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#111: The Ultimate Time Machine: Harness The Power Of Your Metronome

Okay, here’s my question for you today. What would be the scariest words you could hear in your lesson? I can think of lots of possibilities but I’m guessing that one of those phrases that comes to your mind might be, “I think we need to get out the metronome.”

If that’s a phrase that makes you start to squirm on your harp bench, you’re not alone. Learning to use the metronome is one of those things that we teachers often fail to teach our students. Sure, we pull out the metronome in lessons and tell our students to practice with it at home, but we don’t often really show them how to work with it or when to use it and why. We almost turn it into a punishment. I sometimes worry I sound like the Wicked Witch of the West; “Well, my pretty, you counted that badly. It’s time for the metronome for you and the little dog too!”

But the metronome is for more than just identifying and solving counting errors or uneven beats. And it’s not just for pushing the tempo faster and faster. Used creatively, the metronome can actually slow time for you, helping to create enough time for you to do what you need to do. It’s not just about practicing slowly so you can play fast. It’s about smoothing out the bumps and coordinating the many processes that go into playing a piece of music. It can help you be more expressive and yes, you can even use the metronome to calm frantic fingers or frazzled nerves and to help you focus. 

Now if you’re one of those harpists like me who absolutely loves working with the metronome, then congratulations. You’ve learned to harness one of the most powerful tools in any musician’s bag of tricks. But don’t leave me yet - I have some cool metronome tricks you may not know to share with you today.

But if you’re like the majority of harpists out there, you’re not quite comfortable using the metronome. In fact, you may not be quite convinced of its value as a practice tool. My hope is that the ideas I’m going to share with you today will spark your interest and encourage you to make the metronome your best practice buddy.

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode: 

Get involved in the show! Send your questions and suggestions for future podcast episodes to me at [email protected]


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