How to Use a Metronome
A metronome is a practice tool that produces a steady pulse (or beat) to help musicians play rhythms accurately. The pulses are measured in beats-per-minute (BPM). Most metronomes are capable of playing beats from 35 to 250 BPM. Common uses of the metronome are helping you to maintain an established tempo while practicing, and learning difficult passages.
The first step in metronome use is to understand time signatures. Time signatures are found at the beginning of a musical piece, after the clef and the key signature. Time signatures (also called meter signatures) consist of two numbers. The top number indicates the number of beats in a measure, while the bottom number corresponds to the value of the beat. Most often, you will see 2, 3, 4 or 6 beats per measure. Beats are commonly half notes (the bottom number of the meter signature is “2”) or quarter notes (“4”) (the bottom number of the meter signature is “4”).
If you seem to have the technique under control you can “up the stakes” a little. You must remember, however, that if you seem to lose control of your tremolo at the higher speed you must bring it back down to a slower tempo again. Practiced this way, it will become secure and well controlled, just as it should be.
Remember, the Metronome is for more than just sitting in your yard