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How To Play Drums With A Metronome

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In this video Gabe Wilson helps you dial in your metronome for what you're playing with examples from well-known worship songs to help you get started with the fundamentals of playing on a metronome or click.

What's In This Session?
  • Introduction (0:00)

  • How to Setup Your Metronome (0:40)

  • Playing at 76 BPM on Quarter Note (1:54)

  • Setting Your Metronome to Eighth Note/Whatever Your Right Hand is Playing (2:30)

  • Doubling the Time of Your Tempo (3:00)

  • Playing at 76 BPM Eight Note/152 BMP Quarter Note (3:17)

  • Conclusions (5:55)

The Full Transcript
"Hey everybody, I'd like to talk to you about how to play with the metronome. Honestly, it's an essential tool for a drummer, and believe it or not, a lot of drummers out there are not playing with metronomes, even though every worship song you listen to on a record of quality is played to a metronome, and all the songs are mostly at a consistent tempo throughout. I first started playing drums when I was 2 years old, okay, and then I didn't end up playing to a metronome until my mid 20s. So it was a really long time where I played drums in my church and all that stuff, even without a metronome, and I wish I would have learned a lot sooner, because the tool is really really valuable. I want to talk to you about how to dial in your metronome for what you're playing, and I'll give you a few tempo examples from worship songs that are pretty common, that you'll recognize the drum grooves on. But everything will basically start with a very basic rock and roll beat, which most drummers know it's like this. so that basic groove right there that's your “boom check,” rock and roll groove - it’s like the first beat that most people learn when they set out to play with three of their limbs, right hand. left hand and right foot. Now, how do you keep that groove from drifting? Play with the metronome, first off - but the metronome is kind of a guide and a tempo map. So we're gonna start the metronome, I’m at 76 BPM, which is roughly the tempo of the song “Forever” from Kerry Jobe, and I've got the metronome going through my headphones. And you can practice at home, just like I'm doing, by just wearing headphones, and you can hear it now, that metronome right now is on a quarter note at 76 bpm. Believe it or not, this is gonna be a little bit challenging to sync up with it, here we go. When you're first getting this down, you'll notice that the metronome is half as fast as the hi-hat. My hi-hat is playing eighth notes and the metronome is playing quarter notes, and you heard me play and drift on the metronome right when I first jumped in. It was a little bit tricky to lock in with a quarter note metronome. So here's a little bit of a metronome hack for you: if you set the click the metronome to an eighth note, instead of a quarter note; in other words, if you set the metronome to what your right hand is playing, which would be an eighth note, right, then all of a sudden it's easier to lock in. So I'm gonna I'm gonna set my metronome to an eighth note. Now if you want to, you can also, instead of setting it to an eighth note subdivision, you can just double the time of your tempo. So if you're playing at 76 bpm, and you can't quickly determine how to switch the subdivision on your metronome, you just bump it up to 152, all right, here you go. Now you can hear that the metronome is more of like a hi-hat, it's gonna be much easier to lock in. Right, so much easier to lock in. Not only that, the really good thing about it is the other people in the band can lock in easy too. When that quarter-note click is happening, and it's really spacious, it's really easy for your worship leader to drift, especially acoustic guitar strum strum guys, or guys that are leading with the piano. If they can't hear that subdivision with you, they're gonna be cueing in off your hi-hat even more than your kick and snare sometimes. And a lot of times, people that are listening to the click track with you, or a metronome with you, they have that even louder than you. So even if you're trying to hold them in as best you can, that quarter note clicks gonna drive the tempo, and there's so much room to swim, so that's where the eighth note click comes in really, really handy, because it locks in with your right hand. Now you can take that into every tempo you want to, that's really fast, that’s a little bit quick, sometimes that can also cause worship leaders to drift, because they can't quite trace the exact subdivision. That's almost like more of a sixteenth note played at 142, and so much better. So if my right hands on the floor, much easier to lock in with that right hand click. So whether it's an eighth note, or a quarter note, you want to make sure that whatever the subdivision is, that your right hand is going to play what that metronome is set to. I would recommend that you practice at all times with the metronome; with your worship team, without your worship team, just at home on your own, if you're just kind of hanging out and you have nothing to do, and you want to just practice. You don't even need your kit. You just set your metronome on and you can play on your leg, play on a pillow, play on a rim, whatever you want to hear - just get your right hand used to playing with, you’re gonna play. Keep it to a click and it'll serve you well as you grow as a drummer"