Metronome - Metronome usage

Share your piano experiences with other adult students

Postby 65-1074818729 » Sat Mar 27, 2004 7:50 pm

I am an adult student who started piano lessons six years ago. From the very beginning I have been using the metronome in learning all of my new pieces. I keep using it until I have learned a piece almost to the point of completion. I find the metronome almost a necessity if I do not know a piece, to make certain I am playing triplets properly etc.

(There are a few exceptions to this. There are pieces which just don’t seem to work well for me with a metronome. Ex. Moonlight Sonata.)

I do have a very competent piano teacher whom I have been with since the beginning. She supports the use of the metronome but encourages me to discontinue its use during the final stages of learning a given piece.

I have recently heard of students who claim they almost never use the metronome, even when learning new pieces.
I was quite surprised to hear that.

I would be interested in hearing what other adult students are doing with regards to the metronome. Would also like to hear what the teachers have to say.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Sun Mar 28, 2004 10:52 am

I still use the metronome. But I agree with your teacher that after it's done its job it should be dispensed with. The metronome, like any other outside aid, is useful for checking composers' indications (which are often questionable because of uncertainty about the accuracy of their own metronomes), for keeping track of technical progress, and--especially--for monitoring the accuracy of what's going on INSIDE the player's own body.

The really important thing, though, is that when learning to play you should, among other things, be developing an INTERNAL rhythmic sense, and some need more outside mechanical help for this than others. But you can't listen to your own clock ticking inside while you're trying to follow a machine that's outside.

It's the same with counting. I've seen hordes of students dutifully sitting there saying numbers to themselves--even out loud--which mean nothing at all because they don't correspond to any pulse going on inside the body. THAT is what we have to develop, and if the metronome can help get there, fine, but if it becomes an indispensable crutch, then it's worse than nothing.

Dr. Bill.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
Dr. Bill Leland
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Las Cruces, NM

Postby 65-1074818729 » Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:59 pm

Dr. Bill

I tend to rely more on the metronome to keep me at the required tempo, rather than for the actual rhythm. My teacher tells me I have a good sense of internal rhythm. I am following the RCM Celebration Series, and each piece has a required tempo. Without using the metronome to force me onward with faster tempo, I have a tendency to play at a slower speed than required, because I am able to do it easier. (Laziness)

Thanks for your input as usual. Your comments make good sense.
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Postby 69-1080625173 » Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:23 am

So your saying that you use a metronome to speed you up? I just bought one to slow me down. I always play songs way too fast, and thats the only reason really, that I got one.
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Thu Apr 01, 2004 10:28 pm

I should use my metronome more... but I usually just play. Weirdly enough, this seems to work. If I have to make sure I'm playing the rhthms correctly, I just count and bob my head a little. It makes me look like an idiot, but no one seems to mind. And it really does help. :D
I have a tendency to pick arbitrary tempi based on what sounds and feels right. Probably wouldn't recommend this course of action, but the tempo indications on my pieces are usually pretty vague. Sometimes if I can't find something that feels right I break out the little ticker, but I try not to use it too much because it kind of kills rubato.
Playing a piece slowly isn't bad. It can help a lot in a number of ways. You actually have time to pick up all of the little nuances of the music and you can actually play things precisely. I tend to practice to fast. :p Once everything is all in working order at that stage, speeding up is relatively easy.

Does anyone else have problems with the cat attacking the metronome?
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Postby 69-1080625173 » Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:34 pm

If you have one of those annoying metronomes that beeps instead of ticking, then I would think that anyone would attack it. lol
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Mon Apr 05, 2004 9:47 am

I know it! it's like having an alarm clock on the piano.
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