Metronomes – Why and Which One?!
By Meg Ella
I’m sure at some point or another we have all been told by our music teachers to practice with a metronome. It may seem tedious at first but there are actually multiple benefits to doing regular practice with our little clicking friends, and here are a few : –
Keeping a Steady Beat
All of us are guilty of straying from the pulse. We slow down in the tricky sections, or when it’s quiet and speed up in those lovely easy passages and when it gets loud and exciting! Practicing with a metronome can help catch us out on those moments when we cheat the beat.
A metronome can be our best friend when figuring out and practicing those tricky rhythmic passages. If you set the metronome to a subdividing click (in quavers for example) you can get your head around more difficult rhythms like triplets, semiquavers or syncopated rhythms in no time. You can even get talking metronomes that say the beats – perfect for checking you are in the right place in the bar!
Metronomes can be a great way to focus on those tricky passages that we just don’t want to practice. Setting the tempo at a low bpm and turning it up one notch at a time can be a great way to get hard sections under our fingers – how fast can YOU take it??
In the simplest terms, when we practice with a metronome we are forced to focus on something external, not just listen to ourselves and focus on what we are playing. This is the ultimate skill when we get together to play in groups and ensembles, and those musicians who listen the most are often the best – start practicing now!
There are lots of choices for metronomes out there, from classic mechanical ones to phone apps – here are a few of our favourites!
Classic Old Fashioned (look great with acoustic pianos and grands and don’t sound digital!) –
Contemporary Classic (still no need for batteries!)
Portable and Cheap as Chips (even has a clip to keep it steady on your music stand or piano!)
Metronome and Tuner Combined (great for guitarists but handy for anyone!)
It’s also always a good idea to download a metronome app on our phones – then we have one wherever we go! Hear is a good one I used all through music college –
Good luck – we hope you find the metronome you are looking for and happy practicing!