“That ticking is driving me insane Jason, TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK. Stop the ticking!” an ex-girlfriend of mine shouted down the stairs.
I have made some bad purchases.
I have made some good purchases.
This ticking sensation was the latter. Wonderful purchase. Hell - lifechanging purchase. It served two purposes. Firstly, it innately improved my musicianship and secondly, and rather thankfully, it in-part ended a calamitous relationship.
I’m referring to the humble metronome. The downtrodden of musical gadgetry.
"What do they do?" I hear you exclaim.
They tick or ‘beat’ precisely in time. You set the number of beats in a minute.
"I can play in time, I don’t need a metronome!" The number of times I have heard this whilst teaching over the last 10+ years. I do let them down gently, you’ll be pleased to know as even professional players benefit from using a metronome on a regular basis.
Some of the benefits include...
• Developing your sense and feeling of time
• Increasing the accuracy of your rhythm
• Helping to make more sense out of longer phrases
• Helps you to interpret music more convincingly
• Increasing ‘steadiness’ whilst practicing. When you step away, the speed, or tempo, is more consistant
• Can be used to build-up speed, or tempo, in music
• Can be used to improve technique through instrumental exercises
Are there different types?
LOTS, dependent on what you need of course. I would recommend a mechanical metronome for home (I have a Wittner 808) and a digital one if you're travelling.
If you have a little more budget…
Korg SY-1M in ear
There are of course, lots of paid and free metronome apps. I'll be covering these in a later post!
You might not end up with ticking but bleeping to drive your significant others insane. It might just be the best purchase you make along your musical journey.