There is a secret to playing better. Some know it; some don’t.
The players you see playing for the likes of Desperation Band, Hillsong United, Paul Baloche and Chris Tomlin definitely know this secret. The players you meet who are good enough to play for any of those guys know this secret.
The question is, do you?
At some point in time we all feel this. No matter how long we practice we can’t make any progress in our playing.
There is the intro to that one song I just can’t seem to play. There is the solo I hear in my head I can’t seem to come out of my amp. There are all these things I want to play that I just can’t.
I hope I’m not the only person who feels this way because this has to be the worst feeling in the world.
The Glass must be broken. And there is a simple way to do it.
Practice with a metronome.
Some of you may be thinking “What! No way! They are awful. They just make it hard to play.”
My experience when I first bought a metronome was very interesting. I sat down with my guitar and turned on my metronome and watched it click 120 BPMs (beats per minute) for a while. It seemed to be working pretty well…until I started to play with it.
As soon as I started to play, I swear, it changed tempos.
Okay, so it didn’t really change tempos, but it was hard to play with it at first. I was so used to basing my playing on the tempo in my head that I never realized how my own tempo was flawed.
The metronome is sort of a great awakening for musicians. Only until we put our playing against something perfect can our playing be (dare I say) ‘perfect.’
It is simple yet will revolutionize your playing.
Why Practice with a Metronome
1. It is objective. Something human beings aren’t, especially we creative/musician types. No matter how even we think we are playing we fluctuate in tempo. Over time and with practice we can get pretty close to perfect. By using a metronome we can go from thinking we play evenly to objectively, knowing-without-a-doubt that we are playing evenly.
2. Playing to a Metronome (or click) is Professional Grade. The first requirement for all professionals is to play with a click. Both in recording studios and in live performances all pros (and a lot of amateurs) use click tracks religiously. If you want to take your playing to the next level (whether that’s going pro or not), the click is the best way to get there.
3. It helps you play better with the band. When you are used to basing you playing on something else besides your whims and feelings of the moment it will make you sound tighter with the rest of the musicians.
There are a lot of reasons to practice with a metronome, but here is the kicker. No progress can be made unless you do it. Start with a slower-than-normal tempo to get used to it, then work your way up to full speed.
Remember, sound good.