You’ve looked over types of metronome for drummers, but how do you use one so you can learn to play the drums? We’ve prepared an informative article for you, in which you will find the answers to this question and other useful trivia about it so continue reading below about everything regarding metronomes and drums.
You could spend months practicing the drums, but you’ll only learn how to do it correctly when you start using a metronome – that’s when things really take off! This is a fundamental part of developing your skills that you should never ignore or think it’s not that important, because, quite simply, it is.
Naturally, you will be asking yourself, how are you going to practice drums using a metronome? The general rule is that you need to have a slow tempo when you begin and slowly increase the speed of the metronome as you are more secure in what you are playing.
There’s a trick to everything that we’ll present in the following lines and that is going to let you know if you are playing the drums correctly or not, all with the help of a metronome, so continue reading if you want to become an ace at this! Of course, there’s a lot to learning this art so let’s check out some details together!
When you start practicing, you need to move slowly with the metronome so that you can be certain that you are playing the correct phrase or the beat that you wish to learn. By the way, if you are in a recording studio and you hear somebody use the word “click”, they are probably referring to a metronome, as that’s simply another name for it.
By doing this you are making sure that you won’t encounter any sort of technical limitations that could hinder you from playing the phrase you wish as good as you could. This way you can concentrate easily on the technique you are using, plus develop “muscle memory” for the part that you are practicing.
Not to repeat ourselves, but you can’t overstate this: start slowly and build up your speed as time goes by – this is completely and utterly important for you to be able to practice the phrases that you wish you play as good as possible. This is not lost time, this is called practice and this is how people get good at it.
There are plenty of drummers out there that make this mistake, thinking they can simply start practice at a fast pace as it sounds like you are gaining proficiency. That is simply not the case! Many of those people soon realize that not only are they not becoming any good as fast as they thought they would, but they’re also reinforcing bad habits when playing.
We can all develop bad or sloppy playing techniques, and these stay with us if we don’t pay attention to learning how to play properly. This is when the metronome comes into play as it acts as a guide of sorts for you and you’ll get rid of those problems quicker and more efficiently.
The four steps
In order to make sure that indeed, as you are playing or practicing, your speed is really increasing, you can keep these four things in mind, as they are the ones that will make all the difference when the time has come. Number four shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it’s worth mentioning it.
At first, you need to start slowly. You can start your practice of a beat or phrase at somewhere around 10 or 10 Beats Per Minute (BPM) slower than the speed that you would normally use for a certain rhythm. This lets you focus more on the technique and you can change the bad habits you may have acquired over time.
The second step is repetition. Start playing said phrase for a couple of times in a row by following the exact tempo. For example, if you are practicing a 2 bar drum beat, you can realize around 20-30 repetitions, so you can get used to it and analyze it properly.
Of course, you may adjust the number of repetitions by taking into consideration the length of the phrase you are rehearsing. This will come naturally to you, as time goes and you learn more about this.
The third step is the incremental speed increase. When you reach this point, you can increase the speed with around 4 Beats Per Minute. So, if, for example, you are practicing something at around 50 BPM, after 20 repetitions, you can speed it up to 54 BPM. Following another 20 repetitions, you may upgrade yourself to 58 BPM.
Now, step four is the one we are all waiting for and this is all about …. practice and repeat! Everything mentioned so far needs to be repeated, again and again, until you know what you are doing, until your muscle memory has formed good habits, etc. It’s all about practice when it comes to music, so don’t think there are any shortcuts in this case either.
Pump up the volume
Volume is the keyword here and to put the problem as simple as possible: drums can be really loud, while a metronome isn’t (unless you amplify it, of course). For you to be able to practice with a metronome, you have to hear it properly. But how can you do that when the sound of the drums is burying the metronome? The answer is easy!
For this to work you will need to match the volume of the drums to the ones of the metronome. You can rely on four tricks that let you hear the metronome when you are playing the drums and they’re all things that you can do.
First, as we mentioned above, you can amplify the metronome. Simply make the connection between the device and a PA system so you will be able to make it click as loud as the drums you are playing. Wearing earplugs in this situation is not a bad idea at all, as the sound can be quite deafening.
The second option is to use headphones. Put on a pair of isolating headphones and then plug them into the metronome so that you will be able to hear both of them at the same level. This practice is really good and important because it gives you protection for your hearing, something you should never underestimate when you are playing the drums.
Your third option is to muffle them as drums don’t have to be always as loud as they can be. There are plenty of available methods that let you reduce the volume on drums, you simply need to find an article about it and find a version that fits with what you can do. It’s not always as complicated as it sounds.
The fourth option that you can take into consideration is to electrify them. A set of electronic drums has advantages and disadvantages when they are compared to acoustic drums, as it’s normal to have. One of the advantages that electronic drums offer you is the ability to play them more quietly.
This also lets you pump all the noise into the headphone or the speakers that you are using at the same time as the sound of you playing that comes out of the drums. You can find electronic drum kits that come with an included metronome, so that can be seen as a huge plus as you won’t have to bother as much.
You can choose any of the available options, as, for one reason or another, you may prefer one instead of another. It’s probably going to take you a bit of time and some experimentation to get things right so that you can use the drum set and the metronome correctly.
But, the good news is that once everything is in order, you can let the equipment aside and focus on what you really want, which is to start to play for real. It may seem like a burden to do all these things, but the end result is that it really matters, and, fortunately, in this case, the end result is one that you will cherish a lot!
Don’t rush into becoming an expert, take your time and that is when you will become one.