Classical Guitar Instruction with Douglas Niedt

Guitar Technique Tip of the Month

Your Personal Guitar Lesson

Douglas Niedt, guitarist

As I pointed out in Part 1, the metronome is one of your best allies in improving your guitar playing. In Part 3, I continue our discussion of Function #3 of the metronome: How to use the metronome as a practice and diagnostic tool to improve the efficiency of your practicing and the quality of your final performance.

Also, be sure to check out my new Rhythm Section which offers outstanding rhythm training.

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Classical Guitar Technique


How to use the metronome to improve practice and performance

By Douglas Niedt

Copyright Douglas Niedt. All Rights Reserved.
This article may be reprinted, but please be considerate and give credit to Douglas Niedt.

Should I Use a Metronome to Gradually Bring a Piece or Passage Up to Tempo?

In a word, "No."

However, as with so many things in music, there are exceptions. And of course, there is nothing wrong with slow practice as you are learning a piece or even after it is mastered. What I am addressing here is the gradual speeding up of a passage or piece over an extended period of time.

Reasons NOT to use a metronome to speed up a piece or passage:

1. You are probably able to play at least part of a passage or piece up to performance tempo. And, you can play some groups of notes faster and more accurately than others. So, rather than "working it up" with a metronome, how about figuring out what is specifically preventing you from playing the passage or piece up to performance tempo? Oftentimes those things might be ornaments, difficult chord changes or shifts, fast scales, or other elements that require specialized practice techniques. These elements will not benefit from "working it up" with a metronome. Therefore, it can be very inefficient to try to learn to play the piece up to tempo by speeding up all the notes of the passage or piece in the same way and at the same gradual increase of speed.

2. It takes too long. Depending on the piece, it can take months to gradually bring it up to tempo with the metronome. Instead, use speed burst/reflex practice. That only takes days, hours, or minutes. See How to Use Reflex Bursts to Learn a Fast Scale and How to Use Reflex Practice to Master Fast, Difficult Passages Other than Scales.

3. "Working it up" can train or program the playing mechanism (fingers, muscles, eyes, ears, brain, everything) to be tense whenever you play that passage or piece. Whenever you play the piece, the tension will be recalled into your playing along with the notes. Then you will have to use speed burst/reflex practice (which you should have used in the first place) to exorcise the tension that has been built into your muscle memory.

4. Gradually ramping up the speed with a metronome tends to lead to repetitive, mindless practice. This causes a lack of focus and concentration which promotes practicing mistakes. You NEVER want to practice mistakes.

5. Practicing for hours, days, weeks, or months at sub-performance tempos is usually a waste of time. The playing mechanism operates quite differently at slower speeds than fast. In general, if you want to play fast, practice fast.

6. Speed burst or reflex practice works far better. It is more efficient, trains the player to play without tension, produces near-immediate results, and uses the playing mechanism in the unique way it is required to be used at high speed.

Situations When You SHOULD Use a Metronome to Bring a Piece or Passage Up to Tempo

1. Sometimes a passage or group of passages mastered with speed burst/reflex practice can be difficult to incorporate into the context of the piece. This may be due to difficult ornaments, complex rhythms, or odd, difficult, or unfamiliar changes of meter (such as hemiola). In these cases, limited gradual ramping up of speed can be helpful.

2. When you are in the early stages of learning a piece, you can become overwhelmed by having too many things to think about at once (right-hand fingering + left-hand fingering + notes + rhythm + preparing fingers and on and on). When that occurs, it can be helpful to do a limited amount of speed-up-gradually-with-the-metronome-practice to streamline your thinking and transfer the intense processing of information from conscious to unconscious thought.

3. Tremolos and Arpeggios. Sometimes speeding up a tremolo or arpeggio is dependent upon the development of independence between right-hand fingers (usually "m" and "a"). The development of that finger independence is sometimes not entirely possible with speed burst/reflex practice alone.

Using the metronome to gradually speed up the tremolo or arpeggio is usually helpful to develop finger independence and when used correctly (see the section on warming up), reduces the likelihood of injury.

In fact, when a metronome is used to ramp up speed, a very helpful strategy is to ramp down the speed as well. In other words, after every few minutes of increasing the tempo, stop, reduce the metronome speed several notches, and practice for a few minutes at a significantly reduced tempo to promote relaxation. This is a very effective method to make your playing mechanism aware that unwanted tension has built up. The slower practice reminds the mechanism what playing with reduced or zero tension feels like. One can then attempt to retain that feeling of relaxation at the faster tempos. Continue to alternate between faster speeds and slow speeds as you increase the tempo overall.

General Principles of Using a Metronome on Pieces, Techniques, and Exercises

In situations where it is determined that ramping up the speed with the metronome will be helpful, it is important to always begin to practice any passage at a slow tempo. How slow? Slow enough that you have total control over the passage with zero finger and hand tension. If you begin at too fast a speed, muscles will tense or clench. Even a small amount of tension in the playing mechanism will be amplified as you play faster and faster causing no end of problems. To be on the safe side, after finding the slow easy tempo at which you believe you are playing with no tension, subtract about ten beats-per-minute and begin there.

Remember, to master a passage, it is often preferable NOT to use a metronome and to use speed burst practice instead. But if you decide you need to use the metronome to gradually speed up a passage, start every day at your slow speed and increase the speed notch by notch (or in fives if your metronome is digital). To prevent the buildup of tension and injury, do NOT skip notches or increase the speed more than 5 bpm at a time. Over a period of five to no more than thirty minutes, increase your speed until your control falters. Do not graduate yourself to the next notch until you have complete control of the current speed setting.

As mentioned previously, when a metronome is used to ramp up speed, a very helpful strategy is to ramp down the speed as well. In other words, after every few minutes of increasing the tempo, stop, reduce the metronome speed several notches, and practice for a few minutes at a significantly reduced tempo to promote relaxation. This is a very effective method to bring awareness to your playing mechanism that unwanted tension has built up. The slower practice reminds the mechanism what playing with reduced or zero tension feels like. One can then attempt to retain that feeling of relaxation at the faster tempos. Continue to alternate between faster speeds and slow speeds as you increase the tempo overall.

Keep track each day of your starting slow speed and ending fast speed. As you increase the fast speed, you will be able to increase your starting speed as well. Do not go past the thirty-minute limit. Usually it will be less than thirty minutes.

Meet or surpass your top speed every day. Keep track of your speeds. Write them down. This is precision work. Remember, never begin at too fast a starting speed. If you do, it could produce tension in the hand or fingers.

Do not be a weekend athlete of the guitar. To avoid injury, keep your metronome practice as regular as possible. In sports, physical training experts recommend a variety of easy day/hard day workouts, and you can try that, but do not let days go by where you do not practice at all.

Be careful. In addition to increasing the possibility of injury, increasing the speed too much too soon usually results in practicing the passage unevenly or with poor technique (large finger or thumb movements, fingernail clicks, poor finger preparation, etc.) This negates any progress you made at the slower speeds. Bad habits and unevenness learned through bad practice habits are notoriously difficult to correct.

Use the Metronome for Warmup Exercises

I have played the classical guitar for nearly sixty years. During a substantial number of those sixty years I played hard, often 8-14 hours a day. Not because I needed to, but because I enjoyed it. I have rarely had any hand problems.

I attribute that largely to my using the metronome to gradually increase the speed of my daily warmup exercises. By the time I have completed my warmup, my muscles are at their full potential. Therefore, the risk of injury is greatly reduced as I proceed into my heavy-duty practice of repertoire.

Some people seem to be totally immune to hand injury. They sit down and immediately practice difficult passages at high speed with no ill effects.

But for the rest of us mortals, careful warmup practice of scales, left-hand gymnastic exercises (spider exercises, etc.) and arpeggios is highly recommended whether you are 10 years old or 80 years old. But exercises can injure or stress the hand as easily as difficult pieces. If they are started at too fast a speed or practiced too long, you will have problems. Use a metronome to gradually ramp up the speed of repetitious warmup exercises to help you safely prepare the hands for strenuous practice.

The metronome also helps to make your warmup practice time efficient. When you practice your warmup exercises correctly, you know exactly what speeds to practice and for how long.

I still really enjoy spending an hour every day going through my warmup routine with my metronome before I practice my repertoire. But then, I enjoy reading software manuals.

Improving Your Timing Improves the Accuracy of Your Playing

Timing is everything, a phrase you have probably heard many times. Timing is fundamental to everything we do as humans, both spectacular things and simple things.

Precise timing is largely responsible for a stellar athletic performance, a magical musical performance, or even the key to a funny punch line. Timing is responsible for a person being able to walk without falling or speaking without stuttering. Timing is what allows us to focus, process language, keep our balance and have a smooth gait, play a sport, and even read. Neuroscience tells us that "timing is responsible for the synchronous communication of our brain's network system that connects cognitive processes and physical movement". Therefore, the ability to have accurate neurotiming is one of the most critical factors in human performance.

In music, weak rhythm skills cause ragged playing. An important concept to grasp is that every note of music occurs at a precise time in relation to the underlying pulse. Even when the tempo changes, as it does when we play a ritard, an accelerando, or play in rubato style, each note is still supposed to occur at a precise moment in relation to the underlying pulse.

The pulse, or if we are practicing with a metronome, the clicks, tell our fingers when to "fire" to play the notes. If a note is supposed to be played on a beat, our brain tells our left-hand finger to press the string down and our right-hand finger to pluck the string at the precise moment in time that beat is to occur. But if the location of that precise moment in time is fuzzy because the player is not keeping a reliably even underlying pulse, the left-hand finger really doesn't know when it should move. It might press the string down too early or too late. The right-hand finger likewise is confused and doesn't know exactly when to pluck the string. It is like telling a finger, "Get ready, get set, g__, NO WAIT. Oh, NOW. So, it stumbles. The result is usually a missed note, clipped note, buzz, or other error. In other words, if we are not certain of the precise location of the beat along the timeline of the underlying pulse, our fingers are unsure when to make their movements and everything in that moment falls apart.

The underlying pulse is the glue that holds everything together, that keeps every element of the playing mechanism in sync. Mistakes and sloppy playing occur when those elements get out of sync. I have observed over and over that the guitarists with the most solid sense of pulse are the most accurate and clean players.

So, don't tell yourself, "The clicking of the metronome is distracting. It's annoying. I play better without it.” Because actually, you don't.

The metronome is annoying because it is right, and you are wrong! Besides, lots of things are annoying at first. You must learn to use it correctly.

Because timing is so important, beginners should learn to use the metronome correctly as early as possible. And, it is never too late for the intermediate or advanced player to make the metronome their friend.

Speaking of Accuracy

Many guitarists invariably pay more attention to the notes they play than to the rhythm. Perhaps this is because when we learn a piece, we intentionally slow down passages to practice them and to learn them accurately. Or perhaps it is because the fingering of the notes is visual while rhythm is more abstract. But it is just as wrong to play the right note at the wrong time as it is to play the wrong note at the right time. Still, most players will sacrifice rhythm for correct notes. Unfortunately, when we perform, audiences will notice errors in the rhythm before they will notice wrong notes or chords. That is why your teacher will tell you, "Hey, if you make mistakes or forget something, just keep going no matter what." As long as the rhythmic pulse stays intact, few people will notice other types of errors.

The" Little Dance"—Use Body Movement to Feel the Pulse

I spent most of Part 1 of this technique tip talking about playing in the pocket, feeling or internalizing the beat, and staying in the groove. I wrote about the importance of internalizing the rhythm deep in the core of our being.

To achieve that, when you practice at home, it helps to articulate the rhythm with your body as you play with and without the metronome. At the very least, feel the pulse by tapping your foot along with the click of the metronome. You can also use head bobs, body sway, and shoulder movements. Movement-based time keeping is one of the best ways to internalize the beat.

Master percussionist Malcolm "Mac" Santiago calls it "The Little Dance". It refers to any repetitive body movement used to help you subdivide the beat. Musicians outside the classical world use fairly obvious movements to get or stay in time. Of course, an exaggeration of movements could interfere with technique, so for the classical guitarist and other classical instrumentalists, the movement must be relaxed and limited. It should never detract from the visual performance. But when practicing at home, we have a little more freedom.

Therefore, it is a good idea when practicing with the metronome to keep your body moving in time with the beat. Don't sit motionless while you play with the metronome. Supply your own groove to it, always listening and self-correcting as needed to stay on the beat and in the groove. Always try to make those clicks vanish.

For classical guitarists, one of the best ways to use the body to feel the beat is to tap a foot. If you are using a footstool, tap the right foot. In your practice, wear footwear on a hard surface so that you make substantial noise when you tap. This is not meant to be a subtle thing! Of course, in performance you probably will not tap at all. Or if you do, you will be tapping your toes silently in your shoes.

Some people worry that If they overuse the metronome they may become dependent upon it. Indeed, sometimes when you shut it off, you may feel like you are adrift at sea, with no reference points, no guardrails. That is another reason to tap your foot or engage in "the little dance". That will help your internal metronome take over when you turn off the click.


Diagnostics 1. Use the metronome to pinpoint problem spots

A piece is never of equal difficulty throughout. There will be easier areas and more difficult areas. Periodically, play through a piece with the metronome set at a slightly challenging speed. Record it. You will notice certain problem spots and "stress points" begin to appear. The metronome's unforgiving nature helps you identify these spots. Without it, you are likely to unconsciously slow down at these points as you become absorbed in the difficulty at hand. By keeping your relentless friend clicking away in perfect time, the difficult spots become obvious. As you listen back to your recording, be sure to mark the problem spots in your music. That way, they will be highlighted for specialized practice (probably without the metronome).

Do NOT do this: some people set their metronome at a target speed and push through the difficult spots hoping to get through the piece without a mistake. When they make mistakes, they go back to the beginning of the song and play through it again, thinking that maybe this time they will get through it without a mistake. They do this over and over. This horrible approach to practicing is one of the reasons the metronome has developed a bad reputation with some musicians and teachers over the years.

This is a terribly inefficient approach that will never result in mastery. Mistakes must be carefully analyzed, and solutions logically formulated to correct them once and for all. See my technique tip: The Keys to Consistent Classical Guitar Playing, Part 1.

Diagnostics 2. Determine the performance tempo

I always tell my students and advise performers to prepare their pieces at three tempos:

  • A.  The tempo that sounds musically correct and at which they are most comfortable when they play at home.
  • B.  A faster tempo than Tempo A.
    • The adrenaline effect (see my technique tip, Adrenaline and Altered Perception of Tempo) will often make us play faster than we intend to or make us unaware of how fast we are playing. Having an extra cushion, i.e. the ability to accurately play the piece at a faster tempo, will inspire confidence and may stave off disaster.
    • If you are a performer, you must be able to adjust the tempos of your pieces to the acoustics of the room in which you are playing. If the room is "dead" with no reverberation, it may seem as though the notes come out of the guitar and plop onto the floor in front of you, never reaching the audience. If you play your pieces at Tempo A, the audience will feel a lack of coherence to the flow of the music. In this situation, the tempos of all the pieces both slow and fast, should be increased to reduce the dead space between the notes in general. But the increase must be done in a controlled fashion, hence the necessity for practicing your pieces at home faster than Tempo A.
    • The fact that you can play a piece faster than your Tempo A will give you more confidence in general.
  • C.  A slower tempo than Tempo A.
    • Again, if you are a performer, you must be able to adjust the tempos of your pieces to the acoustics of the room in which you are playing. If the space is "alive" with lots of reverberation and you play your fast pieces at Tempo A, they will sound like a mishmash of sound to your audience. Even if you play the fast notes cleanly with perfect control and articulation and they sound fine to you onstage, your sound will be somewhat incoherent to the audience. In the room, the notes will be bouncing off the walls back and forth, echoing multiple times and at different rates across the space. They will ring uncontrollably into each other creating unintended dissonances and will sustain way past their intended values.
    • Sometimes a performer encounters a particularly stressful performance situation. Often, the ability to consciously slow down a piece will enable the performer to maintain control in bad circumstances.
    • The remedy for both of these problems is to play the fast pieces and even some of the slower pieces at speeds less than Tempo A. But playing pieces slower than your usual Tempo A can be tricky to do if you have not rehearsed it. Be sure to spend some time practicing at your slow Tempo C.

Diagnostics 3. Pinpoint spots where you unknowingly speed up or slow down

Occasionally, practice your piece beginning to end with the metronome. Take note of spots where you unintentionally speed up or slow down. Mark them in your music! Sometimes we blame technical problems or mistakes on bad fingering, bad positioning, or other causes when all along, they are caused by unintentional increases of tempo. If the tempo is held steady, the problem spots go away.

On the other hand, if you detect spots where you are barely keeping up with the metronome, that tells you those spots need specialized practice.

One can also run into problems maintaining the same tempo from section to section of a piece.

In the Andantino from Le Papillon, Op. 50, No. 1 by Mauro Giuliani, the first half consists of relatively long note values while the second half is almost all eighth notes:

Andantino by Mauro Giuliani Part A
Andantino by Mauro Giuliani Part B

Many players, without realizing it, do not keep the same tempo as they proceed from section 1 to section 2. They begin section 1 at a rapid tempo (since it is easier to play) and then slow down when they hit the more difficult section 2.

Brief practice with a metronome (with or without subdivision) will alert the player to this type of error and it can be easily fixed.

The same problem is encountered in Leyenda by Isaac Albéniz. The piece contains several sections each using distinct right-hand techniques. As a player segues from section to section, it is very easy to unknowingly speed up or slow down depending on the difficulty of the section. For example, the opening section alternates between using the thumb and a finger. It is fairly easy to play, even at very high speeds:

Leyenda by Isaac Albeniz m1-8

But then, an arpeggio section with double thumb strokes pops up at measure #17:

Leyenda by Isaac Albeniz m17-20

If the opening part is played too fast, the player must slow down to execute the arpeggio section.

Then, the tremolo section kicks in at measure #25:

Leyenda by Isaac Albeniz tremolo m25-28

If the preceding arpeggio section was played too fast, the player must slow down when they hit the tremolo part.

Again, these problems are easily solved by practice with the metronome. The player can either:

  1. Determine the speed at which they play the most difficult section well and then match the easier sections to that tempo.
  2. Give additional practice to the difficult sections using the metronome and speed burst practice until the difficult sections match the speed of the easier part.

Diagnostics 4. Shift the accents to the offbeats

This can be a useful tactic that works in a lot of musical styles with "simple" time signatures (i.e. 2/4, 4/4, sometimes 3/4 but not 6/8). Set the metronome but consider the click to be on the offbeats or what jazz and pop musicians call backbeats instead of the strong beat. It is surprising how this can sometimes lock in the time. Setting the metronome to click the offbeats or backbeats somehow keeps us better on track. This is similar to but not the same as basic subdivision. I find this especially helpful in getting into the groove or pocket of very rhythmic pieces by Bach, and many moderate to fast pieces by Carulli, Sor, Carcassi, and Giuliani.

Here are a few examples of how to use this technique on easy, intermediate, and advanced pieces:

Allegretto by Fernando Sor, emphasizing the offbeats

Watch me demonstrate how to emphasize the offbeats in Sor's Allegretto in Video #1:

Video #1: Allegretto (Fernando Sor)

Metronome clicking on the offbeats or backbeats.

Here is a more difficult piece, Carcassi's Study or Etude No. 7 Op. 60:

Etude or Study No. 7 by Matteo Carcassi

Watch me demonstrate how to emphasize the offbeats in Carcassi's Study No. 7, op. 60 in Video #2:

Video #2: Study No. 7 (Matteo Carcassi)

Metronome clicking on the offbeats or backbeats.

Or, how about this piece:

Sounds of the Bells by Joao Pernambuco Part A
Sounds of the Bells by Joao Pernambuco Part B

Watch me demonstrate how to emphasize the backbeat of Sounds of the Bells in Video #3:

Video #3: Sounds of the Bells (João Pernambuco)

Metronome clicking on the offbeats or backbeats

Here is an example of how to use the practice technique of emphasizing the offbeats on an advanced piece:

Bach Preludio from Lute Suite 4 Part A
Bach Preludio from Lute Suite 4 Part B

Diagnostics 5. Use the metronome to detect rushed beats

Beginning and intermediate guitarists often rush the conclusion of a phrase that ends in a long note. For example, in the Waltz in E Minor by Ferdinand Carulli, each section ends with a long chord:

Waltz in E minor by Ferdinand Carulli Part A
Waltz in E minor by Ferdinand Carulli Part B

Practicing with the metronome clicking eighth notes or even sixteenth notes will alert the player to this type of problem, especially if they count out loud.

Diagnostics 6. Use the metronome to practice beginning a piece at the correct tempo

Many problems are caused simply by beginning a piece at the wrong tempo. This is especially true in performance due to the adrenaline effect (see my technique tip, Adrenaline and Altered Perception of Tempo). And sometimes, even starting a piece too slowly can have adverse effects.

Fix the problem using your metronome:

Most accurate diagnostic method

BEFORE step#1, decide what tempo is the target tempo at which you intend to perform the piece.

  1. Record yourself playing the first few measures of the piece or passage.
  2. Listen back and use the tap feature on your metronome to determine the tempo of your recording. Were you right on your target tempo? Or were you too fast or too slow?
  3. Repeat steps one and two until you consistently hit the correct target tempo.
  4. Take a break and do other practicing. Every 10 to 15 minutes in your practice session repeat steps one through three.
  5. If possible, repeat this process twice a day.
  6. If the piece or passage is not stressful on your hands you can even repeat the process outside of your regular practice sessions. For example, when you have ten minutes of free time, pick up your guitar and test yourself to see if you are accurately hitting your target tempo.

Alternative diagnostic method

If your metronome does not have the tap feature:

  1. Set your metronome to the correct target tempo. But do not turn it on.
  2. Begin playing the beginning of the piece or passage.
  3. After a few measures stop. Immediately turn on the metronome and play along with it.
  4. Compare how it feels to play with the metronome to how it felt when you played without it. You should be able to tell if you were playing too fast, too slow, or right on target.

Also see Part 1 of this technique tip: Use the metronome to internalize tempo memory and relative tempos.

Diagnostics 7. Use the metronome to keep track of your progress

This one is obvious. Use the metronome to keep track of the speeds you attain on pieces, passages, and exercises.

The failure of most players is that they do not keep a careful and easily-accessed record of their speeds. They forget where they wrote down their speeds, don't update the information, or don't write them down at all.

Many times, you will drop a piece from your repertoire but revisit it years later. It is very helpful to know the tempo at which you used to play it. As an older player (I am 65 years old at this writing), I find it very gratifying to discover that in the most difficult pieces, I can still hit the tempos I had marked in the music when I was in my twenties. In many instances I find I can exceed them because I have learned to practice better and smarter.

Diagnostics 8. If you are a teacher

I have students who in the early stages of learning their pieces, habitually practice too fast at home. I assign a new piece and they come back a week later attempting to play it at performance tempo. For these students, I emphatically specify (and write a tempo marking in red on the music) they are not to exceed tempo "x" for next week's lesson. I can tell that some of them still practice too fast, but eventually they get the message.

Diagnostics 9. Practice with different subdivisions at performance tempo

Sometimes a student will have a tendency to shave a little bit of time off the longer notes within a phrase. For example, let's look at this Andante Grazioso by Ferdinand Carulli.

Andante Grazioso by Ferdinand Carulli subdivided into dotted quarter notes

Your teacher says he wants you to be able to play it at 56 for a dotted quarter note. That is not too difficult, but your teacher says you are slightly rushing the quarter notes. You are not holding them for their full value.

To remedy that, he instructs you to subdivide the beat into eighth notes at 168 bpm to make yourself aware of the precise length of the quarter notes, so you do not rush them. Remember, subdivision provides more reference points (beats or metronome clicks) to keep your playing mechanism precise and on track.

How did he come up with 168? The goal is 56 bpm for a dotted quarter note. A dotted quarter note contains three eighth notes. Therefore, you must multiply the bpm of the dotted quarter note by 3. So, 56 bpm x 3=168 bpm.

It would be advisable to switch back and forth between the two metronome settings to be certain the timing is ingrained.

Here is the piece subdivided into eighth notes:

Andante Grazioso by Ferdinand Carulli subdivided into 8th notes

In Video #4, watch me demonstrate how to use two different subdivisions to correct problems with rushing long notes:

Video #4: Andante Grazioso (Ferdinand Carulli)

How to use different subdivisions to correct problems with rushing long notes.

Or, say you are learning Leyenda (Asturias) by Isaac Albéniz. You are playing the opening fast section at 80 bpm for a quarter note, but your teacher says the notes are not rhythmically precise:

Leyenda by Isaac Albeniz subdivided into quarter notes

To fix it, subdivide the beat into eighth notes and double the metronome speed to 160 bpm. That gives you more reference ticks to hear the precise subdivisions of the beat:

Leyenda by Isaac Albeniz subdivided into eighth notes

And again, switch back and forth between the two metronome settings to be certain the timing is ingrained in both subdivisions.

Then, as you progress from 80 bpm to faster tempos, occasionally subdivide into eighth notes and double the metronome setting to be sure you stay on track. Eventually, as you reach high speeds the rhythms will be locked in and further subdivision should be unnecessary.

MORE TO COME IN PART 4 (the conclusion) of

1. How to use the metronome to improve your use of rubato and other changes of tempo.

2. How to use the metronome to improve shifts.

3. How to use the metronome to prevent rhythm problems caused by ornaments.

4. How to use the metronome to improve your performance of ensemble music, duets, and chamber music.


These are downloads from Dropbox. NOTE: You do NOT need a Dropbox account and don't have to sign up for Dropbox to access the file.

1. Download a PDF of the article with links to the videos.
Download a PDF of The Metronome is Your Friend, Part 3 with links to the videos.

2. Download a PDF of the article with embedded videos.
This is a large file. Download The Metronome is Your Friend Part 3, with embedded videos.
537 MB

3. Download the individual videos. Click on the video you wish to download. After the Vimeo video review page opens, click on the down arrow in the upper right corner. You will be given a choice of five different resolutions/qualities/file sizes to download.

Download Video #1: Sor Allegretto clicks on offbeats.

Download Video #2: Carcassi Study 7, op. 60 clicks on offbeats.

Download Video #3: Sounds of the Bells clicks on offbeats.

Download Video #4: Carulli Andante Grazioso.