Practicing with a metronome?

Do you practice with a metronome? Why?

Well, for many people it starts with learning how to feel time, in a measurable way. What that means is learning to feel a space of time in equal divisions. This means the space between each beat is the same between all other beats. We practice with a metronome to learn to sense when we are "rushing or laying back" as it refers to where the beat is, and the space between the those beats.

What largely gets overlooked, when practicing with the metronome, is the space between the beats. There is an enormous opportunity to learn about the movement that rhythms create in music by learning to feel the space between the beats.

The easiest way to do this is by first learning the basic divisions of the beat:

-half note

-quarter note

-eighth note

-eighth note triplet

-sixteenth note

Next, you want to practice moving between two sets of rhythmic divisions of the beat. (Start with half notes and quarter notes.)

Then move onto quarter notes and eighth notes, and eighth notes and eighth note triplets, eighth notes and sixteenth notes and finally eighth notes triplets and sixteenth notes.

The next step is learning to increase the level of difficulty by moving between any of the different subdivisions of the beat. The reason for doing this is to increase your rhythmic flexibility. Rhythms are a language all their own. If you pay attention to people's speech patterns you'll notice this immediately! People don't speak in consistent rhythmic divisions. And, they also use SPACE! 

So, what's next??? You guessed it!

Incorporating space, or rests. 

The last step would be to listen to one of your favorite solos and just memorize the rhythm of that solo. Then see if you can use those rhythms from the solo to construct your own solo. The first thing you'll notice is how those rhythms influence your choice of notes. One of my favorite guitarists of all time is, Angus Young. He is a remarkably rhythmic guitarist when he solos. You could literally create a drum solo using the rhythms his solos are comprised of.

Lastly, listen to music from other cultures. It is REALLY amazing, when you think about it, how humans feel rhythmic time in different parts of the world so differently. You will learn a great deal from doing this.

Hope you are well!

-james scott