The Metronome

The Metronome

The metronome is a dangerous, highly over-rated beast.  It tends to desensitize the soul and destroy one’s relationship with the work being studied and even with the piano itself.  How many aspiring pianists have been turned off to the study of music itself by an over-insistence on the metronome, finger exercises and rote practice!  Czerny wrote hundreds upon hundreds of finger studies that are still forced upon student pianists the world over.  I’m thankful for his work with the young Franz Liszt and his link to Beethoven, but as for the studies, better off burned.

The metronome, however, if used occasionally for certain purposes, can have real benefits.  Its main use is as a purifying agent.  Although great music-making is not metronomic, it does have pulse.  And too much freedom with the pulse or its negation completely can destroy otherwise logical phrasing and well-laid-out architecture.  A metronome can remind you how far your liberties have taken you and correct your intuition. 


When the mind is perfectly clear,

what is is what we want.”

~ Byron Katie


You are a slave of intuition, and intuition of habit.  If you get in the habit of slouching, you’ll begin to believe that slouching is natural and sitting upright unnatural.  Sometimes a reminder of Richter’s “it just is” brings you back to center and re-solidifies pulse.