Jeff Berlin response to below comment thread on metronomes

It’s complete and total war, my friends. Asked Jeff for his take on the comment thread and this was his response. I told him I had profound disagreements with much of this, and he replied that “It is a point of view to be discussed (as opposed to disgust).” Have at it.

The idea of practicing is to learn, not to perform. But, playing with a metronome insists that one performs, not learns! This makes it an anti-academically friendly device since the study of anything new is best done out of time, not in it! Example: try and learn a new language “in-time”!

Secondly, I almost have never met a player/teacher who didn’t confuse learning with art. They are not the same principles and do not require the same approach. This means that you don’t learn how to play the same way that you play. In academic practicing, one has no need to practice in metronomic time, no reason whatsoever. It is a popular belief and it is a myth. Most teachers do not separate learning from performing in their lessons which is why so many players really aren’t getting much better. Just realize that in art, every great player on every instrument who got their time and feel didn’t get it from a metronome.

And lastly, name any new experience anywhere that requires the learning of that thing in time. Even a child’s first steps, or cooking a new recipe, or one’s first driving lessons are all “out of time”. If this is so, and if everything that is learned is best learned out of time, then why do some musicians go against the same logic that applies to everything else? Metronomes have no history of helping one play in time because the moment that a conductor waves his baton, or the drummer plays his first beat, the entire metronome lessons is now negated, replaced by a HUMAN approach to time and feel. Here is proof! No musician in Africa, no musician in South America, no ethnic group anywhere in the world, no regional band, nobody anywhere on Earth learned how to feel music and play it in time by using a metronome. If just about everything on Earth does not require an in-time apprenticeship to learn how to do well, then why would a musician try to push a principle that has no precedence in anything else that is learned in-time.

Thanks for reading.

An ad from Metronome Magazine: