STOP using the Metronome - Do this instead

The Dr. Beat and the Long Ranger; a familiar combo in any Drum Corps rehearsal field and most High School Marching Band and Indoor Percussion ensembles.  While I strongly advocate its use to develop consistency in timing and the rhythmic interpretation of spaces in between notes, what's the point of using a Metronome if you don't even know where the beat is relative to what you are playing?

Oh and I don't mean, kinda knowing where the beat is...  

I don't mean, at least knowing where count "1" is at the start of every measure...  

I don't mean identifying what note has the beat but you can't time it with when your feet hit the ground while marching or marking time...

I don't mean having the downbeats in your hands, the feet timing of your marching and the clicks you hear from the metronome being KINDA aligned...

I MEAN, do you KNOW exactly where the beat is?  If not, turn the metronome off when you practice and yes, I'm being absolutely serious.

I always look at tempo from a few different spectrums: 

First of all, is your internal tempo aligned?  If it was, the downbeats you play with your sticks, feet and your brain would all be perfectly aligned....or at least close to perfect as possible...and I mean REALLY close!

Now that your tempo is aligned, the question shifts to everyone else you are playing with.  Are their internal tempos aligned?  If so, it is so much EASIER to play together with these individuals.  If it's not, you'll find it extremely challenging.

Finally, is your internal tempo aligned with the internal tempo of the other musicians you are playing with and is THAT aligned with an external tempo source like the a Drum Major or a Metronome?  If so, you can certainly build a sense of consistent time much more effectively together.

Until then, turn off the metronome, align your internal sense of tempo and take your time in learning this before you turn it back on!

I certainly have more ideas about how you can work on building your sense of time without a metronome and I made some videos about it.  Simply click the "LEARN MORE" button for access!

Karl Arrieta