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#1948799 - 08/25/12 03:25 AM metronome hatred
Tech 5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 194
Loc: South Carolina
Please advise on the metronome usage. I hate the thing! With the first sound of it I can feel my back and neck muscles tense up. How is one able to listen for the beat, concentrate on the notes, and technique for playing them, all at the same time. Although I am able to tap the piano with a pencil at the sound of the metronome, I can't seem to hit the piano keys at the same time as the metronome sounds.

Thanks in advance.....I love this forum!
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#1948811 - 08/25/12 04:28 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
outo Offline
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Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
Just don't use it! I never do except to check the tempo of the piece/measure. And sometimes to force myself to play slowly when practicing scales. It is normal to be distacted by it, although some people actually seem to be able to play with it.

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#1948815 - 08/25/12 04:48 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1371
Loc: Cameron Park, California
I'm sure if you have a laptop or a smart phone, you could just get a virtual drummer to play next to you instead if you hate it that much.

While important, you really shouldn't be using it often enough that it's that much of a bother!
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#1948832 - 08/25/12 05:29 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Bobpickle]
SwissMS Offline
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Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 646
Loc: Switzerland
Eventually you do get used to it. I used to hate it too. Now I often use the metronome to check that my rhythm is staying steady in tricky parts, to be sure scales are regular, to enforce slow tempo practicing a piece. etc. If you are feeling tense with it, perhaps it is set too fast. For me, it is a valuable tool that can help develop a sense of rhythm. It just takes time to adjust to it and then it can be your friend and helper.
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#1948838 - 08/25/12 05:59 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: SwissMS]
outo Offline
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Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: SwissMS
Now I often use the metronome to check that my rhythm is staying steady in tricky parts, to be sure scales are regular, to enforce slow tempo practicing a piece. etc.


These are the things it is good for, but trying to actually play your pieces with it is waste of time IMO. Beginners somethimes think that one should...

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#1948841 - 08/25/12 06:17 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: outo]
Toastie Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 208
Loc: UK
I only use it to check a piece I've already been working on and am very familiar with, though I usually find I don't need it (could be because what i'm currently doing is very easy though). If i try to use it when I am just starting a new piece then it just makes me feel frustrated and I end up ignoring it, though I sometimes find it helpful if I need to stop and go over something I'm stuck on.

This is strange, but if I use it to play a whole piece I find it oddly hypnotic and I won't realise when I've finished playing as I'll be sitting there staring into space. I could sit and listen to it like that for hours. Hope that's not just me.
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#1948842 - 08/25/12 06:33 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
outo Offline
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Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Toastie

This is strange, but if I use it to play a whole piece I find it oddly hypnotic and I won't realise when I've finished playing as I'll be sitting there staring into space. I could sit and listen to it like that for hours. Hope that's not just me.


That is funny smile
Mine doesn't have a very pleasant tone...

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#1948845 - 08/25/12 06:40 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: outo]
Toastie Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 208
Loc: UK
It's an app on my iPad. It's very pleasant. I sometimes listen to it when I'm not actually playing the piano just because I like it. I think maybe this means I'm crazy, but I like anything with a steady rhythm including the noise of the fan heater and the vacuum cleaner. blush
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#1948846 - 08/25/12 06:46 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
outo Offline
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Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Toastie
It's an app on my iPad. It's very pleasant. I sometimes listen to it when I'm not actually playing the piano just because I like it. I think maybe this means I'm crazy, but I like anything with a steady rhythm including the noise of the fan heater and the vacuum cleaner. blush


Well, I could stare at the old Windows screen saver for ages at some point (the one with white "stars" disappearing into space, if you are old enough to remember)... so we all have our quirks smile

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#1948848 - 08/25/12 06:58 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2238
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Of all the elements of music, Virginia, time is the most important.

Learning to keep time is the most important fundamental skill. We should begin by counting aloud to what we play, we then progress to tapping the feet, which keeps a physical, muscular action going and reducing the brains probability of mentally speeding up in the easy sections and slowing down in the difficult sections.

Eventually we get to a point where the muscular involvement is unnoticeable, tapping the tongue or flexing a muscle.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of playing an instrument is playing with others. Without the ability of keeping time with something external, ensemble playing cannot work.

Most people take a little while to get used to hearing and then listening to the metronome and keeping the beat with it. It then becomes a very useful tool.

I use a drum machine rather than a metronome, which is even more versatile.

Check this out. Troy Stetina is addressing guitarists but it works exactly the same on the piano.

http://www.stetina.com/lessons/metronome.htm

PS Are you using a mechanical metronome based on the original Maelzel pyramid or an electronic one? I had a Wittner mechanical metronome and I used to use it for a few clicks to check the tempo then put it away. In a mechanical metronome there is always a slight difference between the forward swing and the backward swing and the rhythm is a slight dotted eighth/sixteenth rhythm than true quavers. Electronic metronomes like the Korg MA-30 are cheap, more versatile and much more accurate.

PPS (Is there any way of shutting me up?) I'm a recent convert to mobile phones (I though the Tardis was a mobile phone) and mine can only do calls, texts and alarm clock but a phone app sounds like a good idea if you're already into that kind of device.

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#1948851 - 08/25/12 07:21 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: zrtf90]
outo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
This is very individual, for some it's easy to keep the pulse steady without any clapping or other help and for others it takes a bit more work. Just like any aspect of playing. I first was sligthly worried about the steadiness of my playing because I had not used the metronome and I know that you don't necessarily hear it yourself if you are off. But my teacher assured me it was fine. I think being into music all my life (just not the piano) makes it natural for me.

Recording yourself is also very revealing.

I only loose the pulse when I forget what I am doing (which happens all the time) and the metronome doesn't help with that it just causes more panic smile

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#1948867 - 08/25/12 08:45 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: outo]
Toastie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 208
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: outo
This is very individual, for some it's easy to keep the pulse steady without any clapping or other help and for others it takes a bit more work. Just like any aspect of playing. I first was sligthly worried about the steadiness of my playing because I had not used the metronome and I know that you don't necessarily hear it yourself if you are off. But my teacher assured me it was fine. I think being into music all my life (just not the piano) makes it natural for me.

Recording yourself is also very revealing.

I only loose the pulse when I forget what I am doing (which happens all the time) and the metronome doesn't help with that it just causes more panic smile


Yes it's the same for me, it comes naturally most of the time. I think I have an inbuilt metronome, as I seem to naturally want to rock back and forth like a metronome to any music I hear (including when I play, though thankfully I have managed to avoid doing so during my lessons, although I catch myself doing it a home a lot). I do this when singing too and have done all my life.
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#1948869 - 08/25/12 08:49 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1689
Loc: Pennsylvania
The metronome is just another tool to help you become a better pianist. It should only be used for what it was designed for ... to tell you if you are playing with a steady tempo where you think you are playing with a steady tempo. You need not use it while you are in the early stages of learning a piece of music. Perhaps, you should wait until you can play the piece reasonably well and you just want to be sure you are playing it on time.

I use it now and then when I am having difficulty with a particular place in the piece where I find myself hesitating. I will then put the metronome on a a very slow speed and play through that part. If successful, I will increase the speed slightly and play it again. If I hesitate, I will drop the speed down slightly and play it at that speed a few times until I am very solid with it. Then increase the speed of the metronome sligtly and play it again. I will keep doing this until I get my playing up to the speed I am aiming for. It can be tedius, but it works for me.

Now, we can come up with all sorts of reasons not to use a metronome but the main reason we do not like it is because it tells you the truth about your playing. If you ask a friend or a family member about your playing, they will invariably say ..."It sounds good". Which means nothing because they are usually going to tell you what you want to hear. The metronome does not do that. It tells you the absolute truth. If you do not hit that note on time, you will know it.

So, if you want the truth ... turn on the metronome.


Edited by dmd (08/25/12 08:53 AM)
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#1948879 - 08/25/12 09:40 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
outo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Toastie

as I seem to naturally want to rock back and forth like a metronome to any music I hear (including when I play, though thankfully I have managed to avoid doing so during my lessons, although I catch myself doing it a home a lot). I do this when singing too and have done all my life.


Does your teacher spank you when you do? smile

I have had this problem always, I just can't sit still. My teacher ALWAYS has to remind me. And I'm glad because I know it looks really stupid, it just feels so natural and to be honest my mind works better when I don't try to sit still...

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#1948881 - 08/25/12 09:52 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: dmd]
outo Offline
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Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: dmd


Now, we can come up with all sorts of reasons not to use a metronome but the main reason we do not like it is because it tells you the truth about your playing.



I'm sorry but that is not the case for everyone. I use it every now and then, but I just cannot stand the sound of it. And I do not think that it is as useful as many seem to think. Some people need it more, some don't.

I wonder how the baroque and 18th century virtuosos ever learned to play because metronomes did not exist?

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#1948886 - 08/25/12 09:58 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: outo]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158

If swaying with the music helps you to play rhythmically and in time, and you do it naturally, you should not try to stop it.

Swaying with the beat certainly did not hurt this guy's music:

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#1948888 - 08/25/12 10:02 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: outo]
Toastie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 208
Loc: UK
Outo, Well thankfully she's lovely and I think she would probably not say anything, but I don't particularly want to look strange so I try not to do it except on my own. It's possible I have been doing it unaware though, what a horrible thought. If I started doing it during a lesson I think I would feel embarrassed.

My boyfriend finds it really hard to understand as it makes me look kind of crazy, so I stopped doing it for a long time (I stopped listening to music so much since we got a house together, as I find it so hard to sit still). But since I started piano it makes me want to listen to music, practice on my keyboard or sing all the time, so now I do lots of rocking like a metronome and he really does not like it. I can happily sit for hours listening, singing or playing and rocking back and forth.

*going away to hide now as I am not sure this is entirely normal*
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#1948889 - 08/25/12 10:03 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: rocket88]
outo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
Well... when playing strictly in the classical manner you are supposed to sit up still and not do anything that is not needed to produce better sound. Unless you are famous, then you can sit as you wish, hunch and do whatever you like. Sigh...

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#1948891 - 08/25/12 10:07 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
outo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Toastie
Outo, Well thankfully she's lovely and I think she would probably not say anything,

My teacher is a nice person, but REALLY demanding when it comes to these things. And she won't hesitate to tell me when I do something funny/stupid/wrong smile

Originally Posted By: Toastie

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


I'm sure we are completely normal! The others may not be smile

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#1948893 - 08/25/12 10:12 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: outo]
Toastie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 208
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: outo
Originally Posted By: Toastie
Outo, Well thankfully she's lovely and I think she would probably not say anything,

My teacher is a nice person, but REALLY demanding when it comes to these things. And she won't hesitate to tell me when I do something funny/stupid/wrong smile

Originally Posted By: Toastie

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


I'm sure we are completely normal! The others may not be smile


Well yes exactly, it's everyone else who does not do this who is wrong! grin

If I ever start to rock in a lesson I will confess to my craziness, but until then I won't say anything. I think my timing is quite good anyway, as I can feel it even when I'm sitting still. I used to get into trouble for doing it at school.
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#1948895 - 08/25/12 10:16 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
outo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Toastie

I used to get into trouble for doing it at school.


That problem I didn't have because I usually just slept on my desk smile

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#1948898 - 08/25/12 10:22 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
Toastie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 208
Loc: UK
I used to have to sit next to the teacher in assembly because as soon as the music started so we could sing, I would immediately start rocking back and forth. The teacher would put her hand on my shoulder to make me stop and I would desperately try to sit still. This was when I stopped doing it in public, as the school made a fuss and sent me to see a doctor as they thought maybe I was ill or unhappy... But this wasn't the case, I just really like music.

I also remember that I used to have to sit outside during music lessons at school when I was about five or six years old, as they clearly thought I was upset because I rocked when we sang and played percussion. I used to peep through the door. Remembering that makes me quite sad because I really wanted to join in!!!!

I just realised I went completely off topic, sorry, please carry on!! Metronome, yeah smile



Edited by Toastie (08/25/12 10:34 AM)
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#1948903 - 08/25/12 10:34 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Don't try to stop your swaying; it is natural to you. See my post w/the Ray Charles video several posts above.
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#1948904 - 08/25/12 10:37 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: rocket88]
Toastie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 208
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Don't try to stop your swaying; it is natural to you. See my post w/the Ray Charles video several posts above.


Thank you, I do think it is natural, yes, though other people's reactions to it are not always positive. I think perhaps because swaying (when there is no music) may be associated with disorders or mental illnesses, so healthy musical swaying then looks kind of strange.
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#1948906 - 08/25/12 10:39 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
outo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Toastie


I just realised I went completely off topic, sorry, please carry on!! Metronome, yeah smile



Not off topic at all, you're obviously a human metronome! You just need to add sound...

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#1948908 - 08/25/12 10:43 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: outo]
Toastie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 208
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: outo
Originally Posted By: Toastie


I just realised I went completely off topic, sorry, please carry on!! Metronome, yeah smile



Not off topic at all, you're obviously a human metronome! You just need to add sound...


If I start saying DING-tock-tock-tock I think that's most definitely going to help people see I'm not crazy, yes. grin
_________________________
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#1948912 - 08/25/12 10:59 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
outo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
Maybe we should just go practice grin

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#1948913 - 08/25/12 10:59 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5292
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
I, too, have a natural sense of rhythm. I've danced all my life. I actually have a reputation as one whose beat one should follow.

I use the metronome all the time.

One of the fiddlers in the dance band I'm in has one with a really loud tock, and when we're prepping for a dance there's usually 2 or 3 sets when he sets it out in the middle of the floor and the whole band plays to it.

It's surprising what it reveals smile

One time I put my metronome on and played right along with it (I'm the oom pah in the band) and a hot new young fiddler with some great styling played the melody. He finished a couple of measures ahead of me. His was fun music, tho. It was just too fast by the time he was done to dance to.

It was frustrating the first couple of times I tried it lo these many years ago. But - if I couldn't play it with the metronome, I didn't know it as well as I thought I did.

I haven't used a drum or rhythm backing, but indeed it might be less annoying than a "click." But there are drummers who use "click tracks" both for practising and for performing.

So I find it useful, even tho I have excellent rhythm. It lets me know if I'm not as solid on a tune as I would like to think I am. It lets me know if I'm speeding up parts (I usually speed up the hard parts and hold the end of phrase a fraction too long). It helps me find exactly where the beat is that I need to syncopate against (another time when it's easy to rush), so that my ear/body begins to hear/feel the groove. It helps the band as whole to be on the same tempo, and to listen to each other so we synch.

Yup, frustrating at first. But as someone else said, a useful tool once one understands and uses it well.

YMMV, of course. And maybe, just maybe, you, too, may not be as solid on a tune as you want to think you are. Most people I know occasionally like to fool themselves laugh

Cathy


Edited by jotur (08/25/12 11:02 AM)
Edit Reason: typos

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#1948917 - 08/25/12 11:04 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158

This discussion (about body movement) is a good illustration that you play the piano with your entire mind and body, not as a statue frozen on the seat, moving fingers and hands.

Originally Posted By: Outo
Well... when playing strictly in the classical manner you are supposed to sit up still and not do anything that is not needed to produce better sound. Unless you are famous, then you can sit as you wish, hunch and do whatever you like. Sigh...


Famous pianists are typically great pianists; Perhaps breaking the rules regarding body movement is part of what makes them great pianists.
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#1948922 - 08/25/12 11:15 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 728
Loc: Canada
It took me a very long time before I could play with a metronome. I still can't play hands together with my mechanical one - I thought it was because it's too loud, but maybe it's because of the irregularities Richard mentioned. I still use it once in a while, but just playing one hand or the other, not together. But the metronome on my computer (GarageBand) I can use & play hands together. It takes practice, though - I just had to desensitize myself to the sound.
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#1948937 - 08/25/12 11:34 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1689
Loc: Pennsylvania
My wife used to play bass in the local symphony orchestra. Even though she had been playing most of her life, she used the metronome as a significant tool. When I would hear her practicing, I would hear the metronome. She would play through a section of the music, then move the metronome a notch faster and play it again. She would continue in that fashion until she had it at performance speed. She also had a good sense of rhythm.

When I play through a section of music with the metronome going ... and I get it right on ... It gives me a sense of accomplishment. I know then that I have nailed it and may be ready to move on ... either faster ... or to the next part.

When I struggle with it on, I know it is because I really have not mastered it yet and I am trying to move through it too fast. The metronome tells me to stop and work on that part a bit more.

I don't like to hear that either. I, like all of us, wants to move on to the next part or the next piece of music. And, I can still do that. But I know the truth anyway. What I do with that truth is up to me.
_________________________
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#1948951 - 08/25/12 12:04 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: jotur]
outo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: jotur

And maybe, just maybe, you, too, may not be as solid on a tune as you want to think you are. Most people I know occasionally like to fool themselves laugh


Then again maybe I do. But only when it comes to rhythm. I have a lot of other problems. I am not one of those people who fool themselves, unfortunately quite opposite. I would just love to be able to ingore my mistakes and lack of fine touch. As my teacher says, my playing would be a lot better if I didn't require perfection all the time.

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#1948955 - 08/25/12 12:10 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: dmd]
outo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 388
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: dmd

I don't like to hear that either. I, like all of us, wants to move on to the next part or the next piece of music. And, I can still do that. But I know the truth anyway. What I do with that truth is up to me.


I'm afraid I'm not like all the rest then, because I am never satisfied until I think it's perfect and because that can never happen I just keep working with the sections/pieces forever. When I leave them behind I leave them behind knowing that I never mastered them.

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#1948975 - 08/25/12 12:57 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
KurtZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 776
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As a working drummer 20 years ago, I simply had to get used to playing with a click track. 30 years of playing drums has given me a pretty easy feel for rhythm but I still keep the metronome close when I practice the piano and probably use it for some reason almost every day I practice.

A musician "hating" the metronome is like a carpenter hating the tape measure. If you've ever played any kind of flight or flying game on a game console, you may remember how at the beginning you over controlled and "chased" the plane with the joystick. This is what most people do when they start out on the metronome. If you want the benefits that accrue from well applied metronome practice, you need to slow down and introduce it on easier material. Scales, Short etudes, pieces from your easier books etc. If you do that for 5-15 minutes every day for a few weeks, I think you'll find that the hate diminishes and you'll reach for it when the need arises just like the carpenter reaches for his tape measure.

Kurt
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#1948976 - 08/25/12 01:00 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
Sand Tiger Online   content
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I don't like the metronome. I did find it useful when learning basic arpeggios.

/edit to add: outo's post which comes after this one, hits upon a good point. There are plenty of excellent musicians that don't use the metronome. Just because one person finds it valuable doesn't mean that the next person will. To personalize it, in terms of not having good rhythm, or being lazy, or not wanting the "truth" is inaccurate. For some the tension that it causes costs more than the benefits.

Can these musicians that don't like metronomes, learn to use it properly? Probably. However, it will take effort, and for some with tons of effort. People often think that everyone is like them, that if they took a day or a week to learn to use the metronome as a useful tool, it will take others the same time, and those that don't use it are lazy. For another person, for whatever reasons, it might be a year of dedicated work to get it to be a positive, and that year could be much better spent on learning other things and using other tools.

Listen to what the others are saying. If someone uses the word hate, it often is a visceral emotional response, that will take a lot of effort to overcome. I do not believe it has much to do with the case that the metronome users and lovers seem to be forwarding.



Edited by Sand Tiger (08/25/12 01:47 PM)
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#1948977 - 08/25/12 01:02 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
outo Offline
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This discussion has sort of lost focus. Yes, the thread says metronome hatred, but I don't think it is what were were talking about. I don't like the sound of the metronome and I also do not think it is as important in learning to play piano as some of you think. I have used it and will use it, but definitely not daily, not even weekly.
There are competent pianists who think it is an absolute must and those who don't. Results are what matters. And people get good results without a metronome.

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#1948988 - 08/25/12 01:48 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
tangleweeds Offline

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One factor to consider if you hate your metronome: is it an electronic one that makes nasty little beepy sounds? Ugh, yes, metronomes with electronic beeps are annoying. They do make electronic ones that make nice realistic "tock" sounds, like the analog/mechanical kind. There is a site (metrnonomes.com, I think) which lets you listen to the sounds their various metronomes make.

I used to hate metronomes. Then, after a while, I learned to use them as tools to stress myself out. Often it's useful to see whether you can do a musical task under stress, since one is under stress when performing, accompanying, etc. So I started out by using the metronome as a purposeful stressor.

If you choose to do this, but find the metronome "impossible to play along with" then you need to slow it down. Just keep slowing it down until you find a tempo that you can play along without issues (philosophical digression: this is somewhat akin to the wisdom of experience where you learn to slow down your practice to where you make no mistakes).

I often use a brisk metronome to make slightly-too-easy sight reading material more stressful. Works wonders.

After I'd done this sort of stress-testing via metronome for a while, I completely got over my phobia, and the metronome became an extremely useful tool for polishing difficult bits of pieces. At this point, it's no skin off my ego to admit that if I can't play it with a metronome, then I don't really know it.

And no, I don't use a metronome because I suffer from some sort of broken sense of rhythm in need of repair. When I was younger and went out dancing at nightclubs, members of various bands asked if I was a musician, then told me I should be, because the rhythmic awareness in dancing kept catching their eye. (Back then I believed I was tone deaf and musically hopeless, so I got my musical "fix" via dancing).
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#1948992 - 08/25/12 01:55 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: tangleweeds]
outo Offline
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Originally Posted By: tangleweeds
One factor to consider if you hate your metronome: is it an electronic one that makes nasty little beepy sounds? Ugh, yes, metronomes with electronic beeps are annoying.


Mine is one of those yes. If I used it more I guess I could get one with a less annoying sound...

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#1948993 - 08/25/12 02:00 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: outo]
outo Offline
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I wonder, if you really use the metronome that much, what kind of music do you play? Because the difficulties in my pieces definitely are not in keeping time, they are in phrasing, dynamics and touch...

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#1949002 - 08/25/12 02:28 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
dmd Offline
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Let me add another note concerning the notion that using a metronome in some way is the cause of tension and therefore you choose not to use it.

I might suggest this ...

Set the metronome to 90 bpm and play a single half-note on middle C for each beat of the metronome.

I am going to guess that you experience absolutely no tension.

That is because you have no anxiety with which note you need to play on that beat.

If you do experience tension, then you are right ... you have a phobia connected to a metronome and probably will not find it useful.

If you do not experience tension, believe it or not you can experience that same calm and lack of tension while playing a piece of music with the metronome going. All that is required is that you play it at a speed which gives you adequate time to determine the next note that is to be played.

Every teacher I have ever had always told me to not worry about playing it fast. Just get everything else right and with continued practice ... speed just happens.

After years of hearing it, I am finally a believer.
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#1949003 - 08/25/12 02:31 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: dmd]
outo Offline
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Originally Posted By: dmd

Every teacher I have ever had always told me to not worry about playing it fast. Just get everything else right and with continued practice ... speed just happens.

After years of hearing it, I am finally a believer.



THAT is so true. But it is very hard to understand before you have experienced it yourself.

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#1949005 - 08/25/12 02:36 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: outo]
dmd Offline
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Originally Posted By: outo
I wonder, if you really use the metronome that much, what kind of music do you play? Because the difficulties in my pieces definitely are not in keeping time, they are in phrasing, dynamics and touch...


In my case, I only use it for classical music which usually requires a steady tempo. And then, usually only for areas which I am struggling with. I will set the metronome to a speed where I am completely at ease playing that part and then slowly increase the speed while going over and over the part. My goal is to play it without hesitation. If I detect hesitation or tension, I back the speed down and play it at the slower speed a few more times and then try moving it up again.

I use it to help keep me honest about where I am with the piece I am working on. Without using a metronome I can rationalize mistakes as just a distraction or whatever. When I use the metronome it tells me the truth.
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#1949016 - 08/25/12 02:54 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: dmd]
outo Offline
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Originally Posted By: dmd
Originally Posted By: outo
I wonder, if you really use the metronome that much, what kind of music do you play? Because the difficulties in my pieces definitely are not in keeping time, they are in phrasing, dynamics and touch...


In my case, I only use it for classical music which usually requires a steady tempo. And then, usually only for areas which I am struggling with. I will set the metronome to a speed where I am completely at ease playing that part and then slowly increase the speed while going over and over the part. My goal is to play it without hesitation. If I detect hesitation or tension, I back the speed down and play it at the slower speed a few more times and then try moving it up again.

I use it to help keep me honest about where I am with the piece I am working on. Without using a metronome I can rationalize mistakes as just a distraction or whatever. When I use the metronome it tells me the truth.


I record myself practicing regularly, that is really revealing! Maybe that's why I don't feel the need for the metronome that much anymore.

I usually alternate between slow and fast practice a lot. I just don't use the metronome to gradually increase the tempo. I did that in the beginning, but I don't believe in it anymore. I do slow practice and I do in tempo regularly to check that the fingerings and movements work in tempo also. I find it more suitable method to me.

Many of the pieces I work with don't have metronome markings. They are from time before the metronome existed. Tempo markings in general are questionable, since they don't necessarily come from the composer originally, but can be edited. We discuss these issues with my teacher and sometimes she suggests a slower tempo. So speed really is not an issue. It's more about learning to execute all the things in the piece well enough to be able to maintain the tempo and vary it also (when the piece allows it).

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#1949022 - 08/25/12 03:02 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: outo]
dmd Offline
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Originally Posted By: outo
I record myself practicing regularly, that is really revealing!


That is another great tool that I should make more use of. I have anxiety issues when performing and it is believed that recording yourself can help with that. Supposedly, it gets you used to playing under pressure.

I probably helps some with that. However, I think that the cure for that is also the time tested ... practice ... practice ... practice. I believe that you get nervous when you are not solid with your preparation so you are hoping things go well instead of knowing it.


Edited by dmd (08/25/12 03:10 PM)
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#1949024 - 08/25/12 03:08 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: dmd]
outo Offline
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Originally Posted By: dmd
Originally Posted By: outo
I record myself practicing regularly, that is really revealing!


That is another great tool that I should make more use of. I have anxiety issues when performing and it is believed that recording yourself can help with that.


I does make me nervous. I used to play really badly when I had just turned the camera on and tried to play a piece (I use video camera because it's more handy than setting up audio equipment). So what I do now is just leave the camera on for a longer period when I practice and I can forget it (until the card fills smile

I can also record my playing on my silent piano, but the sound is really thin and unnatural so I use it rarely.

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#1949033 - 08/25/12 03:46 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
Tech 5 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Toastie
I only use it to check a piece I've already been working on and am very familiar with, though I usually find I don't need it (could be because what i'm currently doing is very easy though). If i try to use it when I am just starting a new piece then it just makes me feel frustrated and I end up ignoring it, though I sometimes find it helpful if I need to stop and go over something I'm stuck on.

This is strange, but if I use it to play a whole piece I find it oddly hypnotic and I won't realise when I've finished playing as I'll be sitting there staring into space. I could sit and listen to it like that for hours. Hope that's not just me.


I want your metronome! It must have a much more pleasant sound this does mine.:)
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#1949034 - 08/25/12 03:51 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
Tech 5 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Toastie
It's an app on my iPad. It's very pleasant. I sometimes listen to it when I'm not actually playing the piano just because I like it. I think maybe this means I'm crazy, but I like anything with a steady rhythm including the noise of the fan heater and the vacuum cleaner. blush


Now, I too like the sound of a fan. I have to have a fan on to sleep every night. So, wonder if I could get that app. on my Mac laptop. I don't have an iPad.
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#1949035 - 08/25/12 03:57 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: zrtf90]
Tech 5 Offline
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Thanks, Richard. I shall definitely checkout that website you recommended.
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#1949037 - 08/25/12 04:00 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: outo]
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I only loose the pulse when I forget what I am doing (which happens all the time) and the metronome doesn't help with that it just causes more panic smile[/quote]


Actually the metronome causes me to loose my place.
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#1949038 - 08/25/12 04:03 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: rocket88]
Tech 5 Offline
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Originally Posted By: rocket88

If swaying with the music helps you to play rhythmically and in time, and you do it naturally, you should not try to stop it.

Swaying with the beat certainly did not hurt this guy's music:



Actually, I love Ray Charles...use to listen to him frequently when I was a youth. Maybe the swaying idea is not so bad an idea, except some music doesn't really go with the swaying motion.
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#1949162 - 08/25/12 11:03 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
John_In_Montreal Offline
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Originally Posted By: Toastie
If I start saying DING-tock-tock-tock I think that's most definitely going to help people see I'm not crazy, yes. grin


Maybe you could then offer your services as a human metronome smile

John
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#1949171 - 08/25/12 11:21 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
Amaruk Offline
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Another alternative to the metronome, not yet mentioned I think, is to play along with a professional recording of the piece. It helps with rhythm and can be used to spot errors (wrong notes) in your performance. I use the free app Anytune which is awesome by the way. It can slow down the recording as well as transpose it on the fly!


Edited by Amaruk (08/25/12 11:23 PM)
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#1949174 - 08/25/12 11:57 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
stumbler Offline
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I can empathize with the OP. I started lessons again this summer after 30 years of sporadic playing on my own.

I've been very frustrated with the metronome. It was not close to the core of my concentration. I would lose track of it, then realize I was off but not know where it happened. I've been working on a Back invention. No problem using a metronome hands separate, but playing both hands with different dynamics for each hand I would lose track fairly quickly and couldn't tell if I was ahead or behind.

Slowly I've gained some ability to work with the metronome. One thing I found that helped was a metronome that stressed the beats differently (for example 1bigstress 2 3stress 4). The stressed beats let me know whether I had gotten ahead or fallen behind. Usually I had gotten ahead. Perversely I speed up when it gets more difficult, subjective time slows down. The metronome helped me determine that my hand positioning for the ends of some phrases was causing me to rush them.

Slowly I'm starting to be able to work with the metronome. One day while keeping to the metronome in one of the more complicated sections were I tend to speed up, I had the sense that the metronome was slowing down---weird eh?

I don't think I'll ever love the metronome, but I'm not as frustrated now.
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#1949201 - 08/26/12 02:32 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: stumbler]
outo Offline
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Now when I think about it the most annoying thing about the metronome probably is that when I play a piece of music I hear it in my head at the same time. I try to get the sound of my playing to match this image. Imagine listening to wonderful piece of music and then this beeping sound on it???

This is not a problem when playing sales or just practicing a small difficult section in music.

I think people understand and work out music in different ways. That's why for some people the metronome is a helpful tool and for some it is not. There's little sence in telling someone to change the way they concieve things, it has been decades since it was beleived that people all learn in similar matter and those who did differently were just lazy...


Edited by outo (08/26/12 02:36 AM)

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#1949214 - 08/26/12 03:33 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
Tech 5 Offline
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I appreciate all the comments and advice from this group. I'm very new to the piano, so the word "performance" is not really part of my vocabulary yet. I'm at the very beginning stages of learning to play the piano and I'm having much difficulty with rhythm....so, sounds like from most of you that I need to just get use to it because the metronome will help with the rhythm issues eventually. Maybe I'll slow it down. I have it set on 60
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#1949225 - 08/26/12 05:14 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
outo Offline
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Originally Posted By: Virginia Larson
I appreciate all the comments and advice from this group. I'm very new to the piano, so the word "performance" is not really part of my vocabulary yet. I'm at the very beginning stages of learning to play the piano and I'm having much difficulty with rhythm....so, sounds like from most of you that I need to just get use to it because the metronome will help with the rhythm issues eventually. Maybe I'll slow it down. I have it set on 60


I just have to politely disagree with what some here have written. I still think the metronome is a tool for an advanced musician rather than something a beginner should use.

Piano teaching has evolved. I haven't had many teachers but I have friends who also study piano. We all have teachers who have degrees in teaching. NONE of them tell a beginner to use metronome for practice. You learn rhythm and inner pulse by counting and clapping exercises and when you play the piano you concentrate on correct movements, dynamics and touch.

Sure, it looks much more cool for an adult to play with the metronome than to do clapping exercises smile But if one wants to really learn this thing, one has to forget about looking cool for a while. That will come back later.

What I am writing next applies to classical music, so you can ignore it if you play something else...

The piano is a curious instument. It is a percussion instrument by mechanics, yet we all strive to make it "sing". To make the piano sing you try to lose the percussive nature on the piano. This does not mean that you can lose the beat. That must come naturally without effort for you to be able to do all the other things. I do not believe the metronome is the answer to get there.

EDIT:
Virginia, do you have a teacher? If so, you should listen to him. If he tells you to use the metronome, then you do. The problem with internet is that it is full of people who know what's best for you on the basis of their OWN experiences. They have never seen you play or seen how you behave in a learning situation, yet they are fast to dismiss your teacher's ideas and promote their own. Of course not all teachers are perfect, but the one you have chosen should be the one who you listen to. I used to question (mostly silently) the things my teacher told me to do quite a lot in the beginning because of what I had read in the net. It confused me and slowed my progress. I now see (after a year) that my teacher knows what she is doing because I am finally seeing the improvements in my playing. You just don't get there overnight.

If you make no progress after a longer period and the teachings of your teacher still make no sense, it's best to chance teacher instead of paying him while actually teaching yourself over the internet (possibly wrong).


Edited by outo (08/26/12 05:56 AM)

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#1949314 - 08/26/12 11:06 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
jotur Offline
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Originally Posted By: Virginia Larson
I appreciate all the comments and advice from this group. I'm very new to the piano, so the word "performance" is not really part of my vocabulary yet. I'm at the very beginning stages of learning to play the piano and I'm having much difficulty with rhythm....so, sounds like from most of you that I need to just get use to it because the metronome will help with the rhythm issues eventually. Maybe I'll slow it down. I have it set on 60


This is a great place for different ideas and perspectives. It's nice to have these discussions and see what does and doesn't work for others, and different approaches to solving problems.

I'd guess that currently you're playing a quarter note on the beat with the metronome on 6o? So, yes, slowing the metronome down is one idea. You could also play a half note on the beat with the metronome at 60, which would make the music twice as slow!

If you slow it down you might also try playing just one measure at a time - it's much less stressful to play a very short part to the metronome until you get used to it.

outo's suggestion of clapping exercises is one I hear often, too. And several other of the ideas above people have shared - playing the same pitch - just a single note over and over, for example - to get used to the metronome.

Part of the fun of playing the piano, for me, is the challenge, and figuring out ways to meet it! Sounds like you're on you're way - and you'll get it done, too.

Welcome to the ABF.

Cathy
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#1949325 - 08/26/12 11:54 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
rocket88 Offline
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Virginia, what piece of music are you using the metronome with?

Usually, people who have trouble with the metronome are trying to do it with a more complex piece of music.

They typically benefit by using it on a very easy piece, much much easier than what they can play w/o the metronome. Something like Mary had a little lamb is great.

Think of it like juggling...if you can play a piece without the metronome, and then you try to add it, or counting, that is like juggling with three balls and then adding another ball.

The brain just can't keep up, so the solution is to either slow everything down, as Cathy suggested, or to play a piece that is very very simple, which is also slowing down, in this case slowing the mental processing. I suggest you do both.

Go as simple, and as slow, as necessary to integrate the click.

I have helped dozens of students with this, and slow / simple is always what has worked.

Sometimes "simple and slow" is just playing one note over and over with the metronome.

What that does is create a new pathway in the brain. Once that is established, more complex application becomes possible.
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#1949423 - 08/26/12 03:32 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: rocket88]
Tech 5 Offline
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Originally Posted By: rocket88
Virginia, what piece of music are you using the metronome with?

Usually, people who have trouble with the metronome are trying to do it with a more complex piece of music.

They typically benefit by using it on a very easy piece, much much easier than what they can play w/o the metronome. Something like Mary had a little lamb is great.

Think of it like juggling...if you can play a piece without the metronome, and then you try to add it, or counting, that is like juggling with three balls and then adding another ball.

The brain just can't keep up, so the solution is to either slow everything down, as Cathy suggested, or to play a piece that is very very simple, which is also slowing down, in this case slowing the mental processing. I suggest you do both.

Go as simple, and as slow, as necessary to integrate the click.

I have helped dozens of students with this, and slow / simple is always what has worked.

Sometimes "simple and slow" is just playing one note over and over with the metronome.

What that does is create a new pathway in the brain. Once that is established, more complex application becomes possible.


Thanks, Rocket....I will try to slow it down and convince myself that I will someday love the metronome. After all, I learned to love the Mac after being a PC person since the computer was invented, so, there's hope for the metronome. I know I need some help with rhythm...that's for sure, and if its the metronome that can help with that then so be it.
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#1949532 - 08/26/12 07:20 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: rocket88]
dmd Offline
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Originally Posted By: rocket88
Go as simple, and as slow, as necessary to integrate the click.

I have helped dozens of students with this, and slow / simple is always what has worked.

Sometimes "simple and slow" is just playing one note over and over with the metronome.


Virginia: As you may have surmised, SLOWLY is the answer. This is something I heard over and over for years. I never quite got it but I do now. The sooner you grasp that concept the sooner you will begin to make real progress.

When you make mistakes, those mistakes become lodged in your brain and your brain thinks you intended to play that wrong note. So, the next time you play the piece ... when you come to that note, your brain will try to automatically play that WRONG note. Now, you have make a special effort to play the right note. So, the fewer mistakes you make the more your brain is able to predict what the correct notes are and it goes almost on automatic pilot. That is what you are trying to accomplish. Get that brain doing things without so much thinking on your part.
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#1949543 - 08/26/12 07:56 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
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.
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#1949595 - 08/26/12 10:54 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4398
Loc: San Jose, CA
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.
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#1949645 - 08/27/12 03:27 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 903
Loc: Italy
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)
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Martha Argerich playing is like fast and furious sex on a piano. (read in a forum)

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#1949648 - 08/27/12 03:51 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Jeff Clef]
Tech 5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 194
Loc: South Carolina
[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]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 728
Loc: Canada
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.
_________________________
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(Started playing July 2008)



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#1949735 - 08/27/12 10:08 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2238
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
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
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Richard

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#1949878 - 08/27/12 03:05 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
Farmerjones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 179
Loc: USA
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.

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#1949948 - 08/27/12 05:13 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Farmerjones]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2238
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
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.
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Richard

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#1950194 - 08/28/12 03:21 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Farmerjones]
Tech 5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 194
Loc: South Carolina
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

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#1950197 - 08/28/12 03:27 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Farmerjones]
Tech 5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 194
Loc: South Carolina
"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?
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Virginia

"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
J.Wooden

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#1950202 - 08/28/12 03:44 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
MaryAnn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Japan
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.

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#1950224 - 08/28/12 06:06 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1689
Loc: Pennsylvania
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

My current system: Kawai ES7 + Focal CMS40 Powered Monitors, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, Mackie ProFX8 Mixer, Ravenscroft275, True Keys American Grand, Ivory II American Concert D, Steinway Basic, Galaxy Vintage D, True Pianos, Pianoteq, Alicia's Keys

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#1950248 - 08/28/12 08:04 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: dmd]
Bentissimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/12
Posts: 31
Loc: Illinois, USA
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).
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"Today you are the perfect age to chase your dream." - Jon Acuff

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#1950275 - 08/28/12 09:36 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Bentissimo]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
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.


Edited by rocket88 (08/28/12 10:04 AM)
Edit Reason: clarity
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Music teacher and piano player.

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#1950281 - 08/28/12 09:44 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2238
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
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
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Richard

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#1950298 - 08/28/12 10:13 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4398
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...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.


Edited by Jeff Clef (08/28/12 02:23 PM)
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#1950360 - 08/28/12 12:06 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Jeff Clef]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
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.
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#1950582 - 08/28/12 08:36 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
SoundThumb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/10
Posts: 325
Loc: San Diego, CA
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.

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#1950585 - 08/28/12 08:40 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: SoundThumb]
Tech 5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 194
Loc: South Carolina
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

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#1950693 - 08/29/12 02:07 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3252
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]
Tech 5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 194
Loc: South Carolina
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

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#1950767 - 08/29/12 06:58 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
Tech 5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 194
Loc: South Carolina
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

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#1950857 - 08/29/12 11:04 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: rocket88]
Bentissimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/12
Posts: 31
Loc: Illinois, USA
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...
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#1950875 - 08/29/12 11:29 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Sounds good!
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#1951777 - 08/30/12 10:43 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: MaryAnn]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1190
Loc: Cleveland, OH
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!
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Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
XVI-XXXII

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#1951852 - 08/31/12 03:05 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: MaryBee]
Tech 5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 194
Loc: South Carolina
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

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#1969823 - 10/07/12 12:42 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: dmd]
John Dickinson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/04/10
Posts: 51
Loc: California, USA
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
www.jdickinson.com
Kawai K8, Kawai ES6

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#1969898 - 10/07/12 03:40 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: John Dickinson]
Tech 5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 194
Loc: South Carolina
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

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#1969918 - 10/07/12 04:32 PM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2238
Loc: 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.
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Richard

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

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: 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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