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Get one.The metronome is a hugely important tool no matter what level you play at. Using a metronome properly will help you accomplish the following:
  1. Increase your ability to feel music on time and play music on time.
  2. Increase your enjoyment of music that is played on time.
  3. Increase your ability to play more quickly and in conjunction, play more fluidly when desired.
  4. Expand improvisation into areas of greater rhythmic complexity.
Using a metronome properly consists of:
  1. When the metronome is set to click on the downbeats for example, (the most basic: 1, 2, 3, and 4 in 4/4 time) practice making sure you are exactly on top of the click. In the very beginning of practicing with a metronome and practicing time, reduce your playing to the minimum i.e. repeat the same note over an over so that you can focus entirely on playing time correctly.
  2. Try to make the click dissappear by playing exaclty on top it.
  3. Next, turn the volume of the click to maximum and make the click so on time that the attacks of the notes you play consistantly dissappear.
  4. Next, make it so that you move your attacks just slightly in front of the click enough so that the sound of your attacks change. Keep it consistant.
Good use of a metronome consists of:
  1. Practicing with the metronome to the downbeats.
  2. Practicing with the metronome on beats 2 and 4 in jazz music and any music that swings.
  3. Put the metronome on the upbeats (i.e. "+").
  4. Put the metronome on the "e" of each beat (in 16th notes: 1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a )[pronounced one-ee-and-uh...etc.].
  5. Put the metronome on the "a" of each beat.
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