How to work with your metronome …. the necessary evil in music.

February 16, 2015

First go pick it up from the other side of the room where you threw it ….. We all struggle working with that metronome. Do we really need it or...

First go pick it up from the other side of the room where you threw it …..

We all struggle working with that metronome. Do we really need it or is it something our teachers just make us use to annoy us?
When use correctly though – metronomes can really help you become more secure with rhythm and speed. One of the reason why it is often difficult to use is that we introduce it too soon when learning a piece. Instead slow down, learn those notes, and figure out those exact rhythms before trying to speed it up. If you do this, most of your errors will be prevented and you won’t waste so much unlearning mistakes.
Then once you have those rhythms down, all the notes learnt perfect and it sounds smoothly – start adding the metronome but don’t feel you have start at a fast tempo … slow and steady wins the race. Take your time to slowly speed up the piece.
There will be always be one section you find especially annoying and troublesome — take that section separately and work with the metronome. One of the biggest errors that young musicians do is that they keep hopping that if they keep playing a piece from beginning to end – errors will mysteriously disappear. Instead, they are reinforcing those errors. So take that section separately to fix them slowly … you should be dreaming about those trouble areas. Make your weaknesses your strengths!!!
Then start building that trouble section by adding bars around it. Remember to do slow motion practice with the metronome to gradually build speed. If not, that area will never feel part of the piece.
Then leave it for a few days so it becomes part of your long term memory. When you go back it, check and see if you’re relaxed while playing it – if not more work is needed. We should always be relaxed when creating music.
So to conclude ….. I know I am making it sound easy but mastering a piece perfectly is hard work and will you like your metronome anymore than you do right now? Probably not, but you will be a better musician for working with it. I see it as the necessary evil in music.

metronome

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