The Musician’s (Secret) Best Friend
By: Kevin ManieriGeorges Music
Theres one thing every musician can use to improve his or her playing. It will help a beginner as much as an expert; a drummer as much as a violinist; a vocalist as much as an accordionist. Its portable, easy to use, and will last you a very long time. All that, and it wont break the bank! Are you still guessing? Read on to find out what magic tool Im talking aboutWhy A Metronome?
Im talking about an old standby of musical accessories the metronome! A metronome is a simple device that emits a beep or click at a set tempo, often measured in beats per minute (bpm). It may sound too good to be true, but Im telling you that playing along with one of these will make you a better player.
I used to think I had pretty good timing, until I heard a recording of mine played back over a metronome. I was embarrassed to hear how much work I had to do. After a few weeks of training with a metronome, I was ready to hit the studio again, and with a better sound and feel.Why is a metronome such a big deal? Because, as one wily music professor always told me, there are only two things to good music the right note, at the right time. A metronome trains you on the time part, and there are several ways to use one. Read on for some great tips for practicing with a metronome.Best Practices With a Metronome
Which Metronome For Me?
- Sync your metronome with some of your favorite recorded songs, then practice without the track playing. If you get really good, you may start to notice your favorite musicians missing a beat here and there!
- Find a metronome speed youre comfortable with, and improvise over it. This will challenge you to come up with new ideas and fit them in on the fly.
- When youre comfortable with a speed, say 120 bpm, cut it in half so that you only hear a click on every other beat. Once you master that, see if you can keep the right time hearing a click on only every fourth beat. Can you do every eighth beat?
- Using sheet music or tabs, try to play through a brand-new piece of music with a metronome on start slow and work your way up to full-speed.
- See how fast you can play and still hit every note clearly. For a real workout, try to play familiar phrases in double-time!
When you hear metronome, you may think of a classy wooden instrument sitting on a piano. Those are still made, but there are some more modern choices as well. The Korg TM40
is a super-accurate tuner and full-featured metronome all in one. Quik Time makes a tiny metronome
that will fit in your back pocket. Even the Snark Clip-On Tuner
has a silent metronome that you set by tapping and watch instead of listening. Whatever you choose, make sure you use it it will improve your rhythmic ability!
Kevin Manieri spends his time in the Finance & Accounting department at George's Music and when he's not crunching numbers, can be heard blasting out killer bass riffs throughout southeastern Pennsylvania.