Tick, tock, the beat clicks incessantly and evenly. For many, the sound of the metronome is a bogeyman and they just can’t handle it. A tempo and a rhythm belong to the music like the melody. And at the latest when you play together with others, you will have to agree on a common pace. To get this right, a metronome will help you practice. We’ll show you how to turn the metronome from your opponent into your friend.
Finding the right metronome – look and sound
Metronomes differ not only in appearance. Depending on their size, design and sound generation, metronomes also sound different. The rule of thumb is: the larger the metronome, the deeper the sound – at least with mechanical models. Your metronome not only has to please you in terms of sound, but also visually. After all, it will accompany you in many exercises. And don’t let that fool you. If you want your metronome to look like a penguin, then so be it! And nobody should tell you that the legendary pyramid shape only ever belongs on a piano. Such a metronome also works with guitar or any other instrument! A great choice for a classic pyramid metronome, with a bell, is the Wittner Taktell 816k.
Wittner Metronom 816K mit Glocke
Finding the right metronome – feature set
However, winding mechanical metronomes have a few limitations. First of all, its tempo control range is to be set rather roughly. This is completely sufficient for classical pieces with Italian tempo markings. And at some point it just stops, then you have to wind it up again. For example, if you want to practice drums, you’ll need more. Some mechanical metronomes can also get a one per bell. But they can’t do 16th notes, triplets and other gimmicks. And they are not loud enough either, so a digital metronome with many setting options is better. And many electronic models also have a headphone output. A digital metronome for drummers: the Boss DB-90.
Think of your metronome as your drummer or conductor
When you play in an orchestra or a band, you always have someone setting the tempo for you. The orchestra is conducted, and at a certain tempo, by someone who has already practiced the metronome a lot. For band musicians, the given beat is nothing special anyway, because here the drummer sets the tempo. And only when everyone plays together does the right groove emerge! Similarly, you should try to groove with your metronome. Don’t just hear the tack, imagine a beat and remember that you’re not playing against the metronome, you’re playing with it! Once you have this down, you might be ready to try a digital metronome with rhythm variations, like the Korg TM-60 .
Maybe you need an alternative to the metronome
The tip about imagining a beat is too abstract for you, but you need a beat? Then maybe a drum machine is something for you! There are many drum machines with either ready-made beats or beats you can create yourself. By the way, making your own beats can really help to improve your groove! This drum machine has been around for over 30 years and still proves itself as one of the grooviest: the Alesis SR 16.
Practising with the metronome must be varied
If the metronome clicks so monotonously, then maybe you should vary your practising a bit. Keep changing your exercises so it doesn’t get boring. And play different exercises at different tempi. You usually start slow and then build up. But from time to time jumps in tempo in different directions are important so that it remains varied and you can switch quickly later when playing in the orchestra or the band.
Turn off the metronome and see how you’re doing
If you have practiced diligently with the metronome, the perfect way to check your progress is to switch it off and simply record yourself, for example with your smartphone. Then start the metronome again and play back the recording. Do you have an improved timing yet?
Wittner Taktell Pinguin
If you practice diligently with the metronome , you will develop your own feeling for the right tempo. We hope that our tips have taken away your fear of the rigid beat. What are your experiences with the metronome? Tell us with a comment!