9 Why metronomes are important


So we know music is made up of notes, but that is only half of the story. The other side, and arguable the most important, is the rhythm and timing. We will look in to rhythms a little later in the lessons, but for this lesson we will look at a tool that will be invaluable throughout your musical journey. A metronome is a device/app/piece of equipment that will click to a beat every time without moving away from it. It's a little bit like a clock, it will keep ticking at that pace every time. The way the clicks are measured is in 'Beats Per Minute' or BPM as you will see it referred to. It is also called the 'Tempo' of the song. A clock ticks 60 times in a minute so a clock will click at 60BPM. If we were to click every time the clock ticks and in the gaps between we would be counting at 120BPM. All songs have their own BPM and this will determine how fast the song is.
Knowing this, we can use this in our practice. If we have a melody that is quite tricky when it is fast, we can work up to it by slowing it down and learning the parts without the pressure of speed. We can teach our fingers the positions and use our muscle memory to help us in our fast sections. For example, if we take Muse's Plug In Baby:

But it is way too fast to start learning straight away, we can use a metronome and look at a tab diagram and use a metronome to play it slowly. Give it a try with the tab here and with a metronome app or use Google's built in metronome. The melody's tempo is 140 BPM, so I would start at about 60/70BPM and get comfortable with the melody and raise it by 10 BPM when you feel confident in speeding up.

It should start coming together when you start it at a slower speed and will get better over time. Here is what it should sound like at these tempos: