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How to improve your rhythm with a metronome

Apple, in Music lessons
Dec 13, 2021 | 3 min read

Timing is a real key thing in music. You can get away with some sloppy chords, but you can’t really get away with your rhythm being sloppy.

Although some movement and flexibility adds personality to the piece, when you’re being a bit too flexible with the tempo, especially when it’s something new to you, it will cause the whole piece to fall apart. A feeling of the pulse can help to get the piece back into shape.

Most musicians know that metronomes are a very useful tool to help you keep time. This is particularly helpful for beginners, who often find they tend to rush a little bit.

Why you should practice with a metronome

1. It enhances your internal sense of rhythm

A common rhythmic problem faced by many beginners is a lack of awareness of the pulse when playing. Practicing with a metronome consistently helps you to pay attention to where the pulse is, and how all the notes fit into each beat.

2. It helps you play faster (or slower)

To train yourself to be able to cope with playing faster, you have to gradually build up your speed. A metronome can help you to increase your speed in small increments. On the flipside, a metronome can help you practice slower too, which is necessary for building better technique.

3. It helps you keep track of progress

When you practice with a metronome, you know your rate of improvement exactly. This can be very motivating as you have evidence of how far your practice has brought you!

How to practice with a metronome

Choose a practice speed that stays in relation with the final tempo that you would like to play in. Say that final tempo is 138 BPM. Next, set up your metronome and practice your piece at half the speed, which is 69 BPM. Then ⅔ tempo, 92 BPM. Next, at ¾ of the final tempo, which is 104 BPM. Then increase it to ⅞ of the final tempo. And finally, play at the final tempo. This puts everything into a structure and helps you to get a really strong feeling of the pulse.

This is just one of the many ways to practice with a metronome. Try out different methods to find what works best for you!

Types of metronomes

1. Classic pendulum metronome

A more traditional option, these can look quite stylish in a vintage way, and are relatively affordable. However, they don’t have many features on top of adjusting the speed on the meter, and are not easily portable. Some musicians find that the tick from this classic device works very well for them, while others less so.

2. Digital metronomes

Compact and more features available, easy to customize, but it’s easy to overlook and musicians may often find that they’ve left it at home just when they need it. You can get this metronome from Amazon.

3. Metronome apps

Perhaps the most popular option these days due to its convenience, metronome apps usually come with lots of customization options as well. Soundbrenner has its own free metronome app which you can download here for iOS and Android. You can save your metronome presets into setlists, customize the time signature, subdivision, pick the metronome sound you prefer, and more!

4. Wearable vibrating metronome

Soundbrenner Pulse, wearable vibrating metronome

Yes these exist! The Soundbrenner Pulse is the only is the only wearable metronome in the market which signals the pulse through vibrations. Soundbrenner’s latest wearable, the Soundbrenner Core and offers the same technology is a smaller, sleeker body, and has the added features of a contact tuner, dB meter, and watch all-in-one device. Since you wear it like you’d wear a watch, you’ll always have it with you whenever you feel like practicing!

Soundbrenner Core Steel
Soundbrenner Core Steel, the watch for musicians

Learning to play along with the metronome and make it into something that you’re comfortable doing, is an important skill. The more you practice, the more you’d see its benefit over time.

Happy practicing!

Got a question about Soundbrenner wearables? Reach out to us at [email protected], we’re happy to help!

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