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I have to admit, I've fallen off being consistent with the metronome.

Trying to get back in the habit.

What I'm doing is, learning a song without it until I can play it through with no mistakes slowly. Then use the metronome at about 40bpm. Then try and increase it.

I don't really use it with scales.

Sound like an ok plan?

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I use it from the get go if I’m struggling with timing. I’ve found if I learn the piece first and it’s out of time, it’s like starting over again to use the metronome

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You have to approach it like Porky Pig, Very Very Very quietly LOL

It is a good idea to count out loud as much as possible to help you maintain a steady beat.


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Originally Posted by _DavidV_
I have to admit, I've fallen off being consistent with the metronome.

Trying to get back in the habit.

What I'm doing is, learning a song without it until I can play it through with no mistakes slowly. Then use the metronome at about 40bpm. Then try and increase it.

I don't really use it with scales.

Sound like an ok plan?

That's pretty much what I do for pieces that present no tricky rhythm issues for me. However, for pieces that have rhythms that I've never played before or am unfamiliar with (e.g., Jazz and offbeat stuff), I will start using the metronome quite early on to "work out" the rhythm, first hands separately, and then together. For Jazz rhythms and other offbeat rhythms, I really need the assistance of the metronome at the moment to get the feel of it.

I don't generally use the metronome for scales, except when I need to make sure that I've surpassed the RCM recommended tempo for exam preparation purposes. I need to know if I'm going fast enough and if I'm playing the notes evenly.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 11/02/20 07:34 PM.

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It's not easy to focus on playing the right notes and counting at the same time. I tend to learn the notes of a song first and let the beat be a bit wobbly. After I learned the notes, the metronome comes on so I can align the notes with the correct beat.

I play with a music group so a lot of the times I'd play with a soundtrack in the background with other instruments. Instead of aligning my playing with the beat, I'd align my playing against the melodies & harmonies of other instruments.

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Originally Posted by _DavidV_
I don't really use it with scales.

Sound like an ok plan?

No, not a good plan.
You build timing and synapses in brain doing scales too.
Impulse from brain to fingers will improve.

You constantly improve listening to something outside yourself, which is the same as playing with other people - which is another spinoff.

But don't bore yourself to death with metronome. You will notice improvement in playing without it if it's even just a part of your routines. Your internal clock is present.


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Originally Posted by Nip
You build timing and synapses in brain doing scales too.
Impulse from brain to fingers will improve.
That's part of my thinking. I use the metronome with scales and patterns to do exactly that. Often pushing the envelope of my top speed, or varying the feel (triplets, swung etc) in this context - so the bpm of music is well within my comfort zone.

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I read here a while ago that "The metronome reminds me of how slowly I should be practicing." I've found that to be very true. I use it to enforce playing slowly and correctly and also find that it identifies areas in a piece I'm learning where I need to do more work as suddenly I'm not keeping up with the 'nome. If it's frustrating me, it always means I need to slow down.

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Originally Posted by JR_YC
I read here a while ago that "The metronome reminds me of how slowly I should be practicing." I've found that to be very true. I use it to enforce playing slowly and correctly and also find that it identifies areas in a piece I'm learning where I need to do more work as suddenly I'm not keeping up with the 'nome. If it's frustrating me, it always means I need to slow down.

Thanks,

I always resort to playing scales slowly, as the experts advise. Then I hear play them fast to challenge myself. I've honestly never attempted to play scales faster. Perhaps it's time to start.

Last edited by _DavidV_; 11/03/20 09:47 AM.
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The metronome is both my second best friend ( after my piano) AND my absolute enemy, whom I want to destroy when I can't follow its rythm when learning a new piece or doing scales, arpegios.... The solution , of course , being to slow it down or divide the note values...

It helps me with rythm steadiness and coordination with LH / RH separately and hands together afterwards. IMHO, a most important tool in music apprenticeship!

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I pretty much never used it. I relied mostly on my internal sense of pulse. However, I would often play along with another recording, so that might have unknowingly developed my ability to play in time. I like to think that I had a basic ability to count the rhythm right when I started out. I used to try counting seconds when I was a kid, maybe that helped idk

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Originally Posted by _DavidV_
I have to admit, I've fallen off being consistent with the metronome.

Trying to get back in the habit.

What I'm doing is, learning a song without it until I can play it through with no mistakes slowly. Then use the metronome at about 40bpm. Then try and increase it.

I don't really use it with scales.

Sound like an ok plan?

This is what I do. If the rhythm is difficult, I will listen to teachers playing on YouTube as I count. I use it with scales and also vary the ryhthm I use for the scales.


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Originally Posted by JR_YC
I read here a while ago that "The metronome reminds me of how slowly I should be practicing." I've found that to be very true. I use it to enforce playing slowly and correctly and also find that it identifies areas in a piece I'm learning where I need to do more work as suddenly I'm not keeping up with the 'nome. If it's frustrating me, it always means I need to slow down.

Agree 100%


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As this mechanical beast will often prove when trying to work out a passage, it's not always one's ability to "keep up" with the metronome, but one's ability to "keep down" to it!

Regards,


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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
It's not easy to focus on playing the right notes and counting at the same time. I tend to learn the notes of a song first and let the beat be a bit wobbly. After I learned the notes, the metronome comes on so I can align the notes with the correct beat.

pretty much how I use the metronome.


Surprisingly easy, barely an inconvenience.

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I don't approach it, I run away from it. Somebody gave me one when I was a kid but I couldn't see any point in it and haven't used it since. The few times I tried it it hindered rather than helped my sense of rhythm. I find straight scales sufficiently lacking in musical interest without a metronome adding insult to injury.


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If you come to the piano with experience in rhythm, perhaps from dance or a percussion instrument, then the metronome is a tool to help control tempo - in short passages - while problems are being fixed or as a test of control in longer passages.

If you come to piano with experience in a melodious instrument, perhaps from singing or a wind instrument, then you must first learn to count. The metronome is not a tool you can use well without first learning to count. It will not instil time keeping. Learning to count, perhaps while listening to music first, is the way to instil rhythm. Once you have that then the metronome becomes a useful tool for certain problems.

Getting faster by notching up the metronome and trying to keep up with it is a common use of the tool but even with those for whom it works it is a very inefficient way of doing the job.


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I only use a metronome in the following situations:

If I feel tense (at all, even a minor bit) while playing at tempo. I then use it slowly as a tool to build proper muscle memory. Slowly, over and over and over again until my muscles remember it at that speed without fail, and then increase, repeat.

If I cannot play it at tempo. I then use it slowly as a tool to build proper muscle memory. Slowly, over and over and over again until my muscles remember it at that speed without fail, and then increase, repeat.

If I have trouble synchronizing my hands. I then use it slowly as a tool to build proper muscle memory. Slowly, over and over and over again until my muscles remember it at that speed without fail, and then increase, repeat.

FWIW, I use the metronome a *lot*. I use it this way for piano. I use it this way for guitar. I use it this way for violin. I use it this way for bass. I use it this way for drums.

I resisted it for years. But after decades of playing, I have found this to actually be the fastest way for me. For example, it might take me 4 weeks to get a passage down this way with a metronome. Without, I could get it down in a week.

But... with 1 week without, I can play it successfully maybe 80% of the time, and probably actually perform it 50% of the time at the end of a month. Doing it the 'slow' way with metronome, I have it nailed at the end of the month, and very little chance I will ever mess it up.

Everyone's different, but that is how it works for me.

But even then, I have to break the rules at times.

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Originally Posted by _DavidV_
I have to admit, I've fallen off being consistent with the metronome.


What I'm doing is, learning a song without it until I can play it through with no mistakes slowly. Then use the metronome at about 40bpm. Then try and increase it.

I don't really use it with scales.

If it works for you then okay, but be aware there are some pitfalls possible. That's not the way I use one. (but nobody considers me an expert)

First. Learning a song without it is fine but ONLY if you work in strict tempo. And that's a problem when you slow down, you tend to get disconnected from time, and you build the habit of not playing fluently. It is amazing how many people have stuttering habits they are completely unaware of. I think practice needs to be connected with time from the beginning, regardless of how slow, and if you can't do that without the metronome then you need it. IMO. Lots of people disagree.

Second, increasing the metronome. Don't do it incrementally. People start at 40 and then do 41, and at about 55 they hit a speed wall that may be permanent, because they have ingrained a technique that works fine at slow speed but cannot transfer to proper tempo. You need to do some speed work at all times - either with big jumps - 40, 80, 120, 160 - or just start at 160 and play the first beat of every measure, etc. Speed walls are very real.

I have one of the classic windup wooden pyramid shape ones that I use every day, the classic Seth Thomas, but for some pieces I need a digital. If I'm working out something with a lot of syncopation, I need to be checking that I'm playing all the rhythms correctly, and the way I do that is with a digital where I can set beat 1 to a different sound. If I'm not landing on beat 1 I know I did something wrong.


gotta go practice

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