The ability to stay on beat may be one of the less sexy elements of being a professional musician, but it’s certainly one of the most important. Rhythm comes more naturally to some people than others, but no one’s perfect all the time. This is why the metronome was invented. Modern technology now allows us to carry a metronome with us at all time via smartphone apps. Because of this, there’s no reason for bands not to take advantage of this helpful tool, especially if they’re struggling to keep their sound on the rails.
What are the best metronome apps?
There are hundreds of online metronome apps available on the App Store and Google Play. Finding the best one can be a daunting task. Though most, if not free, cost only a dollar or two, can still add up if you want to try a bunch before you settle on the right one. Here’s our breakdown of some of the best metronome apps for iPhone and Android.
Best metronome free apps:
- Pro Metronome, (android or IOS) packed with extensive customization options and boasting a simple and intuitive visual design, consistently ranks at the top of the list for free metronome apps. Although the paid version brings more complex rhythms to the table, the free version has all the functionality most musicians require.
- Steinway Metronome offers an interface that you can personalize (a fun, if not terribly useful feature) and time signature customization. Designed by the famed piano makers, this app receives rave reviews from users.*At the time of this edit, this app was not available in our area for IOS nor android.
Best metronome paid apps:
- Metronomics – $4.99 (android or IOS)
- Dr. Betotte – $19.99 (IOS only) is a high-end metronome app that packs a large number of features to earn its relatively high price. If you frequently experiment with funky and unusual rhythms, you may want to shell out for this app.
When to use a metronome
Does your band routinely get off track during rehearsals or performances? Using a metronome at practice is a great way to address the problem. While it can feel reflexive to blame the drummer, anyone in the band can get off tempo. Adding a metronome is a positive way to work towards a solution without casting blame on an individual bandmate.
To ensure everyone’s timing is on point, most bands find it beneficial to practice with a metronome regularly before a recording session. Some musicians also like to record their rehearsals and then play the songs back along with a metronome to pinpoint the exact spot where the timing started to slip.
To use a metronome with the band, you can either feed the click track through the monitors for everyone to hear, or use it for the drummer alone. Drummers can play the metronome through an earpiece which, in addition to sound, allows the drummer to follow along with vibrations or visual cues.
There are many ways to make use of a metronome app in your band and most musicians can benefit from using one. However, be sure you don’t become reliant on it — use of a metronome should never take place of the instrumentalists being able to keep their own time!