Why Practice With a Metronome? 4 Reasons to Try It Out
by Frederik Nielsen, Apr 1, 2020 . 4 min read
“Most professional musicians, in fact, continue to practice with a metronome throughout their careers.”
Is that really so? How many of your favorite guitarists have ever used it? Kirk Hammett never used it, neither did BB King. Heck, Nirvana even recorded Nevermind without using a click track. Why should you practice with a metronome, anyway? Well, you might be surprised to find that it serves a purpose… let’s have a look!
1. Make the Most Out of Your Practice
Let’s start with something that doesn’t come top of mind for some guitar players: the reason why so many of their favorite musicians didn’t need formal training is that they grew up playing. James Hetfield started taking music lessons at the age of 9, Dimebag started at 12, and some people started even earlier.
The guys you look up to usually grew up under different circumstances than you. Most of them never had to think about going to college or worry about losing their job. The point is, they had a lot more time and resources – like playing with a live band all the time – unlike many of us.
You need to use the metronome if you want to make the most out of your practice sessions. Ok, now let’s move on to something more obvious.
2. You’ll Have Improved Speed and Timing
A good sense of rhythm is what separates the good musicians from the bad ones. Mastering every chord and scale is great, but not being able to “stay in the packet” can be damaging to your learning process. That’s what the metronome is perfect for helping you while playing at different speeds.
Speaking of speed, a metronome will also help you play faster. This is not a hypothesis, we got science to back us up. New research suggests that the speed of our movements during mental practice has a great effect on the speed at which we perform what we practiced.
3. A Metronome Will Give You Better Focus
Using a metronome will also help you learn the difference between hearing something and listening to something. Hearing simply happens, without almost any thought. Listening, on the other hand, requires you to stay focused and connected to the beat.
Some people have a tendency to speed up or slow down their tempo gradually as they are playing a song. But with a little help from the metronome, you’ll be able to eliminate that and make sure that you’re keeping your tempo in check.
4. Start Practicing Even More
The truth is, no matter how much you play, you’ll never be able to know everything about guitar playing. There’s always something new to be discovered. As Children of Bodom’s Alexi Laiho says, the metronome is a relentless tool, and it will motivate you to play even harder. And note that Alexi still uses a metronome to this day.
Most players stick to it, once they realize just how much it helps them improve. You want to be in the game in the long run. That’s why you need to work on your skills constantly and stop yourself from procrastinating. Using a metronome will give you that extra push to practice even when you feel your skills are the highest level.
We hope that you enjoyed our article. Now that we’ve shared how a metronome can help you improve your skills, check out some extra tips in our article 3 Tips to Improve Your Guitar Playing.
Have you ever used a metronome? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.