Metronome poll

Call the tune - Talk about whatever!

Postby marcy » Thu Feb 09, 2006 6:03 pm

I'll play devil's advocate. I agree with you that sincerity plus excellence is ideal. In my case, I am reluctant to buy and use a metronome for two reasons. One is that I dread the thought of practicing with it -- I think it would be very stressful and dreadfully boring, and there are some other stressful and somewhat boring drills I'd rather work on if I could drum up the motivation -- namely some percussion rudiment stuff. The other reason is that I'm a can't-see-the-forest type. I can imagine that if I got started with a metronome, it would only aggravate that characteristic. I already get in trouble for being too picky. (Don't ask how much time I have poured into mixing our trio's home recording... suffice it to say that my partners couldn't even tell the difference between two versions of one medley.) I'm not saying I couldn't benefit from metronome practice -- I'm just explaining my reluctance.
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Postby TJ » Fri Feb 10, 2006 8:39 pm

Hmm... I have to wonder, though. Is the thought that metronome practice is separate from other kinds of practice? For example, if I am working multistrokes or rudiments, what prevents me from tossing on the metronome so, not only am I getting the idea, but also the timing? Since percussion rudiments are about learning the rudiments in time, why not get that aspect down at the same time? I just know that, for myself (recorded practices) and for others, I have heard timing slow down as things get difficult, and then speed up as things get easy. Working the timing means that I play consistently, instead of getting sloppy because I never had a measurement of how fast I could actually play something. One more thought, though. I really put in some time on technique. However, once I got some things down, I didn't have to constantly work on them in isolation. I can do tremolo and multiple strikes, and so I can incorporate them when I want. I can walk and talk at the same time. Can toddlers? Once we learn those skills, we keep them. Aptitude with keeping good time is the same way. Similarly, if I want to work on my timing issues with a metronome, I can do something other than straight hammering. I can play a piece alongside the metronome, to see what parts just can't keep up with the implacable ticking. That tells me which parts need practice and focus. I don't see it as picky, either. "Gee, TJ really was rocking, and suddenly had to slow down to get through that difficult part!" I don't WANT there to be an obvious problem, a huge difference between different measures of the same piece, unless that difference in timing is a CHOICE, not something imposed by my lack of having it down. Is it picky to want to be able to play a piece at a steady tempo? I know that in the studio, it can be a pain to try to play along with tracks where the rhythm is unsteady; a click makes it easy in the long run, in so many ways. Otherwise it's trying to chase something which is inconstant, and I've seen how much time that can burn. ==== If one finds practicing boring and stressful anyway, then adding a metronome might not the problem. If adding a metronome to normal practice shows deficiencies in one's playing and timing, is it better to turn one's back to them? Ah, well. I just wanted to point out that a metronome isn't necessarily something used in isolation with esoteric drillwork, unrelated to the music one plays; that having good timing isn't necessarily something robotic; and that a skill, once learned, isn't necessarily something which must be practiced at the same intensity. Cheers!
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Postby marcy » Sat Feb 11, 2006 9:56 am

"If one finds practicing boring and stressful anyway" Not quite what I said! But interesting... reminds me of what some folks on the email list have said about never practicing, only playing, even if they are doing drills, that everything should be approached as making music. I like playing. I like practicing tunes. I like the work involved in learning and arranging tunes, developing a set list for a gig, creating a CD. I like drills less, because of what I already mentioned about my tendency to get hypersensitive with concentration. I have to try to remember to do drills in small amounts frequently rather than trying to do a big chunk of drill. But sure, you're right, why not turn on the metronome while I'm doing what I would be doing anyway. If I already had one, I'd consider it. But I'm not yet motivated to go buy one. Undoubtedly YOU would hear obvious timing problems in my playing, but so far I haven't except on one track on What Child Is This, and I think that one worked out well expressively and sounds more like "on purpose" than a problem. Perhaps subconsciously it *was* on purpose.
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