A Short Story About the Power of the Metronome
There is a ginormous Metronome in Prague. After Josef Stalin deceased it was erected in 1991, on the plinth left vacant by the destruction in 1962 of an enormous monument to former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
The 75-foot-tall (23 m) Metronome is now mostly a scenic vista and a meeting place for young people. It was designed by international artist Vratislav Novak.
In this blog post I will explain what a metronome is, why you should use it, where to get one and a short story about the power of it.
Here we go:
What is a metronome?
“A metronome is any device that produces regular, metrical ticks — settable in beats per minute. These ticks represent a fixed, regular aural pulse; some metronomes also include synchronized visual motion. The metronome dates from the early 9th century, Abbas ibn Firnas, was patented by Johann Maelzel in 1815 as a tool for musicians, under the title “Instrument/Machine for the Improvement of all Musical Performance, called Metronome”.
– the click.
Many apps are available for free. There are also free ones on You Tube and the internet. Links are below.
There are also drummer apps which come with drumbeats that you can adjust to your liking and speed.
Top 4 Reasons to Use a Metronome
- Makes you better and faster, a lot faster than if you were to not use it.
- Easily and quickly Improves your technique.
- Drastically helps with your rhythm and timing.
- It helps clean up Problem areas in a song. (song sections or phrases)
Where to Find a Metronome
Metronomes can be found everywhere. From your local music shop to amazon, to eBay, to you tube, craigslist, metronome websites, and even on your mobile phone.
And guess what, most of them are free and will be just what you need. To many times I hear guys play out of time and they have no idea whats going on. They can’t keep a simple rhythm to a beat.
Dont let this be you. Be the guy who always plays…RIGHT ON THE MONEY…or IN THE POCKET. Let them be amazed by your ability to keep time.
Honestly I always use my phone. Lately Ive been using (Drumbeats) Its free. And it comes with a ton of drumbeats and different speeds you can set it to.
Ultimately look around and find one you LIKE. If you dont like its appearance you’re probably not gonna use it. Just like if you dont like the way your wardrobe looks you’re probably gonna change it up sooner or later.
How to Use a Metronome
Turn it on.
Set it to 60 bpm (beats per minute) and play a single note and let it ring out.
Let it ring for 4 clicks.
Repeat every 4 clicks to hit this single note and let it ring.
You now know how to use a metronome but it can get a little tricky so keep reading.
You can play one note per click but you can also play up to 16 notes per click or more depending on how slow you set it. Metronomes can start at 10 bpm. This means you will hear 10 clicks (sounds) every minute.
You can also play a scale – one note per click. Then 2 per click …All the way up to 4 per click.
Get them clean as a whistle and right on the money. Once you can do this, speed it up in increments of 10 bpm.
For fun…crank it up to 150 or higher and riff like crazy.
For chill songs… set it to around 60-75 bpm and strum away making sure to keep your idea for 4 clicks long.
Your strumming pattern has to start over at the 5th click.
More on how to use the metronome to your advantage in a later post.
For now I’ll leave you with this short story of one of my students.
A Short Story About the Power of the Metronome
I was in a class today.
with one of my students,
and since day 1 I have told him
to use his metronome.
Some time has passed and he’s improved.
But not like he should be. He’s not where he should be at.
Whats the problem?
He hates the metronome.
Today in class he was open to it.
Within 10 minutes he was doing what he was struggling to do for many classes.
And doing it with ease.
All by simply turning the metronome on.
Just by using it.
By using a metronome.
The metronome is to a musician like a dog is to man.
Its your best friend.
Use it and learn how to manipulate it to make your practice sessions more effective.
Use it. Now. Tonight.
Secretly I’m laughing inside because I CAN play in time. 😉 All the time.
You WILL progress IMMEDIATELY.
If you could get faster and play better within a short amount of time wouldnt you want to?
Thats exactly what the metronome does.
I sometimes refer to it as magic.
Every time im struggling with something the metronome helps me nail it down.
Instantly I play better. Instantly I know where my problem is.
So back to the student today in class.
He was trying to change from F to Dm then to Gm and then to C. He was having the hardest time so I said to him lets put your metronome on (because hes had it for a while) and lets set it to 80 bpm. Now lets just do the first 2 chords.
I told him to keep trying it after a few failed attempts.
After a few minutes he was still having trouble. But nonetheless I told him, keep trying it. So he did.
Amazingly before 10 minutes were up he was not only able to do the 2 chords. Not only was he able to do the 4 chords.
He was able to do all 4 chords at a much higher speed than the song required.
I know I say it all the time. But its worth repeating. Its magical. Its like your best friend.
Use it and you’ll see results so much faster than if you don’t.
Thats all for now.
I just wanted to put that little victory out there.
Its those little victories all lined up that lead us to the big ones.