Let's start with being honest: when I was learning the piano and beginning to use the metronome to help keep a steady beat I thought it was much more frustrating than helpful!
But as I kept at it, practicing smaller sections with the focus of attempting to play to each "click", one day it finally clicked and over the years of playing a multitude of pieces with the metronome, it's become almost second nature.
To this day, I still practice select pieces with the metronome to ensure I'm playing at the tempo the composer intended his piece to be, as well as keeping myself in check with the various rhythmic patterns.
Some students have already been introduced to this wonderful - yet can-be frustrating- tool, and I'm noticing that more and more students are ready to use the metronome with their pieces.
Parents have asked what to buy and what is best and most cost effective, so this post is to address the types of metronomes out there and my personal recommendations based on experience using the various options available (all prices are in Canadian dollars & current listed retail price) :)
Let's start with the MOST BASIC Metronome:
Korg Digital Metronome
- Model: MA1
- retail: $24.99
Review: a low price point, and it does the job. But if you're always playing and using the metronome, it can become overly time consuming pressing the up/down buttons adjusting the number -one at a time. I like how it allows for multiple click-track options including a single tone. It does take batteries, so take this hidden cost into consideration! Batteries are expensive and not the most environmentally friendly.
Seiko Quartz Metronome
- Model: SQ50-V
- retail: $51.50
Review: A step up from the Korg digital! I like the simplicity of this model, and how easy it is to use. The musician is also able to change the tempo much more quickly, simply by twisting the front dial to the desired number. This does also take batteries though, so keep in mind the hidden long-term cost, and not being environmentally friendly.
- Model: Taktell Piccolo
- Retail: $54.99
Review: This is the metronome I have been recommending most to students who are beginners and early intermediate. It is an affordable price point with long-term savings as it is entirely run on internal mechanisms (no batteries!) Kids love this metronome because it's available in a rainbow of different colour choices so they can choose their favourite ;) The swinging of the pendulum is also helpful for the visual learner. Very straight forward and easy to use. The only tricky part may be figuring out the location of the key to wind it up (located on the front, mid-right. the key just pulls out and you gently screw it into the opening on the right side of the metronome). This metronome, properly cared for, would last a very long time.
- Model: Mahogany Matte Finish
- Model: Walnut Matte Finish
- Retail: $150.00
Review: For adults! or the very passionate student showing consistent practice ;) It works the same as the Piccolo, but with a beautiful wooden finish, it also accentuates the piano as a beautiful visual piece. Not that you should buy a metronome just to sit there and look at. During the first 5 or so years (maybe more!) of taking piano lessons, I remember borrowing a Wittner metronome with some type of wooden finish, to use during my practices. I remember enjoying the visual swing of the pendulum as it gave me a warning of when the next beat would occur or how much time I had left to fit in the group of eighth or sixteenth notes. This metronome would last a lifetime.
(please note: Wittner has a range of other finishes not mentioned in this particular post)
- Model: LM-FB-4
- Retail: n/a - a recent search has noted that Franz metronomes are no longer available in stores as the company has gone out of business.
Review: I'm assuming I showed great potential growing up with piano lessons because I received a Franz metronome later in my years as a gift from my parents. My piano teacher owned a Franz as well. I love the ease and quickness of using this metronome and the options of turning the click on and off. The light at the top is also helpful as a visual -but I would only recommend this metronome to the seasoned musician, as an innate feel for rhythm needs to have been developed first with the Wittner. The only downside with this, is that it requires an electrical outlet for power which incurs hidden costs.
I hope this post has been helpful and that it will help you decide on the right metronome fit for you, or your child! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and ask. I'm happy to help as much as I can :)