A METRONOME is a device that keeps accurate time in music. It can be adjusted to a variety of beats per minute.
There are many kinds of METRONOMES. Whether it be a manual wind up, battery, or electric model, all do a wonderful job assisting the developing needs of all musicians.
WHEN TO START?
If possible, begin at once. At age 5 one may begin counting with the metronome on the beats. Once the student can count and tap with a metronome they may begin using the device ALL THE TIME starting with our very first piece. Some great exercises to start are to play a note and count to 4 with the metronome for each of the notes. Then do the same for 2 beats. Now count 1234 and strike a key on beat 1. Do the same on beats 2, 3, and 4 each separately. More advanced practice is to play 2 note combinations of beats. Beats (1,2) (1,3) (1,4) (2,3) (2,4) then 3 note combinations. Beats (1,2,3) (1,2,4) (2,3,4)
DON'T HAVE ONE?
If you do not have a metronome, just be sure to be counting out loud alone and with your teacher as you practice.
WHAT TO SET IT AT?
I recommend having the tempo set at around 56-60 beats per minute as you begin. Work on increasing the tempo as the student gets more in control. The teacher can set the limits for the students. My kids check in with me when they achieve 120 beats on the metronome. It is preferred before moving on to the next piece that the student can play both the MAIN piece and the DUET portion in a DUET setting at a higher tempo than that which they began the piece at. Use the metronome as a way to keep score.
A PARENT'S BEST FRIEND
Many have made reference to the metronome as the parent's best friend. It can actually free the parents up while the child is practicing, knowing that the child is able to be challenged. The kids will have a goal to reach, thus allowing parents to get other things done while their child is practicing. The metronome will tell it all as you check in to your child's practice session.