A metronome is a practice tool that produces a steady pulse (or beat) to help musicians play rhythms accurately. The pulses are measured in beats-per-minute (BPM).
Once believed to have been developed on the suggestion of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven and ascribed to the German inventor, Johann Nepomuk Maelzel who was granted a patent in 1816, the original metronome was actually created by a Dutchman, Dietrich Noloaus Winkel in 1812.
Unlike early metronomes which had no sound and had to stay in the musicians line of sight, modern music time-keepers come in a variety of styles, both analogue and digital.
What you need:
- a metronome
- your music instrument
- the piece of music you are working on
How to play:
- identify the phrase within your current piece that is most difficult for you
- set your metronome at a slow speed – crochet = 55 or 60pbm
- play your difficult passage 3 times through keeping to this slow beat
- increase the metronome speed by 5 notches
- play through your difficult passage 3 times keeping to the new speed
- repeat the last two steps once
- play through from the start as much of the piece of music as you can at the speed you finished your practice on
- the next time you pick up your instrument to practise, set the metronome at the same speed you finished your last practice on
- play the difficult passage through 3 times and increase the metronome speed by 5 notches, 3 times through so you are increasing your speed by 15 notches each time you practice
- finish your practice by again playing through from the start as much of the piece of music as you can at the speed you are you now up to
This music practice game can be tricky and will (usually) need supervision to ensure the notes stay in time with the metronome beat. Have fun!