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Your Foot Is Not a Metronome

Posted by: david at 4:39 pm on June 12th, 2016

metronome - thumb.jpgMany musicians tap their feet while they are playing to help them keep time. One of my most memorable observations of this was while I was at a middle school band concert. I was sitting eye level to the stage and had an excellent view of the feet of every single band member.

About halfway through the concert I realized that the majority of the band was tapping their feet. What really surprised me was how good the band sounded, especially considering almost none of the feet were tapping in unison. I asked myself, “How can they possibly play together musically when none of them could agree on the same pace with their feet?”

I have done a lot of thinking about this phenomenon and come to the conclusion that tapping your foot is actually more distracting than it is helpful. Your mind has enough to concentrate on where you are playing an instrument, and your foot is just one more thing. While I applaud the active engagement of young musicians to keep good time, it can in fact be a significant detriment to their playing.

There is a simple solution to this problem, and that solution is known as a metronome. The metronome has been helping musicians for a very long time, and is available in more styles than ever now. There are even apps for your mobile device that facilitate practicing with a steady beat.

By allowing the metronome to do the work, you have much more mental energy you can devote to actually playing your instrument. The trick is to use it consistently. Use a metronome for all of your practicing, every day, and you will notice a significant improvement in your playing in no time. Not only will your playing be better, but your ear will be much more in tune to when the tempo is fluctuating.

If you have any questions or would like to sign up for private lessons contact The Marion Music Academy at 319-377-3343.


David-Arnold.jpgA graduate of Luther College, David Arnold has been providing high quality private music lessons to students of all ages for over 15 years. His specialties include saxophone, guitar, and bass guitar. Drawing upon his diverse musical background, David provides a unique experience that merges his formal training in music with his professional performance experiences. Students will learn to be confident, well rounded musicians that are capable of performing in a wide array of musical settings.