Music Blog

How To Use a Metronome

Today’s Drum Blog is about using a Metronome.

Why is it that so many musicians fear the metronome?

Is it because it shows their inadequacies?

Is it because it’s perfect and we’re not?

Or is it because they tried it once and it didn’t work out?

Well here are a couple of exercises you can do to become friends with a metronome.

Ex 1: Set the metronome on a speed of  85 beats per minute. Begin to play with your right stick on the ride cymbal along with each click. Try to let that become automatic. Think of it as breathing. You don’t really think about it, it just happens. Then start playing with your left hand on the snare. Play anything; eighths, sixteenths, triplets etc. Keep your focus on the rhythms of the snare while your ride is on auto-pilot. You will probably get off time but then listen and start again. When you’re done exploring the snare, start to put in tom hits too. Think about creating melodies or songs with the snare and toms. Let your imagination go wild. Remember your feet are doing nothing at this time.

Ex 2: This time use your left stick on the hi-hat and play with the clicks. Use your right hand to improvise snare, then toms too.

Ex 3: Right stick on ride again but now we workout with the right foot on the bass. These are the only two things playing at this time.

Ex 4: Left stick on hi-hat, bass drum ad-libs.

Ex 5: Right stick on ride, left foot improvises on hi-hat pedal.
Now with the metronome continuing at the same speed, play any easy drum beats and fills. Notice how much easier it is to stay on time. It’s like you don’t have to think about, it just flows! Why? Because you just spent 15-20 minutes playing with it but NOT focusing on it! Next try different tempos. (60, 75, 90 etc.) This is level one on this subject, stay tuned for more…

Bill Hartel  (Drum Instructor AB Music Studios)

How to Play Drums With Feel
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