and see if you can find one you can hear.
January 13, 2021, 8:00 PM · I had tried a few android apps but liked none of it. It's either can't have metronome & tuner on at the same time, or tuner indicator just looks weird, besides it's easier to adjust with a standalone metronome. I used to use Korg TM 40 but find the volume not loud enough. I now use SEIKO STH2000, it's loud enough, and can hang at the bottom of the music stand so it no longer accidently fall off the stand whenever I press it.
January 13, 2021, 8:42 PM · I use the old-school Wittner Wooden Metronome with bell. I don't usually turn the bell on, but I like looking at the pendulum when I'm practicing with my metronome. The pendulum keeps my rhythm in check as much as hearing the beat.
January 13, 2021, 9:40 PM · the whole point of using a metronome is to help develop an ability to generate an internal pulse to the music you're playing. What you use doesn't matter, it just needs to be a check on how close you are and which way you're off target. Thinking a fancy gadget might help sounds like going sideways. Just get anything that has a basic beat, get a pencil or clap, and see how close you can stay to your selected rhythm. If you can't stay on target with a pencil on the table, you have no chance with a violin in your hands! Don't become dependent on the metronome, use it occasionally, but use your internal beat more often. It will improve over time!
January 13, 2021, 9:56 PM · If you are using an iPad, perhaps you also have an iPhone? In that case, headphones or earbuds will get you in closer contact to the sound, and there are tons of apps available for experimentation.
January 14, 2021, 4:47 AM · I'm replying because this was an issue for me last year. I needed, after a long time, to play some basic gymnastic stuff on a strict time, and for some reason my old ('80s) electronic tuner or phone apps or computer software did not work for me. I seem not to hear even loud electronic beats when i play violin.

I bought a mechanical Wittner Piccolo. Problem solved.

Edited: January 14, 2021, 4:46 PM · Interesting thread, and I purchased a mechanical Wittner Piccolo earlier today. I do like my Korg, but it gets harder and harder to actually hear it. I don't think it's my hearing, but that I'm so accustomed to how it sounds that it becomes easier for it to recede into the background when I'm focusing on music and violin... The Piccolo is on sale (Johnson Strings) so it's not an expensive experiment. I will send it back if it isn't helpful.
January 14, 2021, 10:40 PM · Since I usually practice with Etymotic ear plugs anyway, it is not a big deal, when using a metronome, to play it through earbuds. The main thing is that you want your metronome to be LOUD.
January 15, 2021, 12:55 PM · If I may make a suggestion. I'm a big believer in little things that have a big impact. So, every single day, for about 10 minutes, LISTEN to any piece of music and focus ONLY on counting the beats, OUT LOUD. Give it about 2 weeks, and you'll find yourself almost automatically paying attention to the beat in anything you play.
Good luck.
January 15, 2021, 1:13 PM · I do have one of those Peterson Body Beat metronomes and you can attach it to your ankle or calf so it's almost like tapping your foot - but I found it distracting. I suspect that if I tried it again and for some time I might get used to it.

But so much of my playing has been with other people that I have to "go with the flow" so depending on an inflexible felt pulse would be impossible.

I'm finding the freedom from externally set tempos very freeing during this pandemic and helping my find more music in the music I play alone.

Edited: January 15, 2021, 1:27 PM · I have a cable with two RCA plugs at one end, and a 3.5mm stereo plug at the other end. I purchased it so that I could use my iPhone as an input device for my stereo receiver, but I find that I can run my metronome apps through my stereo system too. If volume is what you need, that’s one possible solution. And the tonality of the metronome beats is actually quite beautiful through my stereo system, I think.
January 15, 2021, 1:42 PM · Apparently the Emerson Quartet rehearses with a metronome fed into a stereo, and cranked up.
January 15, 2021, 7:15 PM · Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions and feedback.
January 15, 2021, 8:41 PM · I am in the same camp. I looked at pulse metronomes but some remark that after a while you don't pay much attention to it. What I really like is my Korg KDM-3, which has many different voices, including one that counts the beats, 1, 2, 3 ,4 which I find very helpful, especially when I tend to fall behind. When a bar starts at 2, you know you missed a beat somewhere !
January 21, 2021, 1:59 PM · Try the app Tempo on your iphone. We have an attachment that clips onto the stand for the iphone so my kid (intermediate to advanced for her age) can see the iphone and her music at the same time without having to turn her head or body. Tempo has variety of sound and visual (flash or pendulum). It's pretty loud, but you can always use bluetooth speaker to amplify the sound if it's not loud enough, plus you'll have the visual cue. She likes it because it contains many different types of rhythm so it's easy to program. I think iphone in general is better than ipad for these accessory programs (metronome and tuner) to use during practice because ipad takes up too much space.
January 21, 2021, 2:35 PM · I recently realized that my rhythm problems are more easily dealt with by using a traditional key wound metronome so I bought a nice Wittner pyramid style one for about $60. I do find it working better for me than any app or electronic device with a flashing light or click. I think this is because I played in an orchestra for 6 years as a child and am used to watching a baton for timing. I have the metronome in my peripheral vision while playing. I have a lot of work to do but this kind of metronome is more "friendly" to me than the little beeping flashing boxes. Call me old-fashioned, I am!
January 21, 2021, 5:06 PM · Some of that is analogue vs digital. As exact as an electronic metronome can be over hundreds of days, it won't give that visceral 'click' that you'd get from a mechanical one. Compare using a digital stopwatch vs an old-fashioned one. One has fewer errors, the other has less uncertainty.

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