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  1. #1

    Metronomes and Practice

    Do you use a metronome in your practice?

    I found a few resources that have me questioning the frequency of metronome use.

    While I'm still a fan of using the metronome (especially when reading) I recently discovered this interesting article from Mike Longo about why you should not use the metronome when practicing: Should You Practice Jazz With A Metronome?

    He specifically contests the use of metronome on 2 and 4 (I never used this system extensively but I first heard it from an Emily Remler video).

    I stumbled upon this after watching this Hal Galper clip about jazz rhythm (in which he professes jazz is not quarter notes: 1 2 3 4 is only counting and we should stop):



    Then again, no one really deserves to get should-ed on.
    Last edited by guitarmek; 03-11-2016 at 05:14 PM.

  2. #2
    Here's Mike Longo's reply to someone asking about foot tapping on 2 and 4.


    I don’t recommend foot tapping on two and four. For one thing you have to understand where the accent on two and four came from which is the cymbal beat. The old guy’s cymbal beat was Ka Chow chick Ka Chow chick, etc. As you can see, there is something on one and three as well. It just causes the weight to come down on two and four. Just tapping on two and four leaves out half of the beat. Not natural. The Be Bop cymbal beat starts on the fourth beat and sounds like Chip A Ching Chip A Ching, etc. Also Something on one and three with an emphasis on the “A”.
    Last edited by guitarmek; 03-11-2016 at 05:30 PM.

  3. #3
    aw that poor girl in front looks so embarrassed

  4. #4
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    Tommy Emmanuel practices with one and recommends their use.

    Good enough for me.
    Check out my tracks at www.soundcloud.com/billmcmannis

  5. #5
    Set your metronome to tempo 7, tap your foot on beats 1,2,3,4 and let the click be the second triplet of beat four every second measure. Of course this is macho bullshit, but this can be trained by starting with tempo 30 and putting it to half twice. If this doesn't help with time feel I don't know what else will

    Of course you should be able to swing and groove without one. But using one ironically helps with that in my view.

  6. #6
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    I still use a metronome in my practice - it has its uses.

    But yeah, I am a big fan of Mike Longo and Hal Galper's approach to teaching.

    I learn far more about time about playing with other musicians than I could ever learn from a ticking box. Listening to records is a distant second.

    The important thing is being able to truly understand the rhythms you are exposed to in jazz... That's a whole thread in itself, it's very deep.

    Drummers are the best people to talk to... The best ones understand the difference between what a metronome can offer and human time.....

  7. #7
    Yes, it definitely has it's uses... I'm just starting to realize it has it's abuses as well.

    If I had access to musicians for my daily practice sessions I don't think I'd ever use a metronome.

    There's nothing better than a great drummer... they will make a bad band good and a good band great.

    Speaking of great drummers I recently got to check out the Brian Blade Fellowship band live and in person. What wonderful musicians! They somehow made an hour and a half seem like a mere 20 minutes.

  8. #8
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    On guitar, the main reason I use a metronome is for flow - not really for time.

  9. #9
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    If they ever make a movie about Hal Galper, I think it should star John Goodman.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by morekiller View Post
    Do you use a metronome in your practice?

    I found a few resources that have me questioning the frequency of metronome use.

    While I'm still a fan of using the metronome (especially when reading) I recently discovered this interesting article from Mike Longo about why you should not use the metronome when practicing: Should You Practice Jazz With A Metronome?

    He specifically contests the use of metronome on 2 and 4 (I never used this system extensively but I first heard it from an Emily Remler video).

    I stumbled upon this after watching this Hal Galper clip about jazz rhythm (in which he professes jazz is not quarter notes: 1 2 3 4 is only counting and we should stop):



    Then again, no one really deserves to get should-ed on.
    I've seen this, and several other videos of his. I agree with almost everything I've heard him say, even the "2&4 is a crutch" thing.

    His book Forward Momentum is really good, IMO.

    I still use a metronome, too, sometimes

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I still use a metronome in my practice - it has its uses.

    But yeah, I am a big fan of Mike Longo and Hal Galper's approach to teaching...
    Whoa.. I haven't heard of Longo. Can you recommend some videos?

  12. #12
    dortmundjazzguitar Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I still use a metronome in my practice - it has its uses.

    But yeah, I am a big fan of Mike Longo and Hal Galper's approach to teaching.

    I learn far more about time about playing with other musicians than I could ever learn from a ticking box. Listening to records is a distant second.

    The important thing is being able to truly understand the rhythms you are exposed to in jazz... That's a whole thread in itself, it's very deep.

    Drummers are the best people to talk to... The best ones understand the difference between what a metronome can offer and human time.....
    i'm a huge fan of both as well, but that article is rubbish. it's full of strawmen. nobody claims that metronomes "produce good time". he quotes someone who quotes the duke not liking metronomic time-keeping. well, i guess nobody does? and then he gets sidetracked and talks about the "new thing" and the demise of jazz clubs, which is appearently also the metronome's fault...

    i never got the whole discussion. what could possibly be wrong with a tool that can produce a totally steady rim-click? dutch bass legend victor kaihatu during lessons would play basslines for the student and turn to the metronome shouting "yeah!". cause he made it swing.

  13. #13
    dortmundjazzguitar Guest
    btw. i think metronomes are at least better than play-alongs because they don't pretend to actually play with you. god bless hal galper, but some of those aebersolds, oh dear...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dortmundjazzguitar View Post
    i'm a huge fan of both as well, but that article is rubbish. it's full of strawmen. nobody claims that metronomes "produce good time". he quotes someone who quotes the duke not liking metronomic time-keeping. well, i guess nobody does? and then he gets sidetracked and talks about the "new thing" and the demise of jazz clubs, which is appearently also the metronome's fault...

    i never got the whole discussion. what could possibly be wrong with a tool that can produce a totally steady rim-click? dutch bass legend victor kaihatu during lessons would play basslines for the student and turn to the metronome shouting "yeah!". cause he made it swing.
    Yeah it is a strawman, and I think I agree with what you say....

    I don't think a metronome kills your time feel (which seems to be what Longo is suggesting) because there's loads of great players who have used one. But it is also interesting that there are many (ranging from Jeff Berlin to Barry Harris) who haven't.

    So metronome use is not necessary for the development of good time. But can it be a useful practice tool? I think so.

    I do think a some musicians have a bit of a metronomic time feel as opposed to really swinging? Just evenly executed 8th note lines that you certainly wouldn't say are out of time, but lack the grease of real jazz phrases.... The reason seems plain to me - teachers often advise students to 'use a metronome' in the hope that it might sort out their time. Of course it doesn't.

    This is what happened to me. But at least it got me interested in rhythm and helped me develop a more sophisticated understanding...

    For some styles of music, an overly metronomic time feel is really inappropriate - some of the Middle Eastern stuff, for example, and I would argue early jazz and swing, too.

    On the other hand if you can make a metronome click on 2 and 4 swing, you are getting somewhere, but I don't think that practicing with a metronome click alone will get you there... Carol Kaye learned to do this when she realised she was tending to speed up in sessions, and no one would accuse her of having dry or mechanical time/feel. But I daresay her feel was already highly developed even if her sense of tempo might have been a bit off.

    Also, playing with a click on 2 and 4 only can make you a bit reliant on the click for your sense of tempo if over-used, which is a side issue.

    Metronomes are certainly great for technical work, though. I find them a bit better for this ATM than playing with the recording, because it's easier to fluff things a bit when you can hear the part being played behind you.

    Anyway, that said, I got a lot out of what Longo teaches. I don't see his teaching as being fundamentally at odds with the intelligent use of the metronome.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-12-2016 at 06:20 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dortmundjazzguitar View Post
    btw. i think metronomes are at least better than play-alongs because they don't pretend to actually play with you. god bless hal galper, but some of those aebersolds, oh dear...
    Better than iRealB or BIAB in turn! But yes Aebersolds can be a bit awful. And I get very annoyed with the tempos, which seem to be that awful 'jazz camp dirge unswing' tempo for a lot of the standards....

    BTW Have you ever tried recording a melody and solo and then accompanying your recording?

    Lage Lund mentioned this exercise at a workshop a year or two ago. I think it's a fantastic exercise on many levels...

  16. #16
    dortmundjazzguitar Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Better than iRealB or BIAB in turn! But yes Aebersolds can be a bit awful. And I get very annoyed with the tempos, which seem to be that awful 'jazz camp dirge unswing' tempo for a lot of the standards....

    BTW Have you ever tried recording a melody and solo and then accompanying your recording?

    Lage Lund mentioned this exercise at a workshop a year or two ago. I think it's a fantastic exercise on many levels...
    yeah, i did that once or twice many moons ago. but one should always strive to play with better players

    regarding the metronome, it's just a tool. it's not for practicing feel but to have an objective pulse you can hold various rhythms or subdivisions against. i enjoy using it to play 4 to the bar and controlling whether i'm in front, on, or behind the given beat. i also like it to study odd meters, where i can mark the 1.

    on reflection i actually think there are indeed wrong uses of the metronome which can harm your time feel. like pretending the click is on the last eight note of a triplet and trying to develop a swing feel from there. that would be like learning the computer-generated solos of BIAB. ie not helpful.

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