Does the title sound trivial to you? Let’s check whether you are making use of all the possibilities the metronome offers for practicing music. Practicing with the metronome can be the key to a truly spectacular improvement in your performance technique.
Exercising with a metronome is primarily associated with tedious repetitions of technically difficult sequences. Slowly at first, then gradually faster and faster. Without acceleration and trips. Many, many times until perfect.
Of course, we want to achieve the goal as soon as possible. No matter how painstaking can be practicing with a metronome for many hours. It is not worth increasing the pace too drastically.
While we really want to double the pace, and turn every eight into a sixteenth… The optimal step is adding only 5 to 10 beats per minute for current pace. Why the step is so small?
The key is patience. You need to use the small steps method, and perfect your performance with each increase in pace. If you suddenly accelerate, the precision achieved with the slower metronome strokes will evaporate.
The sudden increase in pace can also have its advantages. But only if it is carried out wisely! While practicing, you can suddenly increase the pace by 20 beats per minute.
This way you will obviously lose the precision. But such a leap will allow you to identify the most difficult moments. In order to return to a slower pace after a while and refine it.
And what about practicing difficult passages in a different rhythm? Does it sound like a Glen Gould’s extravaganza? Nevertheless, such an exercise can help you to identify the most difficult moments in your performance. Moreover, it will help you to increase the precision of the strike and, consequently, help to equalize the length of the individual notes.
This technique works especially well for long passages and for practicing arpeggios.
For this exercise, it is a good idea to set the metronome to half the rhythmic value of the passage. If there are quarter notes, double the tempo of your beats, and make the metronome play eighth notes.
The technique of practicing with the metronome set to double value will not only work when practicing proficiency. It is also important when developing slow pieces with a more complicated rhythm.
Try to decrease the “&” beat volume in your metronome settings.
Probably the most difficult way to practice with a metronome is the phasing method. It is very useful both for practicing scales and passages, as well as for difficult parts of songs.
The clue of this method is to phase the phrase by one value tapped by the metronome. In other words, you start playing at “one”. And then you start the next run on “one-&”. And the next one for “two”.
By using this method you practice phrasing throughout the passage by shifting the accented parts of a measure to the different notes.
We have gathered here a handful of proven ways to practice with the metronome. Thanks to them, playing with the accompanist – exactly in time or with the proper rubato – will become a playful challenge!