Your new best friend...
Practicing with a metronome is one of the most important exercises you can do but it is also essential that you develop your own internal time feel, which is what this App is designed for!
The Time Trainer app is a LOT MORE than a metronome. Yes it has all the features you need in a metronome: accent control, tempo, a flasher and a few different sounds, but it also contains 3 exciting tools to help you develop your time away from the metronome: Bar Breaks, Random Beat Drop and Speed Upper. It also has a specific iPad interface :)
This app was designed by me, for me - and you :) And I'm sure you find it as useful as I do!!
* please note that the Android version has a slightly different interface but same functions.
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Instructions for use!
Keeping time with a metronome is one skill... keeping your tempo solid when the metronome stops is a whole new game! I think this tool is one of the most useful you can use to help develop your "inner metronome" and it will greatly improve your tempo consistency (after plenty of practice of course). The goal is to be solid with your time when the clicks are muted (the metronome will keep going, you just won't hear it). You should still be perfectly in time when the clicks start again! One or two bars break will take concentration... if you can keep your time totally solid for eight bars and be perfectly in time with the click when it starts again then you are a master!
First set how many "Solid Start Bars" you have to get in the groove before the mute cycle begins. It's very important to have this time to get in the groove, especially when the working on longer bar breaks. You also set how many bars you will have of "Solid Time Bars" which will be followed by "Muted Time Bars".
The default settings are a good place to start - it will give you 4 "Solid Start Bars", followed by 3 "Solid Time Bars" and then 1 "Muted Time Bars".
Once you are confident that you can keep solid time for one bar and come in *perfectly* in sync with the click when they come back in, you might like to make the break 2 bars and as you feel confident with each break you can increase it. But don't rush it - you must get it really perfect or you will practicing making your time worse!!
If you select "Random Bar Mute", the "Random Bar Mute %" is active but the "Solid Time Bars" and "Muted Time Bars" will no longer function. When using this part of the trainer, the set percentage of bars will be randomly muted. This can keep it interesting and at high percentage settings will be very challenging.
To make the most from Bar Break you will probably want to work on your rhythm guitar: strumming, riffing and grooving. You could practice scales along, but you will want to be good with your rhythm first. I do use it for free jamming though, just jamming along improvising a solo and making sure I can hold the beat steady while I play across and around it, but this is a lot more challenging and should only be done when you feel uber confident playing rhythm through the bar breaks.
Random Beat Drop
Learning to play with the metronome is a very important skill. Perhaps the most important when you start working with one. Because of this we get used to the click being there and it feels real strange when it's not... so the idea of this exercise is to start muting some of the beats and develop your inner beat.
For most people (including me) it takes quite some practice before it feels normal, but it will really increase confidence in your time and you will find you play with the metronome beat, not be reliant on it!
Many times I have seen students chasing the click (waiting for it and then trying to play after it's gone) or trying to anticipate the click and rushing. It's important that you do neither! You should be playing alongside the metronome, it's helping you make sure YOUR time is good, like a pace runner, it's next to you to check against, but you really want to keeping your own groove.
You can use this two ways. With "Gradual" set to the off position, the "Beat Drop %" will consistently drop beats at the chosen percentage. This is a good way to start and get used to it.
To build your confidence turn "Gradual" to ON and set a practice duration in "Gradual Interval" (I most often have this set at 5 minutes). It will then gradually increase the muted beats up to the set percentage over the practice session. Doing this you would usually set the % higher than you would for regular practice.
You can use this tool with either rhythm or lead guitar or scale practice. The point is just getting confident with the groove so you don't get freaked out when the click is muted... the challenge is staying really 'locked in' with the metronome.
When practicing scales or technical exercises, I usually work for a set time (most often 5 minutes) and then every minute or two I have to stop and increase the speed of the metronome. I often wondered why nobody had made one that sped up automatically during a practice session... so I did!
The settings for this are pretty simple, a "Start Tempo", and "End Tempo" and a "Practice Duration". The metronome will start at the "Start Tempo" and gradually and evenly increase the speed during the practice session to the "End Tempo".
It is very important to practice things at a consistent tempo (possibly more important!) because that is what we want when we play. So don't overuse this Speed Up tool or you might find that your playing naturally always speeds up!
Using The Metronome
Playing with a metronome is an essential skill. When I meet a student that had a problem with rhythm playing or timekeeping, 9 times out of 10 they have not been working with a metronome.
Probably the most basic exercise is simply playing a scale with the metronome. I usually recommend using a major scale, and an intermediate player might start with the metronome set at 80 bpm and just playing one note for each click. Once this is mastered gradually increase the speed until it can be played perfectly at 160 bpm.
The rule I use for practice is that I don't put the tempo up until I can play whatever it is perfectly four times consecutively. No mistakes at all, four times in a row. If I can do that I'll move the metronome up a few bpm. Start by only moving it up no more than 5bpm at a time, but as you get to know your own learning curve you might move it more than that... or less!
Once you can play one note per click at 160 bpm, you should cut the tempo to 80bpm but play two notes per click. This is of course the same speed! Get used to the groove again because it feels a little different, and put the down pick on the click and the up pick in between. Slowly speed the metronome up again as you get things perfect four times in a row until you hit 160 again.
Now you will be playing 4 notes per click (16th notes) at 80bpm. Most people don't get into playing more than 4 notes per click but more advanced players might like to experiment with 5, 6, 7 or more notes per click.
Personally, I never got my speed much past 158 doing 4 notes per click, but many of the rock guys play way faster, so it's up to you to push your limits - but remember that you MUST PLAY PERFECTLY WHEN WORKING ON SPEED DEVELOPMENT or you will be practicing playing badly fast, deepening bad habits, which is just stupid!
A very important concept to be aware of is 'locking in', playing exactly with the metronome. If you play exactly with the click it almost disappears and it's then you'll know you are properly 'locking in' or 'in the pocket' as it's sometimes called.
Some of the true masters of rhythm and time say that there are 3 points to the metronome click, just before, right on and just ahead and that a good player should be able to play a note on any one of these places. This is hard core, and is one of the things I work on myself, it's possible to feel it when you really focus on it, but you have to be able to 'lock in' real well first before experimenting with this! the differences are miniscule, but this is the shizzle that matters when you are trying to perfect your groove!
If you have a question that is not answered below, please leave the question in the community forum (linked below), or contact Customer Services.
The metronome is not loud enough!
I have the problem too, with most metronomes, especially on the iPhone where the speaker is not very powerful. There are a couple of easy solutions, first and easiest is to use headphones or ear buds, just use one ear so that you can still clearly hear your instrument. The other option for acoustic guitar players is the rest the metronome in the curve on top of the instrument - but be careful because you don't want to risk your expensive phone being damaged if it falls on the floor!
How did you test the metronome's accuracy?
The apps I downloaded were tested in Pro Tools HD (at 96k, 96,000 samples a second) and the Time Trainer held sample accurate time for over 5 minutes at a range of tempos. Many of the ones I tested were nearly a whole beat out after 5 minutes... which is terrible, they shouldn't be selling them. Some were also completely out with the numbers, where you would set it at 140bpm, it would actually be closer to 120!! So be careful. The Android version is not quite 100% accurate due to the way the audio engine works, but it is so close that only computer analysis can tell (hundredths of a second variations).
There is no sound, why?
I've had a few emails from people that there is no sound coming out. So here is what to check if this is happening to you.
• First make sure that the hardware mute switch built into the side of the phone is not on (it's next to the volume buttons on left hand side of an iPhone, left side of an iPad). Check that you can't see any orange colour which shows that the phone is muted. To get sound this switch must be toward the screen (on iPhone) so no orange is showing. This has been the solution for 99/100 people that say they get no sound!!
• Next make sure you have not activated the mute button on the app screen.
• Make sure that the training mode is not on.
• Turn bluetooth off, if you regularly use a bluetooth speaker or earphone the sound might be coming through that!
• Use the volume +/- on the phone itself to turn it up to maximum (the volume slider in the app should move up too!)
You should now have sound. If not, please try deleting, restarting the phone and re-installing before running any other apps. If you still have no sound please contact Justin (with APP SUPPORT in the subject) and make sure you tell me what device you are using, the OS that you are running and exactly what is happening (and if you get sound from the headphones) and we'll look into it further.
Big thank you to Pawel and Bartek at Apreel for their hard work making this app so awesome!
If you need to ask a question about this lesson - there is a topic set up specifically to help you with this lesson. To help you find it easily you can click the following link and it will take you right the topic. You'll be able to see questions that other people had and ask your own questions! Hopefully one of the very helpful members of our community will be there to help you soon, I do go there and answer stuff too - but there are just too many questions for me to answer alone!