I have been playing music for just over a half a century now, and the metronome has changed radically.
When I began to learn my first instrument, this was the most commonly used and possibly, the only
metronome available, my beautiful Seth Thomas. It was a wind-up device that worked much like a clock. I
bent the bar that the weight slides on, and that metronome could not keep a steady beat. It became a
Soon after, I began to use my first electronic metronome made by Franz. Oh, fantastic, it kept a steady beat, and I used it most at music school. I had to carry instruments, music, and that cumbersome metronome to practice rooms at college. It probably met its demise after being dropped for the umpteenth time.
When I began my teaching career, digital metronomes were starting to come on the market. This Seiko
brand was my first purchase, and I loved it instantly! It was small and easy to transport. I could set it up for different time signatures, and the metronome divided the beat into small pieces. This was revolutionary after practicing with a metronome that could only click on the beat. Oh, yes! It had a clock and an alarm, too! The only drawback is that the digital bleeping sound annoyed many of my students.
I have used several different digital metronomes with great success. Then my students started to pull up
metronome apps on their phones. At first, these apps were terrible, and I said, "No, that is not happening!" and I would pull out the digital device.
As technology will do, the metronome apps quickly improved, and now this is the only type of metronome I use. Pictured is the Click Metronome, an iPhone app I use most of the time. My students have had increased success using this metronome as it adds a visual and an audio clue to the clicking of the beat. There are many types of apps available. One student had one that spoke the beats. Search the numerous metronome apps out there and find one that works for you!
Next month’s blog
Metronome – Part 2 - Friend or Foe?
Kay Darby Finch has been teaching music since moving to Southern Maryland in 1985. Her passion is working one-on-one with students of all ages. In addition to private teaching, Kay has led several church music ministries and owned a St. Mary’s County music store with her late husband, Harry Darby.