How To Use The Metronome To Improve Your Piano Playing

Using a metronome regularly in piano practice sessions will develop a huge amount of strength in the player’s music. Many players are reluctant to use the metronome, it can be very difficult getting the music coordinated with the clicks. But this process of coordinating the playing to the clicks can force a player to let go of rigid tension in the arms. After some practice, a player will discover that the metronome has improved many aspects of their playing.


The metronome must be set to the appropriate speed for the player’s familiarity of the piece. After the notes are learned, there are some musical choices to be considered when setting the metronome.


Practicing slowly is always helpful, but it is important to set the clicks appropriately to match the feel of the music. This is a subjective, musical choice. Some players will play the same piece with a feeling of two to the bar, others will play it in four to the bar. As a piece is learned, the player will discover how they want the metronome set so that it matches their musical concept.


Here are some of the ways that regular use of the metronome will improve a player’s music.


Using the metronome helps develop note accuracy in a new piece.


It is important to set the metronome clicks to a very comfortable, slow, speed when starting to learn a piece. If used when starting to learn a piece, inaccuracies in note values will not be learned. Repeating a phrase or two at a time, and using the metronome to count the beats between repetitions is a very useful technique. As notes are learned, additional phrases can be added to the loop until an entire section is practiced.


The metronome can be used to gain familiarity and memorization.


Before a piece is performed, there needs to be complete mastery of the notes, there cannot be any insecurity. The metronome can be used as an anchor through long repetition practice. This ensures that note and rhythmic accuracy are maintained.


Players can use the metronome to physically settle in to a piece.


Many technical problems work themselves out by using the metronome wile playing. An easy, steady pace encourages the release of tension in the arms and hands. Focusing on letting the arm weight sink down into the keys at all times will help. It is important to stand up and stretch the the arms during this process. Sometimes it is helpful to move the shoulders or arms around while playing, this helps to discover new are and hand coordination. As tension lets go, the body will adjust to the most efficient coordination.


Using the metronome builds a secure feeling of the musical pulse which will develop musicality.


Music making can be ruined by an unsettled tempo, creating musical problems such as chopped up phrasing with too many accents. The metronome will encourage musical playing by developing the music’s underlying pulse.


The metronome is one of the most powerful tools a player can use to improve their playing! There are so many way that the metronome can improve a player’s music, perhaps the most important is that it builds security. After practicing a piece regularly with the metronome, a player feels greater confidence when performing.

PianoJournal.com is a resource site for piano players, with articles and videos of piano playing tips.

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