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Metronome

Discussion in 'Technique' started by John Robson, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I recently purchased a digital metronome at the suggestion of Chris to help set proper tempos. I hadn't practiced playing with a metronome since I was very young. My childhood teacher used to make me practice scales, arpeggios and other technical exercises at various speeds using my old mechanical metronome. That dinosaur has stopped working, and I still have it in the attic. It's approaching antique status. :)

    I have been using my new digital metronome every day to remind me of correct tempos. I've also practiced a few pieces using the metronome to assist in maintaining a constant speed. What do you think of practicing with a metronome?
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I now use my metronome regularly. My teacher insisted I use one and I’m glad he did. When I’m learning a piece, we set the metronome on a very, very slow tempo and I cannot bump it up until I can play through the piece perfectly. Click by click it goes until I am able to play at the correct tempo. It’s really helped me a lot, and made more efficient use of my practice time.



    bring it to the Antiques Roadshow! :lol:
     
  3. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    When I was growing up, I always hated practicing with a metronome, because in order to practice with it, I had to play much slower than I wanted to. I wanted to rush on, which I could only do in spurts and such. I think that learning discipline with the metronome, difficult though it may be, is one of the best aids to a true familiarity with a piece. Once the tempo and the notes and proper fingerings are under control, then I feel more free to take liberties with the tempo (if applicable) and I feel I can do so without destroying the breath of the music.
     
  4. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    For playing Bach, I use the metronome regulary. For Chopin not, but maybe I should.
    Monica, I find your approach for a new piece very interesting: with metronome but very slow. Have not done yet but maybe I can speed up my practising phase - I would need that since I am such a terrible slow learner.

    With Bach, I sometimes try to use the metronome at very different speeds. E.g. playing at half speed helps me to detect and eliminate easier trouble spots where my fingers and hands are not truely relaxed. If I come through well at half speed it often does the same at full speed. Also the other way round: at half speed I often have the same troubles as with full speed, and the trouble appears much clearer.
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I rarely ever practise with the metronome. Despite regular comments about my steady tempo, I find it very hard to keep in sync with the thing for more than a couple of bars, and usually give up trying after a while :oops: I do as a rule use it to know what the prescribed tempo should be.
     
  6. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Metro...

    It's good to get this feedback.

    Monica, you have my old teacher. :) She forced me to play with the metronome at very, very extremely slow speed. It was good for me because I had a terrible tendency to get gradually faster and faster, especially when I was young. I think it's the opposite case now. It also encouraged me to be more careful.

    Chris, I feel better learning that you too have trouble keeping in sync with the metronome. I thought it was something wrong with me. But I'm still practicing some using the metronome.

    Olaf, you obviously don't believe that practicing with a metronome has a tendency to make your playing more mechanical. Right? I've been practicing some Bach, of all things for ME to do, using the metronome. I was concerned that it may cause me play more mechanically when I stop using the metronome. :?:
     
  7. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    In my case it is often so that I find it hard to keep in sync with the metronome too. However it is in all cases so that those are exactly the trouble spots I need to work on. Once I really have a passage nailed, I don't find it hard anymore to keep in sync. So for me it is a very well working indicator for something I need to work on in order to make the thing better.

    I think the danger for playing more mechanical with metronome is there, especially if one needs to concentrate on keeping in sync instead playing musical. Also, if one tries to take the metronome to speed up. That is something I did give up. Instead I much more often use the metronome to slow down now.
    I think one can very well play musical and with all expression, (also with rubato!!) with metronome. One only should not concentrate so much for synchronisation. If one needs to concentrate that much for keeping sync that is an indicator that something is wrong with the rhythm I think.
     
  8. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    trouble spots

    Olaf, I agree with you that the places I have trouble staying in sync with the metronome are almost always the parts that are most difficult for me to play.
     
  9. Key88

    Key88 New Member

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    I find the metronome invaluable when learning a piece, especially with classical and earlier styles.
    but as soon as I can play fluently at an appropriate tempo I discard the metronome.
    Then I concentrate on expression, rubato etc. The final performance will not necessarily be metronomically steady; did you ever try to get a metronome to play along with a professional performance on record? they rarely stay in sync.
     
  10. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Isn't it funny how all the pieces we feel it is particularly important to use the metronome in practice, are pieces that were written before the metronome was invented (1812)? It's like, they invented the metronome, and shortly thereafter, tempo rubato became all the rage. :lol:
     
  11. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I really like the metronome. If I've got my mind set on achieving a certain tempo (slow or fast) it forces me into compliance, whether I'm comfortable or not. It takes some of the ego out a performance. It's my drill sergeant!

    Pete
     
  12. hasekamp

    hasekamp New Member

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    Metronome is essential

    Since a few months I have a piano teacher again, and one of the first things he advised me (and which I do now) is to use the metronome often, if not always, when practicing. The second thing is to practice (very) slowly.
    By forcing myself to practice (very) slowly, by using a metronome, I advance by leaps. For me this helps and I use the metronome every single day.
     
  13. avguste

    avguste Member Piano Society Artist

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    I always practice with the metronome
    It is a good way to learn a new piece too
     
  14. diminished2nd

    diminished2nd New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I don't even know what to do with myself when I don't have my metronome! :shock: it's my best friend! hehe

    Seriously though... I practice everything I can with the metronome. As a couple other people here have said: taking a phrase, or a section of a piece, starting it out at half tempo, and then bumping up the metronome 4 beats per minute until it's up to speed.

    I find that I learn new pieces a lot faster if I practice this way too... When I first started learning the last movement of Prokofiev's 6th sonata earlier this summer I learned it this way, and learned the notes in 2 weeks or so (granted, I didn't have much time to learn it, since I had to actually KNOW it in 2 months for a competition... so I spent 4 or so hours on it each day for those 2 weeks :p).

    I'm restless when my metronome runs out of batteries...
     
  15. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yeah, I think metronome can actually help you play faster than without. I'm practicing the chopin 10/4 etude right now, and I thought I had topped out at my maximum speed. But I started with metronome and I'm up to 160 now in about 2 weeks.
     
  16. johnmar78

    johnmar78 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi all,,,

    I have to say I MUST :( use metronomes for speed works....ones is done. Or ONE must use metronoes at the begining of learning curve where inaccurate beat occurs in one's playingNO METRONOMes for playing . Once my mind is shaped my metronome. The musicality should come out nice and precise.
     
  17. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    proper tempos in abstract don't exist.
    Tempo is a variable depending from expression, sound, mood, psychic images.
    The "correct tempo" is a too much simple convention, good for industry or academies.
    Regards,
    Sandro
     
  18. bclever

    bclever New Member

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    I've got the Boss Dr. Beat digital metronome, it is a thing of beauty. It can count the
    eighths, sixteenths, triplets, play in 4/4, 3/4, 6/8, etc... and place accents wherever you want.
    Plus it can do it with a voice that will drive your dogs mad! I live by myself so I am able
    to just leave it on all the time (sometimes). Doing that helped me develop a really strong
    groove when I played bass more. I've got a constant click-track in my head now.
    At least it drowns out the voices. :)
     
  19. hasekamp

    hasekamp New Member

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    This is exactly what my teacher does. And it really works fine.

    And, for who might be interested: Another thing he insists on is to stimulate me to play "blind", without looking at my hands at all.

    Rene
     
  20. Paradisi

    Paradisi New Member

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    Metronomes are NECESSARY! I've played with mine so often, that now on solo pieces I generally don't, because when I do I'm right on beat anyway. But I use it when practicing for any ensemble pieces I'm working on. There's nothing more irritating than trying to put together an ensemble, and somebody's rushing or dragging! It's a way of making sure that my tempo is steady and in the correct range for the piece.

    It's also invaluable if you ever have to follow a conductor (I play for several choirs). It's a great way to learn to take 'someone elses' beat.

    As for playing mechanically - once I know my tempo's right and steady, I concentrate on expression.
     

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