Develop Your Inner Clock
Using a metronome when you practice can be helpful, but it can also cause you to develop bad habits. A common problem is that you can become dependent on the metronome to keep time. Following a metronome should not be your goal, playing in time with a metronome should be your goal. Also, if you always practice with a metronome, when you come to perform you can lose your confidence because the metronome is not there to lean on and good time keeping requires confidence. What you need to develop is an inner clock. One you can confidently rely on.
Some time ago I devised these metronome exercises to help me improve my time keeping and develop my inner clock. I found them to be very effective and could quickly see the results. I started using them with my students and they too found them helpful, so I decided to put these volumes together and make them more widely available. I hope you find them useful.
By measuring your time against the silent metronome you can immediately hear if you are rushing or dragging. Put a track on a loop for several repeats and you will find that your accuracy improves as you settle into the tempo. Once you nail it a few times, then try another tempo.
Volume 1 - Count and Clap
This is a great exercise to quickly meaure the accuracy of your time keeping. After the two-bar count in, count two or four bars (according to the track name) then clap. How close can you get to the clap on the track? Once you get it right a few times try another tempo. Slower is harder! These exercises can be done away from your instrument, which means you can practice any time, any place. Download the tracks to your phone and with a pair of earphones you can tap your fingers and work on your time keeping while waiting for a bus, a plane or a dentists appointment. All of which I've done!
Volume 2 - Keep Time with the Silent Metronome
After the two-bar count in you will hear a click track for four bars, then silence for four bars. These eight bars are repeated for you to play along with (four on and four off). Each time the metronome kicks back in you can immediately hear if you are rushing or dragging and make the required adjustment.
A cowbell signals the start of each four-bar section and the hi hat sounds on 2 & 4, which is something all aspiring jazz musicians must get comfortable with.
If you regularly use these metronome exercises you will soon notice an improvement in your time keeping as you develop your inner clock, which will increase your confidence, which will help your time keeping.
Do let me know how you get on with them!