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#2109823 - 06/28/13 05:30 PM Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when?
MaggieGirl Offline
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Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 477
Just curious!


Edited by MaggieGirl (06/28/13 05:37 PM)

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#2109833 - 06/28/13 05:47 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
dynamobt Online   content
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Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 661
Loc: NH
As a student, I say, not with everything. But, there are some times it is almost manditory.
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#2109859 - 06/28/13 06:41 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
MaggieGirl Offline
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Registered: 09/18/11
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What would be an example of a mandatory time to use one?

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#2109863 - 06/28/13 06:45 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
ten left thumbs Offline
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I tend to use one in the first or second lesson. I just get them to turn it on, off, and slide the wee thingy up and down, guessing whether it makes it faster and slower. I'll sometimes do clapping rhythms to the 'nome.

If is is used for real playing, it is mostly to slow things down, or to prove to the student they really can't do it at the fast speed they want to go at.

But I have mostly beginners and I think serious players tend to use it more, and more wisely.
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#2109868 - 06/28/13 06:54 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
MaggieGirl Offline
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Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 477
My daughter has only used one once when her brother insisted she use it (he had to play piano in school). Her teacher has never asked her to use one (which is fine by me), she is told to count when she plays.

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#2109882 - 06/28/13 07:25 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
Joyce_dup1 Offline
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Registered: 05/01/02
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Loc: Chicago
Yes, to help correct uneven scales. And to help develop speed.

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#2109889 - 06/28/13 07:37 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
ezpiano.org Offline
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Registered: 05/10/11
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Loc: Irvine, CA
I use metronome on FIRST lesson. I asked new or transfer students to clap following the metronome, then I can tell if he can follow or not. For some people, internal rhythm is not something they born with, so, they need extra training.
Beginner books that I use has a CD that comes with it. It counted as "metronome" if student practice with it at home.
So to answer your question, yes, I use metronome from day 1 of piano lesson.
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#2109894 - 06/28/13 07:42 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
missbelle Offline
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Registered: 07/24/12
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Loc: USA
from the very first lessons, since a strong sense of rhythm is crucial!

I have two free metronome apps on my phone, and one of them has a space where you yourself can tap and it will tell you your speed. I can keep it fairly steady, but it is harder than you think!
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#2109918 - 06/28/13 09:32 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
keystring Online   content
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I'm wondering if an addition to that question might be:
- How would you like your students to use the metronome, and when?
- How would you like them NOT to use the metronome?

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#2109926 - 06/28/13 09:47 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: keystring]
TimR Offline
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Registered: 08/17/04
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Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
I'm wondering if an addition to that question might be:

- How would you like them NOT to use the metronome?


My personal opinion, which likely few agree with: never use it for incremental speedup. Example, a piece needs to be at q = 120, I can play it at 90, so I set metronome at 60, play through, move up to 61, play through, etc. Horrible! But widely praised in some circles.

Quote:
- How would you like your students to use the metronome, and when?


At all other times! Hee, hee. But especially as a check for continuity between sections, and loss of the strong beat during syncopation. Or at any time rushing or dragging is not detected.

I use one fairly frequently, enough to calibrate my internal pulse.

I doubt any of my handbell ringers owns one. But I make them follow me, which hopefully has some of the same benefits.
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#2109982 - 06/28/13 11:59 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: TimR]
Brinestone Offline
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Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 350
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: keystring
I'm wondering if an addition to that question might be:

- How would you like them NOT to use the metronome?


My personal opinion, which likely few agree with: never use it for incremental speedup. Example, a piece needs to be at q = 120, I can play it at 90, so I set metronome at 60, play through, move up to 61, play through, etc. Horrible! But widely praised in some circles.



Can you expound on this? My teacher did this in high school with me, and it seemed to work great. I've used it once or twice with a student as well, and they seem to love the challenge and the discovery that, with practice, they can move the ticker up a few bpm.

To answer the original post, I use metronomes all the time. Rhythm is the #1 thing beginning students struggle with, in my experience. Metronomes don't work if you can't stay with them, so I've had to be wise about my use of them and not prescribe them without any guidance or explanation. Still, when used prudently, I find they're a great teaching tool.
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#2109986 - 06/29/13 12:02 AM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: Brinestone]
ezpiano.org Offline
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Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: Brinestone
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: keystring
I'm wondering if an addition to that question might be:- How would you like them NOT to use the metronome?


My personal opinion, which likely few agree with: never use it for incremental speedup. Example, a piece needs to be at q = 120, I can play it at 90, so I set metronome at 60, play through, move up to 61, play through, etc. Horrible! But widely praised in some circles.


Can you expound on this? My teacher did this in high school with me, and it seemed to work great. I've used it once or twice with a student as well, and they seem to love the challenge and the discovery that, with practice, they can move the ticker up a few bpm.


I have same question mark as you Brinestone!! I do not understand why would be it be horrible, maybe Tim can enlighten us.

smile
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#2110046 - 06/29/13 03:31 AM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
Bobpickle Offline

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Registered: 05/24/12
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#2110074 - 06/29/13 06:14 AM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
Michael_99 Offline
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Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
I have a drum machine, metronomes - but when I began learning the piano - I have never used a metronome because when I had a sax teacher, he taught me to count through the measures.

Now I can't afford a teacher, but when I began piano I was very careful of about knowing the note values and counting the note values through the measures.

So two things occurred. I learned how to read and play the music accurately so I didn't need a recording to listen to how it was supposed to sound.

And I didn't need a metronome because I soon could feel the note values within my body.

Increasing ones ability to play faster is done very slowly over a long period of time/practice, so it isn't the metronome that is of any help in the speed building.

But people who haven't learned note values and knowing how to count and play through the measures accurately are in lots of trouble until they have learned that knowledge.

But when one gets to very complicated music at Presto/200, it may be that a metronome could be used for checking accuracy, but if you play a piece slowly and accurately, you should still be okay as you are speed building if you play in the same fashion - except that as humans we can go slower and faster related to performance, fear, etc. - another issue.

I know when I play I can immediately hear the slightist error of timing.

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#2110098 - 06/29/13 08:08 AM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
dynamobt Online   content
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Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 661
Loc: NH
Gee, incremental speed up is one of the situations I feel a metronome is manditory. I know it has helped me with Bach and Mozart especially. I also feel that if a metronome is not used during the learning of a piece, it can be very revealing to use it to reveal rushed measures in a nearly finished piece.

Believe it or not, I used to have a riding instructor who had people keep set of keys in there pocket during trotting to help maintain a steady rhythm. Even when heeling a dog for competition it can be helpful to establish and then maintain a steady pace.

Some students have an internal metronome and can keep a beat. Others have to acquire that skill through the use of counting and a metronome. Also, if used early, students get over the fear of using one. It can be a very valuable tool in a student's learning. They should get comfortable using one. Because, it's just a aid and not a big deal to use one.
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#2110126 - 06/29/13 10:13 AM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
MomOfBeginners Offline
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Registered: 12/03/09
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Loc: California, USA
I am not a piano teacher, but I use it to slow down my daughter's playing.

Sometimes she works on a short section (say 2-4 measures) and keeps tripping over that section. She tends to keep playing that section again in high speed incorrectly, even when I ask her to slow it down.

But if I set the metronome on a slow speed, and ask her to play that short section following the metronome, she will play that section correctly.
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#2110155 - 06/29/13 11:59 AM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
tend to rush Offline
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Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 51
Not a teacher, either, but as one who uses a metronome in regular practice, I think that speed should only be increased as one gets sufficient command of a piece that the current tempo becomes maddeningly slow. I think it would be a mistake to increase the tempo in an effort to "push" yourself to be able to play it faster. That would seem to go against all we've ever been told about the value of slow practice. Really, once you've achieved thorough command of a piece, playing it faster is pretty easy.

From the introduction to the MacFarren Scale and Arpeggio Manual (1915):
"Slow practice is GOLDEN; quick practice is LEADEN".

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#2110178 - 06/29/13 12:56 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: tend to rush]
Brinestone Offline
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Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 350
Tend to rush, I love the way you worded this. I am trying to tell my students that all the time, but they don't believe me and "tend to rush." I am tempted to print it up in a pretty font and frame it by my piano. (Okay, maybe not really.)
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#2110353 - 06/29/13 10:01 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: Brinestone]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Brinestone
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: keystring
I'm wondering if an addition to that question might be:

- How would you like them NOT to use the metronome?


My personal opinion, which likely few agree with: never use it for incremental speedup. Example, a piece needs to be at q = 120, I can play it at 90, so I set metronome at 60, play through, move up to 61, play through, etc. Horrible! But widely praised in some circles.



Can you expound on this? My teacher did this in high school with me, and it seemed to work great.


It can work, and it can be counterproductive. I'm short of time, but I'll try to explain a couple of my ideas briefly.

It can work when the main impediment to fast play is unfamiliarity with the piece, rather than lack of technique or incorrect technique. Rostropovich was said to have started learning pieces very slowly, yet clearly he had all the necessary technique to play at tempo.

Caveat: I think like a brass player, not a pianist.

Back to my example: my requirement is 120, my top speed is 90, so I'm going to drop down to 60 and speed up one beat at a time. I'll move right past 90 so slowly I don't even notice.

Q: Why is my current top speed 90? A: Because I'm doing something wrong.

So what happens on the 30 repetitions between 60 and 90 as I speed up incrementally? Practice makes permanent, and I'm practicing the techniques that I've already proven don't work at speed until they are perfect.

I'll usually get past 90, maybe to 95, or even 100. Wrong technique thoroughly practiced can be pushed a little faster. But then you hit a plateau. In the brass world, sometimes for years. Once you've learned something very very well you sometimes build in a speed wall that's hard to get past, sometimes impossible.

Now, another thing happened on those 30 repetitions. You become fatigued, mentally and physically. Fatigue can create error, and error can deviate from wrong technique into right technique. So this approach can sometimes work, for an unusual reason. But there are far more efficient ways.
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#2110443 - 06/30/13 03:59 AM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
a rephrasing of Tim's answer and a discussion on speed walls and a tunnel-vision reliance on metronomic incremental speed-ups: http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=4282.msg39817#msg39817 (i.e. it's in the motions; don't practice slow - practice in slow motion)

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#2110623 - 06/30/13 01:34 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: TimR]
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Originally Posted By: TimR


It can work, and it can be counterproductive. I'm short of time, but I'll try to explain a couple of my ideas briefly.

It can work when the main impediment to fast play is unfamiliarity with the piece, rather than lack of technique or incorrect technique. Rostropovich was said to have started learning pieces very slowly, yet clearly he had all the necessary technique to play at tempo.

...........

Back to my example: my requirement is 120, my top speed is 90, so I'm going to drop down to 60 and speed up one beat at a time. I'll move right past 90 so slowly I don't even notice.

Q: Why is my current top speed 90? A: Because I'm doing something wrong.

So what happens on the 30 repetitions between 60 and 90 as I speed up incrementally? Practice makes permanent, and I'm practicing the techniques that I've already proven don't work at speed until they are perfect.

I'll usually get past 90, maybe to 95, or even 100. Wrong technique thoroughly practiced can be pushed a little faster. But then you hit a plateau. .............
Now, another thing happened on those 30 repetitions. You become fatigued, mentally and physically.


For the last part, which I've highlighted, am I right in understanding that you are talking about speeding up from 60 to 90, notch by notch, in one sitting on the same day? I can see that that wouldn't work well, for the reason you've stated.

I'm also imagining starting slowly and speeding up to happen over days of practising, and that this practising will include other things. Practising slowly is for the sake of doing things right and having the time to do so. Therefore the technical issues should also be ironed out during your slow practice, in sections. If you are a student taking lessons then hopefully your teacher will point out what you need to work on, and how (physical and strategy). If not you have to figure this out on your own. If you do that, then the technical question you've mentioned is being taken care of. (?) Working only on speeding up would not work very well.

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#2110701 - 06/30/13 04:36 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
MaggieGirl Offline
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Registered: 09/18/11
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Thanks for all the links! That was a lot of reading this morning. laugh

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#2110756 - 06/30/13 06:03 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
Michael_99 Offline
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Registered: 07/28/12
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Loc: Canada Alberta
I addressed the metronome on the context of smoothing out the playing, but speed building as others have said is a slow process.

Whenever you play, it is important to be relaxed. So when you determine the speed that you can play the piece at relaxed and without error, of course, you then increase slowly no more than 5 increments at a time. At the point that you begin to make errors, you have drop the speed to level of having no errors. Speed building has nothing to with the fingers, but the brain nd the brain learns slowly over time.

Generally, you have to be able to play at 20 increments higher than the speed you want to play at to allow - you - your brain to be relaxed and you are able to play without errors.

The time involved is not specific but generally, it takes a month or 2 at 60 to 70, 70 to 80, etc up to 120. for instance. But at speeds of 120 to 200, Presto, it can take 6 months or more, of course, depending on the complexity of the piece, easy for Mary a little lamb and very difficult to play Chopin's Ballade No. 4 at 200. So the higher the speed the longer it takes to increase the speed in small increments.




Edited by Michael_99 (06/30/13 06:05 PM)

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#2110769 - 06/30/13 06:18 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: keystring]
keystring Online   content
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I have to admit that I had a couple of things in mind when I asked this question:
Originally Posted By: keystring
I'm wondering if an addition to that question might be:
- How would you like your students to use the metronome, and when?
- How would you like them NOT to use the metronome?


What I've heard from more than one teacher as that they do NOT want their students playing with the metronome running, as a general rule. In fact, I did that for a while and it was a dismal failure because I just ignored it (as was pointed out to me one day). Rather, the idea was to use the metronome some of the time to get an idea of the tempo of something, to work with it maybe when not playing the music, or checking yourself after playing a bit.

Part of the idea was for a student to get a feeling for pulse and meter, rather than relying on an external device, and I think also the danger of "playing metronomically". There were times, however, where in certain situations playing with the metronome was called for.

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#2110887 - 06/30/13 10:43 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: keystring]
TimR Offline
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Registered: 08/17/04
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Loc: Virginia, USA
I also hear people talking the other side of it - they don't want to play with the the metronome because it might cause them to become robotic and unable to be musically expressive.

That may be so for some people, but I think it is used as an excuse by people who find playing with a metronome difficult and want to avoid learning to do so.

At least for some people a metronome can be a step along the way to learning to play with others.
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#2110891 - 06/30/13 11:10 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: Michael_99]
TimR Offline
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Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Michael_99
At the point that you begin to make errors, you have drop the speed to level of having no errors.


Well, no.

If your requirement is to make no errors, then you have to simplify.

You can do that through dropping the speed.

You can simplify many other ways as well. You can go HS, you can skeletonize, you can chunk, you can drop notes, you can loop, etc.

One thing I do frequently is to play a difficult passage at tempo, but reducing it to a small piece, or reducing the changes of notes.

For example. Here's a piece from the brass players world. Sorry about that, I know this is a piano forum, but... we're all musicians here. It's not a virtuoso solo piece, it's simply a difficult piece from the standard band repertoire.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIgjAY55k1g

Rolling Thunder is a classic circus tempo march, normally played at 160. It's a bit demanding for us trombone players - while I don't expect to ever make a mistake sightreading a Sousa march, this is a different challenge that took considerable effort to play at tempo. The trumpet player is pressing a valve down half an inch, I'm moving a heavy slide a couple of feet.

Playing this one at 80 and incrementing a beat at a time, or steps of 5 or 10 will never get you to tempo. Sorry, I've seen people work for years and not get there. I just had a conversation with a good musician who's worked on lip trills out of Arban with the incremental method for 40 years, and didn't succeed.

Well, there's a caveat here too, I guess. Take an highly skilled trombone player skilled at the genre and let him incrementally speed up, he'll get there with the stepwise motion. The other 98% of trombone players will never play this one.

When I worked this one up, I set the metronome to 160, final tempo. I played the first pattern, but on the first two notes. Hard to explain, and so easy to show! There are 13 notes in the first run. I played the first two notes, but continued to play the second note at tempo for the next 11 notes as if I were moving. C-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F Then the first 3 notes in rhythm, and repeated the 3rd note on the rhythm of the next 10. Etc. Master four measures at a time - but sometimes I had to master two notes at a time.

Doing this shows immediately where the difficulty lies. The transition between some notes is easy and others near impossible - and can usually be fixed with a correct fingering choice and a lot of practice.

What I'm saying is yes, you have to simplify; but don't fall into the trap of thinking slowing down is the only way to simplify.

It can be the worst way to simplify.

Once the correct motions at speed are understood, slowing down is often the best way to get real control. But as a first step, particularly for a beginner, it can be very limiting.

I have other objections but they are more philosophical so I'll spare you.
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#2110896 - 06/30/13 11:26 PM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3160
Loc: Maine
Don't stop there! I'd like to hear your philosophical objections.
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#2111980 - 07/03/13 04:09 AM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5454
Loc: Orange County, CA
Wow, there's quite a bit of nonsense in this thread so far.

1. Do you feel students need to use a metronome?

It depends on the student. Some kids innately have a strong sense of pulse, so it would be ludicrous to impose something that the kid doesn't need. On the other extreme, some kids (and adults) have ZERO sense of pulse, and no matter now much you try to shove metronomes down their throats, nothing will help.

Sometimes it's a brain development thing, and you just have to wait it out. It's like Algebra--some kids can do it in 4th grade, most kids can do it in 8th grade, and some kids can't ever do it (and in California that means you don't get to graduate from high school).


2. If so, when?

Two things:
Can the kid clap steadily? Can the kid clap with a metronome? Generally speaking, this happens when the kid turns 8 or 9. Of course, some kids can do it earlier, and some kids will never be able to do it. It really depends on the individual student.
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#2111993 - 07/03/13 05:12 AM Re: Do you feel students need to use a metronome? If so when? [Re: MaggieGirl]
btb Offline
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Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Using a metronome is like having blinkers on ...
no peripheral vision.

And to think that the mighty Beethoven supported it’s first use
after first being patented by Johann Maelzel in 1815.

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by frida11
Today at 04:59 PM
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