Timekeeping On The Drums
An Introduction to Timekeeping Methods Using a Metronome
Learning how to keep time with a metronome is an important step in becoming a better time-keeper. Drummers are depended upon to keep time in a band situation keeping correct time is harder than you may think as its easy to creep up the tempo of the beat you play, in turn speeding up the whole band. No-one else in the band will have the same ability to affect the tempo, they may ask to slow it down or speed up however you are primarily in control of the tempo the song is progressing at once it has been started. A metronome is a great tool to build your time-keeping ability its great for developing discipline in your playing and where possible you should always try to incorporate practice using one.
Pre Requisite: Basic Understanding of Note Values.
What is a Metronome?
Sometimes referred to as a click or click track, a metronome is a timekeeping device musicians will use to keep proper time. Time is kept by using a constant pulse set at the speed/tempo of your choice.
Where Can I Buy A Metronome?
If you own a smartphone you can buy it from the app store. Otherwise, check out your local music equipment supplier.
How Fast Should I set a Metronome?
For starters, you should look at a familiar pulse relative to time, 60 beats per minute, BPM. Use this as a starting point and adjust to suit the exercise you are doing. As a general guideline, look for tempo’s between 55 – 110 Beats Per Minute (BPM). This way you are developing your inner timekeeping ability.
Your exercise is to match the metronome exactly. While you may have a tendency to speed up once you are confident you have it, this will measure how accurate you really are. Speed up or slow down too much, you’ll go out of sync pretty quick. Feel free to reference this page when learning other exercises in order to sharpen your timekeeping skills.
- Set your metronome to 60 bpm
- Find a tone which is agreeable to your ear, such as cowbell or similar
- Use 1 surface, such as a practice pad or snare drum
- Count in time 1 2 3 4, Play once per click of the metronome at 1 beat per second, 60 bpm.
Score & Audio
Video courtesy of Drumset Fundamentals