Metronomes in Music Lesson Practice
What is a metronome? What does it do? How can you use it? Which metronome is the best one for you? These are the questions to be answered in these web pages.
Most likely, you are not simply doing some research to find out about metronomes. You may be thinking about using a metronomic device to help you with music. You my even be preparing to do speech therapy with a metronome. You are most concerned about which one is best for your purpose.
There are four basic kinds of metronomes.
- Mechanical–the classic pyramid or obelisk shape like the Wittner metronome.
- Electric–powered by an electric motor.
- Electronic–solid state electronics, no moving parts.
- Digital–an online or digital app type of metronome you use on your tablet or phone.
The descriptions, reviews and videos on this site will increase your knowledge until the kind of metronome that is right for you will be obvious. It all depends on how you plan to use it.
Wikipedia tells us that a “”metronome is any device that produces regular, metrical ticks (beats, clicks) — settable in beats per minute.” (Sometimes you see BPM also, for that last phrase.)
For example, I have seen conductors take a very small device from their pocket to check on the tempo for a piece they are about to start conducting. These small metronomes by Korg or Seiko do not give a loud sound for use in the practice studio. For that, other devices are more appropriate.
Even Wikipedia misses one of the main uses. It lists keeping a steady beat as a known purpose. Also it mentions the standard of reference as written above.
But the main use for music students, who outnumber composers and conductors by a wide margin is not cited. For music students, the premier purpose of the metronome in music practice is to help learn to play faster. Playing with a steady even pulse is also important, but secondary, in my opinion.
Getting a good, strong tock sound from a metronome is ideal in the music practice room. Even if your instrument is not considered a loud one, if it’s right in your face, you need a louder sound to compensate.
Using a metronome is not as intuitive as you might think. Especially, if you have been using one in your music practice for a long time, you might think, “Just start the metronome, then start playing.”
My experience in stdio teaching has shown me that some students are perplexed and stymied about getting started. I have an incremental approach that starts with the easiest skill and builds to complete student autonomy in practicing with a metronome.
Above is the classic Wittner pendulum metronome. Never needs batteries!
Site produced by Elan Chalford