The metronome snake pit

Practicing with a metronome can be a journey into frustration and perhaps even hypnotic disengagement. I remind my students that a metronome should primarily be used to verify whether your tempo is steady. Parents frequently ask if I recommend students practice with a metronome. I tell them to first let their child develop their own internal sense of beat.

Being sent to the gulag was what some violin students experienced via “old school” pedagogy. I have been playing long enough to have experienced some of its negative affects myself. When I was in music school there were actually rumors about students being locked into practice rooms. The metronome is an iconic symbol of that era of teaching.

A metronome is a tool. Establish a steady tempo by using a metronome. It doesn’t matter how close this tempo is to your ultimate goal. Once you have found your tempo, it is easy to increase it. Ironically, in order to play faster, you may have to start out playing more slowly.

The Inspiration for Violinists card deck
This “Tempo” card is part of a 50 card deck. Every card has a unique image and text inspiring musicianship, mindfulness and spirituality.

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