Musicians are supposed to have good timing. But do you just practice with your metronome or do you interact with it during your practice sessions?
Correctly used, a metronome should act as an accompaniment partner. There are many different kinds of metronomes that come in all shapes and sizes, including classic pendulum and digital models; many musicians use an app on their phone for that purpose. It really doesn't matter what kind of metronome you own. You just need to make sure you have one and that you use it regularly.
Don't Just Listen to a Metronome
Most people use the metronome only as a passive device — in other words, something to listen to — and it's true that most musicians need to be able to play along with one, especially in studio settings when you are playing along to a click track. But if you have difficulties playing in time when there isn't a metronome or click track accompanying you, the reason may be that you have only developed your listening skills, not your timing skills.
Strategies for Developing Timing
In order to effectively develop timing skills, you need to add space between metronome clicks. Here are four strategies for doing so in conjunction with this downloadable exercise sheet. As you continue to work on your timing, be sure you practice this worksheet at different tempos:
1. Add space Between Beats
2. Moveable Pulse
3. Create Subtractive Loops or Patterns
4. Put Space Between Your Metronome and Your Instrument
Once you start thinking about your metronome as an accompaniment partner instead of always being a dictator ("you will always play on every beat with me"), your timing skills will begin to blossom!
This article was originally published on the Yamaha Music USA blog.