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Jazz Sax Lessons: Practicing: Using a Metronome

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[MUSIC]
Okay,
hello again.
We've already talked a lot about we've
already used the metronome a whole bunch
with written scales, written exercises,
not written exercises,
all kinds of different things.
And I hope I've driven the point
home strong enough that when you're
practicing you wanna make sure you're
always practicing with your metronome.
Whenever you're playing anything
metronomic for lack of a better word.
But I wanna take the exercise
one step farther,
the exercise of using your metronome and
talk about
just the overall advantages and
different ways to use it frankly.
So whenever we're practicing,
we wanna make sure we're aware of the fact
that it is actually harder to practice
with the metronome than it is without.
When you're practicing without the
metronome, whenever you're playing without
the metronome,
you're free to do whatever you wanna do.
It's a lot easier to play perhaps
it takes you a little longer
to make the register break.
I just played a G scale from C to D for
instance.
Or maybe your fingers without even
knowing it, are going really fast or
too fast from, say, E to F sharp or
F sharp to G or anywhere.
Everybody's different.
Everybody's gonna have different issues.
So it's gonna be much harder to
play that same scale, for instance,
with the metronome, where you have to make
sure you're justifying everything you're
playing with the metronome and
that everything is exactly even.
As you can see,
I've got my metronome here sets.
It's also my phone.
Yeah, I've got it set at 120 and
here we go,
I'm gonna turn it on, play the same scale.
[SOUND]
[MUSIC]
There we go.
Cool.
So drummers in the studio will
refer to really nailing the beat of
a metronome as burying the click.
You're burying it.
And for our purposes, yeah,
you wanna nail that click.
But you don't wanna bury the sound.
You wanna be able to hear
the sound because If you're
burying the click on the metronome, that
means your metronome isn't loud enough.
You wanna be playing with it.
You're training yourself to play
with a drummer, with a bass player,
with whoever is playing rhythm in
the band that you're playing with.
And so, if you can't hear the drums on
a stage, if you can't hear the drums you
either have to get closer to the drums or
have the drums turned up in your monitor,
or as an incredible last resort,
ask the drummer to play louder.
That's really a problem.
But anyway, make sure that you can
hear your click, hear your metronome.
Another thing about metronome that is,
less obvious but equally important
is that it helps you develop your own
internal clock, your own sense of time.
So if I play a little
funky idea in A minor.
[MUSIC]
Tick
tick
ding
tick tic
ding.
So I'm feeling, I'm feeling bump
bump bump bump bum bum bum inside.
That is from a lot of
practicing with my metronome.
I'm so use to it,
it almost becomes on second nature.
When I'm practicing in my studio and
my wife comes in and
has something to say to me,
I look up and say, yeah honey what's up.
And she'll say something for minute and
suddenly she'll stop and say, turn that
thing off, and it takes me a second to
realize of my metronome is still on.
I don't even realize it.
So that's a good place to be.
Doesn't sound like it's a good place
to be, but it's good to have your
metronome going so often and so much
that it does become sorta second nature.
And you know nobody's time is perfect but
it is a great idea to
think about developing your inner
sense of time and your inner clock.
Ok.
So there's different ways
of setting your metronome
to practice things like I just did.
We've been practicing on all
kinds of lessons in this school.
My scales, my exercises, even my long
tones we've been doing together.
Hopefully with the metronome.
So as far as just playing freely or
improvisations or whatever,
you can set your metronome the way I
have it where it's set on every beat.
I could slow it down to where I'd be
playing at half notes, so let's bring it
down to 60 like that, so that same
tempo 120 but only in half notes.
Boom and one and two [SOUND] so
if I play again I'm just
gonna goof around a little
bit in my key of A minor.
The
[MUSIC]
So
check
that
out.
Right at the end there,
I got way ahead and so
that's a good lesson to learn that when
you play that tempo, it's or that.
If you set your metronome
at only two what was that,
two beats per bar, or half time,
whatever, it's way harder.
So in that case you wanna make sure
that either your subdividing in
your head when you're doing it.
Because I guarantee you,
I'm doing it here in my lesson.
I wanna say almost intentionally,
but I definitely got ahead.
But if I'm gonna do it you
might be doing it as well.
So it's good practice to do that because
you end up subdividing in your head.
Meaning that you're creating a click
in your head between the clicks on
the metronome and that's good.
It's a good thing to do because we're
always subdividing even at a faster tempo.
If it's set at 120, one, well let's do it.
So if I set this back at 120.
Oops.
There we go.
[SOUND] That might even be slow for
what you're playing, and
you might be thinking one and two and
three and four and one and two.
That's called subdividing, you're dividing
each beat on the metronome in half.
That's great, it's good practice.
But I think it's better in
theory than actual practice.
I think it's better to set
the metronome at a faster tempo so
you can feel those pulses more often so
you're not almost guessing.
Or you're not having to
create those subdivisions.
So the other thing too which is really
great which is to set your metronome on
the up beat.
So if you're playing something like
more swing oriented where the beat is on
two and four.
You wanna be used to that because
a lot of times if a drummer
is playing along it's the two,
four, and one.
A two, that's why in jazz we snap
our fingers on two and four.
One, two, one, two, three, four.
One, two [NOISE].
[NOISE] That's where our swing feels.
So if we think of that.
Let me slow this down.
[NOISE] So here we go.
One, two, one, two, three.
Two.
[MUSIC]
One,
a two,
like
that.
So that's great.
And if you're not used to that, if
you're not used to practicing on two and
four like that, it's a real challenge.
So, there you go.
I challenge you to do that.
And you know, like what I just
did is a great idea for you too.
Just to, it doesn't have to
be anything elaborate, but
pick one key, one chord, one tonal center.
Like what I just did was
playing just over A minor.
Hey, here we are,
we're multitasking again.
Look out, we're multitasking.
Where you're working on your tempo, and
you're working over you're using something
harmonic that you might be studying,
you might be studying a particular
chord or a particular scale.
You can do the same thing using
the notes of E phrygian and
that would be E Minor but
using that the F natural right?
So in doing that you're
working on your time and
you're working on your harmony
in that case modes as well.
There's some ideas as far as how
to practice with the metronome.
Do me a favor or well,
do us both favors, I guess.
Submit me a video.
Send me a video of you
playing with a metronome.
Just like I just did just there.
Or whatever you're doing
with the metronome.
So I can check you out and listen, and
see if I can hear the metronome
over your playing.
If I can't hear it, there's a good
chance that you can't hear it,
whether you perhaps realize it or not, and
sometimes we just can't tell if
we're really nailing the time.
So, it's a good way for me to keep on
you and let you know if you're on it or
perhaps you're a little ahead or
behind it, whatever.
So send me a video and I'll let you
know if we're on the good track.
All right, happy metronoming.
[MUSIC]