Practising with a metronome.


Senior Member
I've ALLWAYS had problems with playing to &in&with various tempos during my drumming years.Even now as i'm learning NEW original material&having difficulties&trouble both keeping&playing along to&in time.NONE of my previous drum teachers mentioned nor made me practice along to&with one.SO for a complete beginner&novice as far as working with a metronome WHAT are the BEST way to practice with one interms of excercises?,
How when practising do i know i'm in time with&playing along with it&how do i know when i'm NOT?.
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Silver Member
I would start by tapping along with it on a table or even tap on your leg. I always subdivide at slow tempos. If you are playing at 60bpm count out loud 1e+ah 2e+ah and so on while tapping along with the click. At faster tempos say 80bpm and up, start counting 1+ 2+ 3+ 4+while tapping along with the metronome. Another good exercise is play on a pad and set the tempo between 60 and 100bpm, go from quarter notes to eighth notes to sixteenth notes, and count out loud. Mostly everything played to a click is a drum beat, the hi hat or said constant in the drum beat is usually subdivided. Thats why I mentioned the above exercises. As far as playing to a click with a band, you will find out real fast if the band is actually following you or just trying to find there own tempo, which makes it very difficult to keep with the click, and everything sounds out of sync. If the band is playing together as a unit the click should not be an issue. Thats my take on it for learning how to play with a click. Like anything else, it takes time and practice. Im quite certain there will be better answers to your question on this thread.

The Black Page Dude

Senior Member
Honestly there is no "best" way start .. the point to a metronome is to learn to play to a device that plays perfect metric time, thusly teaching you how to develop an internal meter.

In the beginning this is incredibly frustrating as a metronome is completely honest. It becomes your best friend and your worst enemy. It won't lie to you or stroke your ego.

Once you have worked with it enough you will realize that there are two kinds of time .. quantized (perfect) and human (imperfect). The latter is what makes beautiful music.

To start I would get a copy of Stick Control and start with the first page. Start at 72bmp ... once you have mastered all exercises on page 1 at 72bpm, bump up your bpm by 10. Repeat until you get to 142 bpm and flip to page 2.

After that all it takes is the rest of your life to develop your meter .. but it is an awesome ride.


Platinum Member
I might get a bit of guff for this, but usually when I'm working with a click, I try to remember that the important part is usually the 1. I've heard people obsess with trying to bury each beep of the metronome and stopping when they hear a "flam" between a note and the click beep assuming the passage must be scrapped... Not so. I think usually the message that the click is more like a guide than a restriction gets lost in the teaching translation. That also sort of goes along with being able to push/pull around the beep... Also important to retaining "feel" when using a metronome.


Silver Member
bonzo, check out Mattr Patella using stick control and metronome.. He's old school and knows his stuff:

Matt is very informative and has great exercise techniques for various subjects.

Also, if you have an android app, check out: Metronomerous
You can ramp up and down, turn clicks on and off within measures.

hope this helps..


First off I've always heard you shouldn't hear the metronome(drum stroke should cancel out the sound) when practicing to it.

I used to struggle with playing to a metronome as well, and sometimes I still do. It's all about knowing what you are playing, and being comfortable. I spent a lot of time trying to fix this, and i'm still working on it after about 3 years, trying to reprogram my internal clock. I also felt I had to retrain the way I played each drum stroke. For this Jojo Mayer's explanation of "dribbling" the drumstick as well as being able to hear the stick's ring (to know your not squeezing) really helped.

There is a drummer named Benny Grebb who has a video called "The Language of Drumming". It's probably helped me more than anything else, I highly recommend it. If nothing else the dvd is just awesome to watch and Benny is a beast behind the kit.

If you google "Benny Greb Alphabet" you'll see a few pictures explain it. But from my basic understanding you basically have two common rhythms: Binary (2's...though i think of it in 4's...not sure if it's correct way or not) and Ternary (3's).

This concept kind of blew my mind when I started using it haha. You should really go check out his dvd he will explain it 100 times better than I can. I've been taking this idea and applying it all over my kit in as many ways as I can come up with (especially with double bass).

Here is my attempt at explaining it:

So most commonly you'll see scores in 4/4(common) time signature. Now you can set your metronome to 4/4 and just play 1 2 3 4 or R L R L very easily. But the idea of the "alphabet" is that we have what he calls "letters" and from what I understand the idea is that playing just quarter notes in 4/4 you have i think it's like 15 (i could be wrong) options to either put 4 quarter notes in there, or 3 quarter notes and a quarter rest, 2 quarter notes and 2 quarter rests, 1 quarter note and 3 quarter rests, or 4 quarter rests.

From that theory we can play many different things. I'll just use 'S' to symbolize a snare and an 'x' for a rest to make this a little easier to type out...

[4 quarter notes]
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

[3 quarter notes]
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
S S S x

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
S S x S

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
S x S S

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
x S S S

[2 quarter notes]
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
S S x x

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
x S S x

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
x x S S

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
S x S x

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
x S x S

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
S x x S

[1 quarter note]
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
S x x x

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
x S x x

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
x x S x

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
x x x S

[0 quarter notes]
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
x x x x

These are just the binary(2's or 4's) patterns. There is also the Ternary(3's):

| 1 | 2 | 3 |
S x x

| 1 | 2 | 3 |
x S x

| 1 | 2 | 3 |
x x S

I think you should get the picture by now. He calls each on of these patterns a "letter". But all you do is shift where you put each note at(just like a 4 bit number if you actually know Often to practice this instead of just playing on a snare or pad, I'll play a simple ostinato with my hands, for example, your standard four quarter notes on the hi-hats and a snare on 3 rock beat. Practice moving the bass drum around from starting on the first beat to starting on the second, then to the first and second, then to the first and fourth(personally ends up being my favorite the majority of the time) and so on. But don't just stop at quarter notes, I often do 8th notes or triplets for instance i'll play:
1-trip-let 2 + 3 + 4 +
1 2+3 4
1 2 3+4 etc...

Technically you can take this and apply it to 5/4 or 6/4 or 7/4 or w/e you want to as well. I feel it's a SUPER powerful practice routine and it has endless possibilities. I noticed when I went to start learning cover songs I kept running into these exact same patterns (just like Benny explained you would). I started seeing use of it everywhere regardless if the person who wrote it was conscious of it or not. For instance if you look at the para diddles section in Stick Control, you'll notice he's shifting them over 1 beat each time.

Also if you took a drum beat you know well in 4/4 and just moved the hi-hat's around and kept the bass and snare exactly where they are at, you would have just played 15 different drum beats. If you wanna get real complicated you can start moving the snare as well as the hi-hats around while keeping the bass the same. Then there is the rest of the drumset, which leaves us countless options to choose from.

Honestly I feel I could spend a lifetime playing around with this idea in just 4/4 itself, and adding in other time signatures makes me wish we lived a thousand year lifetime (at least) so I could try to learn everything!

As far as the metronome goes, I feel like taking this stuff and using what I've read Alan Dawson had his students do, also helped me get comfy with different rudiments and drum beats and learning to play them to a metronome. Basically learn the rhythm WITHOUT a metronome first. Play it while you count out loud. Then learn to play it (and count it) from a slow tempo, slow as in it feels like your dragging your feet with each stroke, up to as fast as you can play it flawlessly and hold it for about 4 times through and then slowly bring it back down. But don't speed up/slow down until your through the 1 bar then speed up then play another bar then speed up and so on, same thing slowing down. Add the metronome in when your confident you can play the beat correctly just by counting out loud or tapping your foot.

Alan Dawson also developed the Rudimental Ritual which is super helpful in my opinion as well. I'd highly recommend checking that out too. There is a website made after him simply called

Benny Grebb points out that playing an instrument is like speaking a language. If you don't know your alphabet or you don't know what each word means when you go to speak, then you and everyone around you doesn't have a clue what your trying to say and it comes out as gibberish and people think your insane. Which is just like playing to a metronome. If you have a metronome set to 4/4 and your jamming a long and suddenly you notice the click is in the wrong spot and your like "wait what happen?! did i change the beat or wtf?!". This happened to me a LOT! I discovered I was actually trying to play beats that were not in 4/4 but were often in 15/16 or 7/8. I didn't realize this until after I started writing out drum beats, which i only learned because i was so frustrated not being able to stay in time.

I hope this can lead you to the answer your looking for. I feel like there is even more to be written but this is plenty long enough for now. I'm not even confident this is helpful to you. Anyways enjoy practicing!


Senior Member
You can save yourself a lot of pain and time if you will do 2 things. 1) Learn to read 2) get your basic sticking method nailed along with the reading. It took me 16 weeks to nail it, and playing with a click is ridiculously easy now.

I never got over 60bpm when I was learning to read, and often just did the exercises at 40 or 50. We used the book 'Understanding Rhythm, A Guide To Reading Music' It was one of the most valuable things I ever did as a musician.