My original opinion on this topic was unequivocal. I would never use a metronome under any circumstances in my teaching except to consult for overall tempo. The expression, to be “ticked off” summed up my attitude toward the robotic beat counter.
Setting the wand to any magic number created a despairing search for the downbeat that eluded me when trying to keep up with it. As Thoreau would say, I was marching to the beat of a different drummer.
For students who had endlessly strained and struggled to play five finger step-wise warm-ups, subdividing quarters into 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and, I would tell them countless times that there was hope beyond the bounds of the ticking timer. The beat would eventually flow out of the unconscious, when the player allowed it to “breathe.”
In truth, the metronome cannot breathe or allow for a tempo rubato, the…
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