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How To Practice With A Metronome

Redmond Militante (957) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 50
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

Now that your fingers are starting to limber up, it's time to switch from playing single notes to playing whatever scale/finger exercise/piece of music/arpeggio/chord sequence etc. you have decided to practice today. Again it's best to pick a music snippet or chord sequence that lends itself to being looped. If you are using the metronome to practice a particular musical phrase, I find it useful to chop that phrase up into five note snippets, and loop that snippet. Why not four note snippet? -Because it's helpful to become familiar with connections between four note groups within longer phrases.

I will write up some good finger exercises for warm ups in future lessons. We will use the Chromatic Scale in our example.

Keep your tempo at about 50-60bpm, and play the Chromatic Scale up and down the fretboard using 1/4 notes, 1/8th notes, triplets and 1/16th notes - do not increase the number of notes per beat until you are comfortable with what you are currently playing. Work on your current working speed until you can play it evenly and smoothly. Remember - sloppy practicing only reinforces bad technique.

Once you get it right, REPEAT IT IMMEDIATELY! You want to ingrain doing it correctly, and wipe out the memory of all the times you did it wrong before it finally clicked. I sometimes use the "penny game." Start with 5 pennies (or reeds, or other counters) on one side of your stand. When you play the passage with no mistakes, move one over and try again. If you make even one mistake, all the pennies go back to the other side and you start over. This will force you to play the passage five times correctly in a row. Whatever works for you.

In this manner, work up from 1/4s to 1/8ths to triplets to 1/16ths. It will eventually become easier to play more notes at faster tempos, remember that speed is a by product of accuracy!
How To Practice With A Metronome - Page 3