How to practice with a metronome

srblue5

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I'm finally willing to admit that my time-keeping skills are not quite what they used to be...or that they never were that great to begin with.

I've got a metronome app but I'm not quite sure what the best way is to practice with it to improve my timing. I read that Emily Remler (jazz guitarist) used to set it so that it clicked on the 2 and 4 beats and her sense of swing really developed from there (although I imagine she already had a good sense of swing before).

Any other tips for how to practice with a metronome? How to set it, how to work on timekeeping with it, how often to use it, etc.?

Thanks!
 

guitar_paul1

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I'm certainly no expert, but the first thing that I needed to learn was how to play an accurate beat.
I set it up on a steady quarter note and practiced keeping accurate quarter notes until I could make the sound of the metronome disappear by playing exactly on top of it.
I found it really challenging.

Once I got exactly where the beat is down to the microscopic level I could play around with stuff like swing and playing ahead of and behind the beat.

The other good advice I got was to listen to different tempos until I could recognize say 100 BPM as distinguished from 80 or 120. Good advice but I've never practiced that one enough to fully nail it.

Others that are more trained than I am will probably have better suggestions.
 

SparkleFart

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In a recent thread on the this very subject, someone here offered a suggestion that was a real revelation to me. I don't recall who posted it & though I've used a metronome for years, I'd never tried it. Go figure.

The idea is basically to RECORD yourself playing with the metronome, whether you're doing scales, arpeggios, whatever.... Then listen back to yourself playing to the click; THAT is what will reveal all. I've been doing it lately and it's a real eye opener. I've found it instructive, productive, & above all humbling. You might too. Apologies if this is obvious. And many thanks to whomever here suggested it.
 

MatsEriksson

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Yes, metronome set at 100 BPM gives me automatically, the 2 & 4. I can't help but play whatever I play into that even power chords. The trick is to start it off, from the get go. You have to count out loud and start playing on an "and". If you want swing and syncopation.

I bought the PDF "Getting In Time", a short "booklet" or couple of pages 10-15 pages from German guitarist Uwe Kropinski way back some 10-15 years ago. It was worth it. He lists some methods. However, no musical examples are given, he just says "do this, set this, this tempo, and play your piece", meaning whatever you'll be playing. Rudimentary scales, advanced compositions and anything in between. The main thing is - as usual - start slow, even at a funeral pace. And do not struggle when you ramp up the tempo. If you struggle, turn the pace down.

However, it is "boring" excercises, and fundamental, rudimental and you should really do this when you're a beginner and young and just starting out. But as I started to play bass almost exclusively, since a decade back or so, I've heard comments from fellow musicians, that I didn't hear before, like "one can drop a bomb and you still know where one is..." But it takes a lot of woodshedding and honing.

https://www.kropinski.com/english/timing-problems-getting-in-time-helps/
 

cherryburst1

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Wanna see how good or bad your timing is? Start at 50 BPM. The faster the BPM is, the easier it is to stay with it. If you're having problems, start high at 120-130 BPM. When you can stay solid with that, then slowly lower the BPM as you get better...When you eventually can lock on to 50 BPM and stay there, you will be way on down that road....It takes time. 3-6 months is not uncommon. Good luck!
 

Jowes_84

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yes good advice here. In my childhood, youth, I had a pretty good drum teacher for a bit over two years. start slo-o-o-o-o-w. start simple. repeat. repeat. repeat. after you have done that for a while, start speeding up and test your limits. have fun. You can alternate the pulse from 2 and 4, which is pretty great for most modern feels. But you could also have the pulse on the "ands" inbetween the beats. that is pretty advanced but once you can do that, you have developed a strong feel yourself. another exercise is to pause the metronome for two bars and have it come back then... essentially testing if you can keep time. lots of possibilities.
for starters, slow, pulse on 1-2-3-4 or 2-4 and basic exercises. then you can go crazy.
 

Skyhook

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Can somebody tell me then... what if I don't progress? How do I know the difference between just-haven't-practiced-enough and nope-this-isn't-working?
I fear I'm on the nope -part.
 

Larry F

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Can somebody tell me then... what if I don't progress? How do I know the difference between just-haven't-practiced-enough and nope-this-isn't-working?
I fear I'm on the nope -part.
I'd gauge it by metronome speed. The lower the number, the lower the speed. You can specify how much slop or dirt you'll allow.
 

Skyhook

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I'd gauge it by metronome speed. The lower the number, the lower the speed. You can specify how much slop or dirt you'll allow.

I mean if I practice at low speed x for y hours without seeing any improvement.... should I just keep adding hours to y, "knowing" it will pay off in the end
or is there a point(how can I tell?) when I have to realize it's not gonna happen?
 

Skyhook

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Takes time and patience...

Definitely. So does building a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
With the puzzle however I can see my progress piece by piece.

My situation with a metronome is like building a jigsaw puzzle with an unknown amount of pieces and I'm not allowed to see the
pieces I've already put down.

I have enough patience to practice but I don't want to waste an ounce of that so I need to know how I can measure progress
to make sure I'm not practicing the wrong way.
 

ndcaster

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start medium tempo on 2 and 4
record yourself, like on Garageband
play for three minutes
then look at the grid

stay practical and use common tempi

then make up games, like "play on the 1 at 50 bpm" and "play offbeats with a click only on 3" and "strum straight eighths for 30 sec"

you can use the box to push you to be faster, but I'm skeptical of that because it's using the metronome as a scold when it should feel like a truthful reference point

you will be able to tell your progress by the increasing number of times you get secretly irritated by people who drag and don't know it

outside a recording studio, go easy on them: no one likes the guy in that drummer movie who screams "that's not my tempo!"
 

Rick53

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I've played for over 35 years . Professionally as well as just at home . I've never used a Metronome . Probably because we started out listening to records and learning songs by ear . I never practiced Scales or stretching or any of the other stuff . It's hard to remember exact details from almost 40 years ago .

When we were starting out we taught ourselves theory . Just saying . Same goes for tapping a foot to keep time . I know guys who do it and guys like me who never took formal lessons and didn't even know we were supposed to do it . Time was a natural progression relying on the Drummer mainly .

I basically keep time in my head . Maybe I'd be a even better player had I learned in a formal matter . None of the guys I started my first kid band with were in School bands .

My early influences were The Beatles , Johnny Rivers , and the Stones
 

hnryclay

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Agree with the recording yourself, assign the tempo in whatever DAW you have and check against the grid while using the metronome. I start at 60, and play arpeggios, then move up after I have done that with 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16 notes. It is frustrating at first, but my first instrument was piano and this was beat into my head as a child. The other piece is most people speed up, and drift. Especially on whole notes, and rests. One more thing I set the metronome to chime on the "1" if I am learning a new piece to make sure I am following the sheet music appropriately. If you have never done it it will bug you for a week or so, and then it will all "click" in to place. It will make you a better player, it will also enhance your "feel". Stick with it!!
 

teletail

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Can somebody tell me then... what if I don't progress? How do I know the difference between just-haven't-practiced-enough and nope-this-isn't-working?
I fear I'm on the nope -part.
Record yourself weekly for a few months, then compare the first recording to the last. Is the improvement worth the effort? Only you can judge.
 

drumtime

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All of the above. And, play along with recorded music - backing tracks or whatever. Nobody goes out and plays in public along with a metronome, so you need to get a feel for playing with others and finding the pocket - listen for how the kick and the bass interact, and then listen to the hi hat and snare. Find where you fit in. If you're using a DAW, put your backing track on one track, and record yourself on a second track. Repeat til you're happy with that part, and then make another track with you playing a different part.

This is also a good way to learn a song. Play each part til you can wipe out the backing track and just listen to your version.
 




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