Keeping it in time
When I first started playing guitar, I never used a metronome or anything else to keep the beat. In fact, I never played with other musicians so it wasn’t necessarily an issue if you understand me. A few years later and I began to rehearse with other musicians and it was quite a shock, to realise that nothing I played was in time witht the beat. This was a whole new ball game and I had to change my ways!
Nowadays I would insist that every student learns to use a metronome when practising; it is absolutely critical. You know how it’s said that you are what you eat; well, equally, you are what you practice…and come the critcal moment in performance, things won’t be any different from how you practice. So, if you let bad habits form in practice…then they will come out in concert. Why should you get a different result? You won’t!
Recently I was saying that a good proportion of practice is about training the muscles and getting the right sensations going. Well, the same can be said of using a metronome – you’ve simply got to. Answer me this: how much music doesn’t have a beat? Well, there you go! And you know, the most important thing is not the speed (that can come later), it’s the know how, the technique, the correct muscle training and the correct rhythms etc. Speed in fact is the last thing to consider!
So…get using those metronomes. Set them at an acceptable speed depending on the exercise and ensure you are not making mistakes. If you are making mistakes then you are going to fast…and also, possibly you haven’t got the technique right so slow it down and examine everything.