Here’s an important question – when was the last time you used a metronome? If it’s within the last week then you probably don’t need to read on and will know the answer to our next question.
Can a metronome really improve your playing and take it to the next level? Yes, yes and yes!
We appreciate there may be some violinists out there who have yet to be introduced to these invaluable devices so here is a quick explanation for those in need. Metronomes produce a specific number of beats per minute (BPM) which helps you to keep in time. Put simply they are essential tools for keeping violinists in line – especially if the trusted piano accompanist isn’t at hand to help keep the pulse!
How do we use a metronome for violin practise?
We recommend using a metronome all the way through your practise, for scales, studies and pieces. Having a steady beat to keep you on track is fantastic for your scales practise, not just for giving you a structure but also for helping you gage how much time you have between notes. Metronomes are particularly brilliant for beginner violinists and can really help with understanding the relationship between notes and their values.
Clapping the rhythm to the metronome is also an excellent exercise and can really help you to ‘feel’ the beat before putting the bow to the string. Put the metronome on 54 BPM to the crotchet beat, and have a go at alternating from clapping quavers to crotchets to minims.
Is it possible to use a metronome the wrong way?
Of course! Most of the time students put it on too fast, or simply don’t follow the beat… (cardinal sin for metronome usage!) We recommend putting it on at a very comfortable beat to start with and gradually increasing the tempo.
What are my metronome options?
There are a few types of metronome available –
Option 1: Traditional wooden metronome. Warning – these are not very practical if you practise in different places (or even in different rooms!).
Option 2: Electronic metronome. Naturally there are many different varieties and comes with lots of options for the types of click beat you need, and on/off switch and many more features.
Option 3: Download an app on your phone. Here there are lots of options depending on your phone type, and many of them are free!
What if I find the metronome’s constant ticking noise irritating?
Well yes you could always fling it out of the window but if the noise is starting to drive you nuts we would suggest downloading an app that allows you to see the beat but not hear it (activate the light option). Of course this is entirely personal and doesn’t appeal to everyone…
We have lots more interesting articles and videos so if you’re curious and keen violin student then check out our YouTube page. To book your FREE trial lesson or for any playing advice (free of charge) then get in touch with Liv or Simon by clicking through here.