Finger Workout User Guide

Finger Workout™ User Guide

Use a Metronome!



Metronomes are a MUST!

An old wise man once told me (OK, he was actually a fairly young guy) that there are two kinds of musicians: Those who can keep time, and those who have never used a metronome. Get the picture?

I can't say it enough times, but I'll sure as hell try so here we go: USE A METRONOME. Did I mention that you should use a metronome? Oh and by the way, make sure to practice with a metronome.

If you think you're above it all and you always keep perfect tempo and you don't need no stinkin' metronome, think twice my friend. The human mind doesn't create time, it just perceives it, and therein lies the problem. When is the last time you checked a clock and noticed it was later than you expected? Hmmm. Why does time seem to slow down when sitting through a boring lecture? Have you ever lost track of time? Why does "time fly" when you're having fun?

Here's the answer friends: Time is constant. Your perception of it is not constant. In fact it's all over the place. The problem can be compounded when we start talking about small, repetitive intervals of time... for example something along the lines of say..... MUSIC! It is not only possible, but quite normal for a person to perceive or imagine a steady tempo - and feel certain that it's right on target - when in fact their mind is simply giving off information bad information. The information is skewed because it's coming from your own perception and your own interpretation - instead of reality.

When you begin to throw in other factors, like being nervous on stage or in the studio. Or playing with other musicians who's own sense of tempo might not be that great, then you are really screwed. The answer? Practice locking your brain on to precise, machine driven tempos by using a metronome. Your sense of timing will develop for the better. That's why we have metronomes in the first place folks.

Just take my word for it... from a guy who's been playing in bands and studios for over 20 years. There was a time when I thought I "had rhythm" and didn't need to practice my timing. I was wrong. Eventually I gave in and took the advice of a player that I respected, and I started practicing with a metronome. I got into the habit of using it a lot. I would even let it play in the background when I wasn't practicing, and just let my brain "lock in" while I was busy with something else (which by the way is surprisingly beneficial). Long story short, it truly did make a big difference in my development as a musician. To this day, I am known as someone with "good rhythm" when I play along with other musicians. (and I still play with a metronome)

So you can "train your brain" to keep better time, and it's very easy to do. The first step is admitting that you are not perfect. From there, it's a simple matter of bringing the metronome into your practice arsenal. Learn to love it, and it will love you back. :)

OK, you've convinced me that a metronome is important... but I thought we were here to develop our finger dexterity... what does that have to do with tempo?

Good question, and I have 2 good answers.

1) When the drill sergeant tells you to drop and give him 20, he doesn't mean 10 now and 10 after lunch... you know what I mean? When doing the exercises, your fingers don't just need to move, they need to move with some kind of required expectation, or you're really just wandering aimlessly. This is a physical exercise. Tempo gives us a precise structure that we need in order to know if we are successfully completing the exercise or not. If we can't play the pattern correctly at the current tempo, then we need to dial down a little bit and try it slower.

2) Tempo is one of the measuring sticks to your progress. Get used to the phrase "BPM" or "beats per minute." Because when you track your progress on an exercise, you are going to include the BPM that you used on your metronome for that practice session. Think of the satisfaction you'll get from mastering an exercise at 100 BPM, when you know you difficulty with it at 40 BPM the first time you tried it! Without a metronome, this type of progress tracking would not be possible.


We've Even Supplied a Metronome For You

If you don't already have a metronome (shame on you), fear not. We have supplied one for you online, free to all members. You can access it from the members area. It uses Flash so you'll need to make sure you have a Flash enabled browser.

Also, read the disclaimer below. Unfortunately we can make no guarantees, warranties or promises about your attempted use of the online metronome. It should work for most of you if you have a broadband connection, but no promises.


Finger Workout Online Metronome Disclaimer

DUE TO THE VARIATION AND UNCERTAINTY REGARDING INTERNET DELIVERY OF DIGITAL SOUND, FINGERWORKOUT.COM MAKES NO GUARANTEES, WARRANTIES OR ASSURANCES THAT THE ONLINE METRONOME WILL FUNCTION PROPERLY FOR YOU. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE FOR A METRONOME WHERE ACCURACY OF TIMING IS CRITICAL TO PERFORMANCE.

THESE VARIATIONS INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO YOUR GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION, INTERNET CONNECTION SPEED, QUALITY OF YOUR DIGITAL SIGNAL, AND THE SPEED AND CONFIGURATION OF YOUR COMPUTER ETC.

IF YOU FIND THAT THE ONLINE METRONOME IS NOT WORKING WELL FOR YOU, OR YOU HEAR "GLITCHES" DURING PLAYBACK, WE RECCOMMEND THAT YOU PURCHASE A REAL METRONOME. YOU CAN VISIT OUR RESOURCES PAGE FOR GEAR SITES WHERE YOU CAN PURCHASE A METRONOME ONLINE. PERFECTLY GOOD METRONOMES CAN BE HAD FOR LESS THAN $20.



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