I have an ambivalent relationship with the metronome. We’ve had enough difficulties over the years that we eventually had to set some ground rules.
Still, the metronome (or its modern cousin, the smartphone app) is never far from my hand in the practice room. It’s one of the most important tools in my kit, in fact!
But I’ve seen metronome practice go so wrong for so many people that, in addition to laying out those Rules of the Metronome, I now feel compelled to go into detail about one of my favorite metronome techniques: Parallel Tracks.
This all comes from the sports world, and the concept of interval training. Instead of “working things up” with the metronome by starting slow and gradually increasing the tempo (which should be your technique of last resort), you constantly mix things up!
In this video, I’ll show you how I alternate between slow and fast tempi, and everything in between, keeping careful notes of my work. And what better piece could there be for a demonstration than Paganini’s Moto Perpetuo?
Before you dive in, I’d like for you to download a free companion worksheet for Parallel Tracks. That’s because you’ll want an easy summary of the method to keep by your side as you jump the tracks: