Musicians are often criticized for two things, playing out of tune and playing out of time. Both of these can have catastrophic results for your audience and the rest of your band! The good news is that help is at hand, your timing can be improved through using a simple piece of technology which coupled with some regular practice can solve any tempo issues that you have.

Musicians often claim to have a natural sense of rhythm and timing. While, on rare occasions this may be the case generally we can all improve, being able to keep time with you’re your fellow musicians is one of the most important things for any musician. Imagine any piece of music where the bass player and drummer and guitarists are all out of sync – what a din!

To learn to play in time you should really have a metronome. If you do not have one already I would advise that you should obtain one or a similar device (a drum machine for example) as soon as possible and incorporate it into your practice regime.

Metronomes are a device (either mechanical or digital) used for sounding beats per measure at a user definable tempo. Metronomes are great when practicing to ensure that you keep a standard tempo throughout the piece of music.

Often metronomes have two tones – one to indicate each beat and a further sound to indicate the start of the measure. Metronomes come with a setting to either increase or decrease the speed of the beat -this is often very useful when practicing complex pieces and allows you to start out with a slow beat and as you become more proficient increase the tempo.

Perhaps the best use of a metronome is when it’s combined with regular practicing. Metronomes are ideal used when practicing scales, arpeggios, or complex pieces of music. Try a slow tempo and aim to play a note exactly on each beat, mix it up and play notes on alternate beats – speed up the tempo and practice playing 8th notes.

Regular practice of this kind will bring on your timing and you will find that your musical technique comes on leaps and bounds.

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Filed under: Guitar Lessons

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