11 Reasons Every Ukulele Player Should Own a Metronome
Metronomes have been a staple of music classrooms for years and there are good reasons for that. I remember the nagging tick-tock from my early music lessons that annoyed the heck out of me but in truth established good habits which I have kept to this day. Metronomes aren’t sexy and can be very frustrating but here are 11 reasons why you (and every other Ukulele player) should own (and use) a metronome.
11 Reasons to Use a Metronome
1.Improve your rhythm
If you don’t have natural rhythm (or could do with improving your rhythm) then a metronome is one of the few tools that can help. If you can’t stick to a rhythm yourself, then the only way around that is with a metronome or finding someone who can. Many people speed up at the exciting parts, or slow down at the quieter parts. Practicing with a metronome keeps you in time.
2. Highlight your errors
Similarly, a metronome will highlight your rhythmic errors. By having a consistent, reliable reference point you will be able to see where you are going to fast or slow.
3. Become more consistent
There’s a quote which goes “Amateurs practice till they get it right; professionals practice till they can’t get it wrong.” This is all about consistency. When you start out it’s great the first time you play something correctly, but after a while, you need to aim for where you always play that piece correctly. Using a metronome helps you focus on consistency, steadiness, and regularity.
4. Play better with other musicians
If you want to play with a group of musicians then you need to be able to stick to a rhythm that other players are following. If you slow down or speed up and everyone else doesn’t. You’ve got a problem. A metronome not only teaches you to stick to that rhythm but it is also a useful tool when you get out of sync as it forces you to get back in sync with the metronome. Plus metronomes just keep going, the rest of a band won’t stop when you make a mistake, so you need to learn how to get back on track.
5. Speed up your playing
If you want to get faster and stay accurate with a good quality of sound, then a metronome is a great tool. Start with a slow beat and then gently increase the speed of the beat to drive you faster. When you can’t accurately play, stop and aim to beat that next time.
6. Notice your improvements
As alluded in the previous point, a metronome can help you notice your progress in a very real way. This is especially true if you are a more proficent player rather than a beginner. Being able to point to an exercise and show “yup, I can reach a higher number now” helps you to stay motivated and notice your learning.
7. Improve your practice activities
Practice activities without a metronome are okay but adding in a metronome helps you to have a more quantifiable measurement of your level. It stops you getting away with statements like “yeah I played pretty quickly” to “I managed to play that at Xbpm”
8. Prepare to record a song
If you want to record yourself playing some music, then you need to be able to follow a beat. Using a metronome while you record helps you stick to that beat, know where you are in the song and what different section you should play at a certain time. They can also let you know when the recording is going to start.
9. Prevent yourself from slowing down or speeding up mid-song
Likewise, imagine you are recording your song and suddenly it gets faster or slower in the middle section. Not so great when you listen back, but if you use a metronome to keep you steady during the song, you won’t suffer from this problem.
10. Get more confident.
Knowing that you can keep a steady rhythm and follow a metronome’s beat will help boost your performing confidence when you play on your own or when you perform with someone else.
11. Having a metronome on your desk makes you look like a real pro
If you have a friend come round and happen to glance the metronome siting one your desk they’ll certainly come to the conclusion that you take your music seriously. You clearly must work hard and be a great player. Impressing people without even picking up your instrument.
A Few Great Metronomes
Okay, so now you know why it’s a good idea to use a metronome you need to pick up one. Here are a few suggestions
iOS app: Metronome+
Metronome+ has some really cool features which enhance your metronome beyond the usual tempo. These include recording your practice, The ability to increase the tempo for a practice routine, a setlist with regular tempos and a pitch mode which plays a defined pitch with the metronome.
Android App: the metronome
The metronome is a free app which includes tap tempo, the ability to change the metronome tone, preset tempos and a beat count down. It does have ads which you have to pay to stop.
Standalone metronome: Korg MA–1
This is a great basic metronome from Korg. If you want a stand-alone device then this is a great choice for you. You can set your tempo, use it with headphones, increase your tempo, tap the tempo in which you want and it’s cheap.
If you like then you can try out a website metronome, it’s a great way to get a very basic metronome for free on any computer.
What exercises do you practice with a metronome