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#1949543 - 08/26/12 07:56 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
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rocket88 Offline
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I need to add that many people have no clear idea of what "slow" really means.

It is very very slow, super slow, such as put the metronome on 40 Beats Per Minute, and play one note every click; and that might be too fast.


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
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#1949595 - 08/26/12 10:54 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
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The idea of using a drum machine or some other device that gives you a beat, without that tension-inducing metronomic TICK-tock-tock-tock, TICK-tock-tock-tock, is not such a bad idea. I used to have a boom box that had a karaoke feature (which I never used), but which would give a rhythm track with various drum sounds. It didn't read out the tempo in BPM the way my old Roland sequencer did--- it could be configured as a drum machine. Still, it was something that actually suggested music with a beat. You could get into it.

It may be easier to just make friends with the metronome. An acquaintanceship, not a marriage; we don't have to put up with it til death do us part, just until it does its friendly job of helping us to sense a proper and regular beat. If you dislike the sound so much, there are others that may sound more tolerable. Many people just use it to get an idea of the proper tempo to begin a section, or to get what the Italian tempo directions are trying to tell us (we've got to find out somehow; composers and music dictionaries get cagey about this), or set it so it's easier to count the notes or triplets in measures that are tricky. It reminds us to count for ourselves, which is the real value.

Like so many people, it is an acquired taste. Maybe if you try it for no more than five minutes at a time, you'll get the good of it without the overload. There are plenty of people I can tolerate for five minutes, but no more. And frankly, there are many things in life which I just have to re-frame to myself, to adjust my thinking in a more positive way, because resenting or deploring them is just too tiring.

When I was young and energetic, I was certain that I had a perfect sense of timing. But now that I'm old and wore out, I waver more than I used to, apparently. Maybe I have just wised-up, thanks to my friend the metronome, a critic who is truthful even if it hurts, but never critical, and who never blabs a word beyond the privacy of the practice room. Better to find out our flaws there than in in the public eye. I've tried that, and I don't recommend it.

I like the advice people have offered, Virginia, especially about setting it to a very slow speed until you are comfortable and sure, then moving up gradually. I can't turn off the accent beat of my Boss box, but sometimes I set it so it thinks there are a lot of notes in the measure, and then if I make a mistake I don't have to wait for the downbeat to pick it up. And I can turn down the volume so it doesn't blare. It's just there to help, and that's all anyone can ask. If you think kindly about it, it will be kind to you in return.


Clef

#1949645 - 08/27/12 03:27 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]  
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Originally Posted by Toastie

My boyfriend finds it really hard to understand... [...]

*going away to hide now as I am not sure this is entirely normal*


You are 100% normal, you just need another boyfriend!

Just kidding laugh ...but you have to be able to do what makes you happy.
I like to sing even if I'm not good at it, because I have fun and I can't help it. I call it self-expression and my partner lives with it. I actually try to make her sing too, because she has a much better voice!

(sorry for the OT)


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
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#1949648 - 08/27/12 03:51 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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[quote=Jeff Clef]The idea of using a drum machine or some other device that gives you a beat, without that tension-inducing metronomic TICK-tock-tock-tock, TICK-tock-tock-tock, is not such a bad idea. I used to have a boom box that had a karaoke feature (which I never used), but which would give a rhythm track with various drum sounds. It didn't read out the tempo in BPM the way my old Roland sequencer did--- it could be configured as a drum machine. Still, it was something that actually suggested music with a beat. You could get into it.

Thanks for the advice, Jeff. I may see if I can find an app for my Mac that will give me a metronome with pleasant sounds. Wonder if they make them with the sound of piano keys instead of the wicked tick tock sound, but that might be confusing. I shall do some research.


Virginia

"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
J.Wooden
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#1949731 - 08/27/12 10:05 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
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Virginia, GarageBand has a metronome, & you can record acoustic piano, with a whole selection of other instruments as back-up if you so desire. If you have a Mac, you may already have it; if not, it's only about $15 to download.


Carol
(Started playing July 2008)

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#1949735 - 08/27/12 10:08 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
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I'd like to pick up on a point made by rocket88. I find 40 bpm too slow to let me keep the pulse (I don't know exactly when the next tick is coming) when I'm struggling with new material and tying my fingers up in knots in a Bach fugue.

I find it much easier to set the beat at 60-80 bpm, play the semiquavers on the BEEP and use the three dit's as preparation time. It's a handy way for me to slow down to 15-20 BPM and not lose the pulse.

OT:
Originally Posted by sinophilia
...you just need another boyfriend!

Diana, I think one boyfriend is enough! smile



Richard
#1949878 - 08/27/12 03:05 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
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Had a fellow seriously say to me, "never found a metronome that wasn't defective." smile

IMHO, be it a beeper, a clockworks, Band in a Box, ipod app, get something you can hear. Though it hasn't been mentioned, placing the nome where you can hear a good mix of nome and you, is important.

I personally only use it when "polishing" a song/tune. Also, unless you play ensemble, your timing can be as iffy as you want. Good timing is really for the sake of others, including listeners.


Rhythm & Chords, it's what I do.
#1949948 - 08/27/12 05:13 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Farmerjones]  
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Originally Posted by Farmerjones
Also, unless you play ensemble, your timing can be as iffy as you want. Good timing is really for the sake of others, including listeners.

I know what you mean but I've found the metronome very useful in resolving flaws in filigree trill work and polyrhythms that had never sounded quite right. A good example is bb. 21-22 in Beethoven's Adagio cantabile, Op. 13.



Richard
#1950194 - 08/28/12 03:21 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Farmerjones]  
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Originally Posted by Farmerjones
Had a fellow seriously say to me, "never found a metronome that wasn't defective." smile

IMHO, be it a beeper, a clockworks, Band in a Box, ipod app, get something you can hear. Though it hasn't been mentioned, placing the nome where you can hear a good mix of nome and you, is important.

I personally only use it when "polishing" a song/tune. Also, unless you play ensemble, your timing can be as iffy as you want. Good timing is really for the sake of others, including listeners.


I thought the purpose of the metronome was to teach the piano student consistency in playing music at the appropriate rhythm or tempo. I have no plans to play with an group of musicians.


Virginia

"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
J.Wooden
#1950197 - 08/28/12 03:27 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Farmerjones]  
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"placing the nome where you can hear a good mix of nome and you, is important."


One of the problems I've encountered when using the metronome is that I can't seem to hit the piano key at the exact time the metronome sounds. You indicate you listen for a good "mix" of sound from piano and metronome. Does this mean you're not in sync with the metronome?


Virginia

"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
J.Wooden
#1950202 - 08/28/12 03:44 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
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Sorry if someone already suggested this--I'm sure someone has mentioned in a previous thread on metronomes an app that will flash a light instead of making a sound for the beat. If it's the noise that bothers you, this may work. I can't remember the app.

#1950224 - 08/28/12 06:06 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
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Originally Posted by Virginia Larson
One of the problems I've encountered when using the metronome is that I can't seem to hit the piano key at the exact time the metronome sounds.


This is a matter of anticipation. Even though you may be using a metronome, you still have to have the tempo going in your head (somewhere in there). The metronome is only going to let you know when your internal metronome (in your head) is beginning to go faster or slower. You cannot wait for the metronome to tell you when to play the note.

I would suggest you begin with the single note exercise. Just play middle C over and over right on the beat of the metronome until you can do that without a problem.

Quote
You indicate you listen for a good "mix" of sound from piano and metronome. Does this mean you're not in sync with the metronome?


No, it just means you should not have the metronome excessively loud or soft.


Don

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#1950248 - 08/28/12 08:04 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: dmd]  
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My teacher has me use the metronome once I'm at a point where I can play through most of the piece without too many difficulties or slow downs. Then the metronome is helpful in forcing me to work on the sticky areas where I slow way down.

I wouldn't use the metronome when you are first starting a new piece. It's much more satisfying to be able to play the whole piece decently well, then add in the metronome and work on the sticky parts (for me, that may be weeks later).


"Today you are the perfect age to chase your dream." - Jon Acuff
#1950275 - 08/28/12 09:36 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Bentissimo]  
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Originally Posted by Bentissimo
My teacher has me use the metronome once I'm at a point where I can play through most of the piece without too many difficulties or slow downs. Then the metronome is helpful in forcing me to work on the sticky areas where I slow way down.

I wouldn't use the metronome when you are first starting a new piece. It's much more satisfying to be able to play the whole piece decently well, then add in the metronome and work on the sticky parts (for me, that may be weeks later).


The problem with that approach is that you have learned the piece with varied tempo, which is sometimes faster, then "slowed-way-down". In reality, that is a series of errors; Erratic tempo is just as much an error as are wrong notes. If the tempo fluctuations were not errors, you wouldn't try to fix them.

Keep in mind that "learning" a piece is putting it into memory, and that includes all aspects of it, the notes, the fingering, the dynamics (volume), and the tempo.

Thus, after learning the piece with tempo errors in your memory, you add the metronome to unlearn those errors.

It is much better to learn it w/o errors in the first place, rather than try to fix them later on. IMHO.

Last edited by rocket88; 08/28/12 10:04 AM. Reason: clarity

Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
#1950281 - 08/28/12 09:44 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
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Originally Posted by Bentissimo
...It's much more satisfying to be able to play the whole piece decently well, then add in the metronome and work on the sticky parts...

For me it's more satisfying to learn a piece quickly; I have a long to-do list and limited time left. That means working on the sticky parts as individual exercises (the stickier the passage, the more I use the metronome) and only when all the parts are, er, non-stick and at the same tempo will I even consider playing them together as one whole piece.

This reduces the time I spend on easy passages and significantly reduces mistakes, memorising time, technical mastery time, and, most important for me, moving on to new pieces time.

I can count my learning time per page in days instead of weeks.

Originally Posted by Farmerjones
Had a fellow seriously say to me, "never found a metronome that wasn't defective."
Took me a while but I geddit now! smile



Richard
#1950298 - 08/28/12 10:13 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
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"...I wouldn't use the metronome when you are first starting a new piece. It's much more satisfying to be able to play the whole piece decently well, then add in the metronome and work on the sticky parts (for me, that may be weeks later)..."

True for me. In the very initial stages of reading up a new piece, the metronome would be of no use; I have to wait until I'm more confident of the notes. But I'm sure many players are better at reading at sight than I am.

Maybe all metronomes are defective--- maybe even the idea of a metronome is defective, what with the illusive nature of time itself. Mine uses a quartz crystal, but that is not a perfect timekeeper. Seems my quartz watch needs to be adjusted some number of seconds every year.

No human nervous system senses the present; we all live retrospectively as the neurons take their time to fire, the whole system coping with delay after delay. Yet we also live prospectively: the beat that hasn't fallen yet, the ice cream seen, but not yet tasted, the marriage proposal expected but not yet uttered.

Maybe simply humming a familiar tune along with the metronome (not playing the piano) would help accustom the brain, aligning the beat-keeper outside with the beat-keeper inside.

Last edited by Jeff Clef; 08/28/12 02:23 PM.

Clef

#1950360 - 08/28/12 12:06 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef


Maybe simply humming a familiar tune along with the metronome (not playing the piano) would help accustom the brain, aligning the beat-keeper outside with the beat-keeper inside.


This is excellent, but also do it while playing.

Humming/singing (da-da-da...) the tune as you play it is a magical fix-all for all kinds of ills, specifically tempo fluctuations, and playing un-musically.

I use it all the time, many excellent pros of all kinds of instruments also do, and it works wonders with students. The problem with students is getting them to do it.

Most are self-conscious, and shy about singing.

ps...it seems to work much much better to sing aloud, rather than having the tune float about in your head as you "sing" it silently.


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
#1950582 - 08/28/12 08:36 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
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Someone started a thread within the past couple of days about "speakbeat", an iPad/iphone app that counts with spoken numbers and beats. As someone who is in the hate-the-metronome column, I decided to try it out. Have to say that after about 5 minutes, I was starting to play to the counting and didn't find it nearly as annoying as a metronome. It or something similar might be worth a try for some of you as well.

#1950585 - 08/28/12 08:40 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: SoundThumb]  
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Originally Posted by SoundThumb
Someone started a thread within the past couple of days about "speakbeat", an iPad/iphone app that counts with spoken numbers and beats. As someone who is in the hate-the-metronome column, I decided to try it out. Have to say that after about 5 minutes, I was starting to play to the counting and didn't find it nearly as annoying as a metronome. It or something similar might be worth a try for some of you as well.


I will check into this one. It seems that if app is available to iPad it should be available for the MAC.
Thanks,


Virginia

"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
J.Wooden
#1950693 - 08/29/12 02:07 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
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There are also visual metronomes that only show the beat but without the annoying clicking or speaking. I sometimes use that. Just put it full screen in the corner of my eye works well.


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#1950765 - 08/29/12 06:52 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: rocket88]  
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You give very good, thought-provoking advice, Rocket88. In fact, you sound very much like another piano instructor that I know. You don't by chance teach in California, do you?


Virginia

"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
J.Wooden
#1950767 - 08/29/12 06:58 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
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Apparently the "speakbeat" app. is not available for the Mac. ...and I just gave my husband an iPad for his birthday so he'd quit stealing my labtop from its home next to my piano, so, I don't think I'd get away with borrowing his iPad anytime soon. Oh well, guess I'm stuck with Tic/Tock or Tock/Tock, as the case is with my metronome.

I appreciate the info., though. Maybe someday I'll upgrade my cell.


Virginia

"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
J.Wooden
#1950857 - 08/29/12 11:04 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: rocket88]  
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Originally Posted by rocket88

The problem with that approach is that you have learned the piece with varied tempo, which is sometimes faster, then "slowed-way-down". In reality, that is a series of errors; Erratic tempo is just as much an error as are wrong notes. If the tempo fluctuations were not errors, you wouldn't try to fix them.

Keep in mind that "learning" a piece is putting it into memory, and that includes all aspects of it, the notes, the fingering, the dynamics (volume), and the tempo.

Thus, after learning the piece with tempo errors in your memory, you add the metronome to unlearn those errors.

It is much better to learn it w/o errors in the first place, rather than try to fix them later on. IMHO.


Good points, and now that I think about it, my original post was kind of unclear.

My teacher will have me practice a few lines or a page in a given week. He tells me to go very slow and try to be able to play through the whole section at one tempo, which I set by counting out loud. If I hit a rough patch, I'm supposed to play that over and over until it comes up to the 'very slow tempo' that I'm using for the rest of the piece. In reality, I'm not as disciplined about following this approach as I should be. After I've played a difficult section about 20 times, I move on because I get frustrated and start making 'new mistakes'...lol.

So once we have crawled through the whole piece at that very slow tempo which I count out loud, we'll then go back and add metronome, also at a slow tempo (though a bit faster than we have been). We slowly increase the metronome tempo each week and focus on getting the connections, dynamics, etc. It seems to be working for me, though I need to get far more disciplined about keeping my tempo slow & even as I learn, and also about repeating the difficult phrases and not just playing the 'fun & easy' intro and giving up halfway through...


"Today you are the perfect age to chase your dream." - Jon Acuff
#1950875 - 08/29/12 11:29 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
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Sounds good!


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
#1951777 - 08/30/12 10:43 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: MaryAnn]  
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Originally Posted by MaryAnn
Sorry if someone already suggested this--I'm sure someone has mentioned in a previous thread on metronomes an app that will flash a light instead of making a sound for the beat. If it's the noise that bothers you, this may work. I can't remember the app.
Good idea! There is a free Steinway metronome app that flashes a light and shows a scrolling rhythm bar with peaks at the beats. It is very good at helping you anticipate when then next beat is coming. I also like the scrolling aspect, rather than the normal back and forth motion, because I feel it more closely mimics what the music is actually doing -- always moving forward, not oscillating!


Mary Bee
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#1951852 - 08/31/12 03:05 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: MaryBee]  
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Originally Posted by MaryBee
Originally Posted by MaryAnn
Sorry if someone already suggested this--I'm sure someone has mentioned in a previous thread on metronomes an app that will flash a light instead of making a sound for the beat. If it's the noise that bothers you, this may work. I can't remember the app.
Good idea! There is a free Steinway metronome app that flashes a light and shows a scrolling rhythm bar with peaks at the beats. It is very good at helping you anticipate when then next beat is coming. I also like the scrolling aspect, rather than the normal back and forth motion, because I feel it more closely mimics what the music is actually doing -- always moving forward, not oscillating!


I like the scrolling rhythm bar idea. I shall do a google search for this one.
Thanks


Virginia

"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
J.Wooden
#1969823 - 10/07/12 12:42 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: dmd]  
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My metronome is today an integrated part of my music playing experience. It wasn't always that way. Read How I Gave Up and Learned to Love My Metronome . . . http://www.jdickinson.com/


John Dickinson
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#1969898 - 10/07/12 03:40 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: John Dickinson]  
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Originally Posted by John Dickinson
My metronome is today an integrated part of my music playing experience. It wasn't always that way. Read How I Gave Up and Learned to Love My Metronome . . . http://www.jdickinson.com/


How can you concentrate on the music, reading the notes, paying attention to the dynamics, etc., with the sound of the metronome in the background? I know I need to use the metronome, but the sound interferes with my concentration on the music. I would love to know how to overcome this problem.



Virginia

"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
J.Wooden
#1969918 - 10/07/12 04:32 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,522
zrtf90 Offline
3000 Post Club Member
zrtf90  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,522
Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted by Tech 5
How can you concentrate on the music, reading the notes, paying attention to the dynamics, etc., with the sound of the metronome in the background?

The same way you do when you clap to music.

Take a song you can play. Set the metronome to a tempo you can easily keep to and clap your hands and count to it. Then sing the melody along with it.

Then play just the notes on the first beat of each bar.

When you're comfortable with that (and not before) play the the first and third beats.

Etc.



Richard
#1970053 - 10/07/12 10:12 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]  
Joined: Jul 2012
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Michael_99 Offline
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Michael_99  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 935
Canada Alberta
Well, my music/lessons don't have any metronome indications on the music/Fletcher books 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, but they have Mederato, Allegretto, etc. so I could look it up. As a beginner in book 2, everything is played as slowly as the second of a watch. At that
speed, with no mistakes, I progress playing it musically and after 6 months of playing it daily or several times a week, I have confidence to read the notes and play the piece.
When I get to play the blues, swing, synopation, I will likely lose my hair and fall in love with the metronome...

I must tell you that I have an old digital palm sized battery operated metronome but trying to play the piano and pick up the metronome, adjust not too slow or too fast, or to play too loud or too soft - is not a nice experience.

I got a cheap weighted keys electronic/digital piano so I could play after 2:00 a.m in the shack and not disturb people. Ti has lots of buttons for recording and organ sound - not the least bit interest in those buttons - but the weight in gold, a pun intended, is the one button for the built-in metronome. It is so awesome operate with one finger - I have no spare fingers left when playing but somehow I manage to turn on and adust
the speed and the time signature.


As I develop playing skills - the scales and complicated
rhythms - I will be using a metronome.


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