You probably know the metronome, this small instrument invented in 1812 by a German watchmaker by the sweet name of Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel, which allows you to obtain a tempo when you play music? The metronome provides you with the ideal speed to play a song and allows you to stick to the right timing during your performance. Useful and easy to use, the metronome is however not always used by all musicians who often wish to make room for improvisation and remain in control of their time.
Why should you use a metronome?
Whether mechanical or electronic, the metronome is essential for mastering the rhythm of a piece of music and getting your ear used to the right tempo. When you’re new to music, it’s not uncommon to get the beat wrong or not know when the next beat will fall. Result: you lose the rhythm of the song and just have to start over or try to approximately hold on as best as you can. Under these conditions, a metronome is very useful for locating you and guaranteeing you a flawless rhythmic placement throughout your piece. The ultimate goal when using a metronome is to be able to play in rhythm and as smoothly as possible.
What are the benefits of using a metronome?
- Keeping up at the right tempo : with regular beeps, the metronome tells you each beat at a speed you set beforehand. It helps you know when and when to place your notes. If you’ve never used a metronome before, this sound may distract you at first, but persevere! Once used to it, you won’t be able to do without it…
- Correcting your rhythmic errors: the metronome forces you to respect a regular rhythm throughout your piece. Thanks to it, you know if you are in the right tempo or, conversely, too fast or too slow.
- Developing your confidence to play at the right tempo: working with a metronome for a while will give you freedom of rhythm in the future!
- Becoming a better musician who is not afraid of discipline and work!
How should you work with this tool?
For example, a piece at 84 in the quarter note:
1) start by playing this piece at 60 in the quarter note, then increase of 2 in 2 (62, 64, 66,..). Take advantage of this slowness to seek relaxation in your movements (wrists, forearms, shoulder, etc.)
2) Don’t stop at 84, go up to 94 (for example). When you play again at 84, it will feel much easier.
3) If you stop at a lower tempo than the studied piece, take a break and note this tempo in order to exceed it the next day. (Warning: do not pick up where you got stuck, go back down to avoid tendinitis because your muscles and tendons will not have had time to heat up).
How much does it cost?
At FHK Music we recommend the use of a mechanical metronome because electronic metronomes never have a battery when needed (and they wear out very quickly)! In addition, visualizing the beeps through the movement of the pendulum helps beginner musicians to acquire a sense of rhythm more easily.
Music stores in Hong Kong offer metronomes which seemed to us to be way too expensive (420 HKD in average)… For this reason we bought a stock of metronomes, directly sourced in China, in 4 colors (black , white, pink and blue) that we resell to anyone who wishes at their purchase price, delivery included: 90 HKD. We highly recommend every musician to have a metronome at home! Send a whatsapp to Domitille if you are interested. Please note that stock is limited!
And now it’s up to you to become rhythms kings 🙂