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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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"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
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#1948811 - 08/25/12 04:28 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Tech 5]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 806
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: 1383
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
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 826
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
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 806
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
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 210
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
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 806
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
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 210
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
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 806
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: 2437
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
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 806
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: 210
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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Complete Beginner August 2012
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'Play Piano' Book 2 - finished
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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: 1930
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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Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#1948879 - 08/25/12 09:40 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 806
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
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 806
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: 3179

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: 210
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
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 806
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
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 806
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: 210
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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Complete Beginner August 2012
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Grade 1 Exam Pieces
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#1948895 - 08/25/12 10:16 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 806
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: 210
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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Grade 1 Exam Pieces
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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: 3179
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: 210
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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'Play Piano' Book 2 - finished
Grade 1 Sight Reading - finished
Grade 1 Exam Pieces
Grade 1 Scales
The Easy Piano Collection Classical Gold
Yamaha U3

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#1948906 - 08/25/12 10:39 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 806
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: 210
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
_________________________
Complete Beginner August 2012
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'Play Piano' Book 2 - finished
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Grade 1 Exam Pieces
Grade 1 Scales
The Easy Piano Collection Classical Gold
Yamaha U3

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#1948912 - 08/25/12 10:59 AM Re: metronome hatred [Re: Toastie]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 806
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: 5640
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: 3179

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: 741
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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