Our Frenemy- The Metronome

Let’s Begin with Some Acting!

Let’s begin by saying the following with a youthful, energetic, and eager voice.

  1. “Do we get to use the metronome now?”
  2. “When do we get to use the metronome?”

I don’t think I’ve ever had a student say that. I usually get a moan, or their body slumps over in defeat when I suggest trying again with a metronome.

Why does this happen? Why don’t people like to use the metronome?

Answer: because it tells you when you are wrong.

Not just once, but every single time. How long would you hang out with a friend who consistently pointed out your faults? It wouldn’t be fun. This is exactly what the metronome does.

Friend or Enemy?

Let’s take a positive look at this now. The metronome not only tells you when you’re wrong, but it will tell you when you are right- every time. When you’re locked in with the metronome, you can tell all is right in the world. You gain confidence and your skill level improves (friend). If you’re not locked in, your faults are pointed out- every time (enemy).


This is why the metronome is our frenemy. Webster’s dictionary defines frenemy as a blend of friend and enemy. Let’s look at the benefits you gain by making the metronome your friend:

  1. Develop an internal metronome (it’s really cool when this starts happening)
  2. Play with solid time (whether you’re playing for family or on a gig, this is essential. Who likes to sing or dance to an instrument that can’t keep time?)
  3. Your fingers learn to play evenly (playing evenly and slowly will increase how fast you can play notes on the saxophone)
  4. More musicians will want to play with you
  5. Gain confidence

Who’s Your Best Friend?

Can you begin to see why the metronome can be one of your best musical friends? The metronome always does its job, and if you pay attention to it, you’ll turn out on top- ahead of the pack. So start using the metronome (if you’re not), or keep on using it. You won’t regret it! Over time the metronome will slowly shift from being your enemy, to your friend- no more frenemy. And when that happens, your musical ability will soar!

Watch Out for Next Week!

Next week I’ll talk about specific ways to use the metronome while you practice. Follow these steps and you’ll maximize your results from your practice sessions.

Question- Is the metronome your friend or enemy right now? Feel free to answer in the comment section.

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