If you are a beginner guitar player and keen to learn how to practice guitar with a metronome, you have to know what is a Metronome and who or why it is used for? Without further ado, let’s get started!
What is a Metronome?
Metronome could be a traditional mechanical or modern electrical instrument or even an app on your smartphone or tablet that creates repeated sounds at an adjustable pace and that helps to stay on a steady tempo or constant speed, especially used in practicing music.
According to Wikipedia, “A metronome is a device that produces an audible click or other sounds at a regular interval that can be set by the user, typically in beats per minute (BPM). Musicians use the device to practice playing to a regular pulse. Metronomes typically include synchronized visual motion (e.g., swinging pendulum or blinking lights)”.
What is a Metronome Used for?
Everyone who has ever learned to play an instrument will know about the metronome. It’s one of the most used and common devices used for practicing, even today. Although some beginner music students and some musicians criticize, dislike and avoid the use of a metronome to emphasize on natural timing but it can be ear trainer’s best ally.
Generally, musicians use metronomes to practice and improve their timing, especially the capacity to stay to a tempo. But it is not necessary or precondition to becoming a musician.
Practicing guitar with a metronome can assist you to evolve your internal clock. Though playing in time is a particularly vital skill and is especially demanding for musicians who are performing in a band or orchestral group, liable to set a tempo. Cause any type of band or orchestral group can’t produce music well without everyone using the same beat.
This is also helpful for the musicians who play in the studio and they required playing accurately in time so that their music lines up completely with other tracks. So, you must be competent enough to play in time in different time signatures to play more complex music. Metronomes are also treated very significant when you are looking to increase your speed as an instrumentalist.
Actually the only thing metronome does is produce sounds that are all equally spaced out in time, but it’s invaluable to guitar players or pianists if you know how to use it right.
How to Practice Guitar with a Metronome?
If you are struggling to practice your guitar techniques and don’t know where to start with this handy little device or how to use a metronome for guitar, here are 6 of the best metronome practice techniques for you to try.
1. Play with the Beat
Playing along with the beat of a metronome means you will be playing precisely together with the sounds it produces. How do you know you are on time with the metronome? You’ll stop hearing that click, of course. Being able to play along with the beat of the metronome is a real skill that can take a lot of practice.
There are, of course, different sides to the beat as well (the back, center, and top). This tip is only meant for when you are practicing. You don’t need to restrict all of your guitar playings to sound like a metronome.
2. Learn to Internalize the Beat
The number one purpose for using a metronome is to get that feeling for a consistent beat. Beat and tempo is something that can be learned, so if you don’t think you have a strong inner rhythm, it’s time to whip out the metronome. If you want to learn better rhythm, take the time away from your guitar with your metronome.
Try this technique at the beginning of your practice sessions:
- Set your metronome to a steady beat that is easy for you to follow.
- Sit and listen to the beat until you get a good feel for it.
- When you have the beat down, start moving to it by clapping your hands or tapping your foot.
The more practice you have using this method, the more a beat will come naturally to you in the future. It will also allow you to play along with a metronome much more accurately.
3. Practicing With a Metronome For Your Tempo Speeds
A common misconception when practicing your guitar is that you should go in at full tempo right from the start. The fact is that even professional musicians spend a lot of their practice time playing a piece at a slower tempo. If you feel like your music is at a tempo that feels unachievable, the metronome can step right in to help.
Let’s use an example to illustrate this point:
- If you have a piece of music that has a 120 BPM temp, try setting your metronome for 60 BPM.
- Stay at this speed until you feel completely comfortable and can play the piece accurately.
- Once you have reached a level of comfort, bump the BPM up in 2-4 beat increments each time.
- Don’t go over 4 BPM as this will be too much of an increase.
- Stay at the new, ever so slightly increased tempo until you are completely confident.
The reason this method works so well is that you barely notice the slight increases, but over time you can play at a faster pace with complete precision. It will probably take you quite a few sessions of practice to nail that final tempo, but it’s definitely a solid approach that could help you out massively.
4. Subdivide the Difficult Rhythms When Practicing With a Metronome
Many of our guitar riffs feature tricky rhythms that can be really hard to play. But of course, our trusty friend the metronome can help you out if you are having trouble staying on the beat. You do this by subdividing the beats down into smaller units.
Let’s go with another example to demonstrate how to do this. If you were having a rough time trying to line up quarter notes to a 60 BPM rhythm, set your metronome to 120 BPM. You will feel the eighth note in the pulse.
So how is this approach helpful for guitar players? Slower beats are very difficult to internalize but doubling up the beat and playing a smaller unit of notes makes it much more doable.
5. Practice Your Coordination Skills
With the guitar, you are thinking about multiple things at a time, so coordination is key to playing well. To simplify the amount you have to think about, why not use the metronome?
Focusing on the rhythm will stop you from worrying about technique and pitch as you play. You can even tap or clap along with the metronome as if you were playing the notes. Coordinating the timing of your hands to the timing of the metronome brings everything into place, so when you return to your instrument, you have a better grasp on your piece.
6. Practicing With a Metronome for Exercises and Scales
Has there ever been anyone that loves scales and exercises when practicing their instrument? Probably not, but every pro guitar player will tell you how important they are for your musical development. Because scales and exercises are the boring part of playing, it can be very tempting just to rush through.
But it’s important to take your time and even practice them with your metronome to help your skills develop. How does practicing scales and exercises with a metronome help? It will help you maintain a much more clear and consistent tone through your playing.
Plus, there’s that extra time to get the feeling of the rhythm if you find your sense of tempo is off. As you progress through your exercises using your metronome, you may find that more complex pieces become a lot easier.
Practicing With a Metronome – A Summary
If playing along and doing your guitar practice with a metronome is something you haven’t tried out in the past, it should definitely go on your to-do list. It’s not something that is easy to do at first, but consistent practice will see you reaping the benefits in no time.
Also, remember that a metronome isn’t vital for the entire time you practice. Try to use it for smaller sections of music or to accomplish specific skills you want to master. Using it in this way means that your playing won’t become mechanical, and you won’t become bored with the metronome either.
Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metronome