Step Two: Use a drone

Updated: Jul 31


Congratulations, you've started using a metronome! All of here at Good Rhythm, Inc. are proud of your efforts and your continued dedication to not messing up.

So you're playing everything in pretty good time now, but you still don't understand why you aren't getting the gig. Well do I have a solution for you! It's called TUNING. Only discovered recently by our R&D Department at our subsidiary company of Psychology: Why Do I Still Suck, LLC; tuning is a revolutionary way to make many of your faults disappear before your very own ears.

But how do I achieve this? Well with a drone of course! Well, its one of the ways. I'll discuss another way in a later post. So why should you use a drone? Drones are great for understanding difference between even tempered and well tempered pitch. For example on bass trombone, I use a Db when I practice the finale to Das Rheingold. Also, great way to firm up tuning in The Ride of the Valkyries is to use a B drone. A drone is helps aid where your pitch is off relative to the key center. While this isn't useful in all your practicing, identifying where you can use a drone helps train your ear, so when you can't really use a drone your ears will start picking up the nuances on their own and correct the tuning without you necessarily being conscience of the change. Or so we hope. Look, there are three things most musicians look for when they are filling jobs: Time, Tuning, Sound. You got those and you're in good shape to make some money as a musician.

But hold up, what do you mean even tempered and well tempered? Take a grand piano, all the keys on that instrument are evenly spaced so each half step is the same through all 88 keys. So that means there aren't any chords that are truly in tune (since you have to lower and raise 3rds, 5ths, 7ths, etc.) Where as in an larger ensemble (band, orchestra, chamber groups) you can use well tempered tuning and perfectly tune chords and dissonance so as to expertly create tension and release in the music.

So, use a drone and metronome and you'll have solved 2/3rds of the equation to being a better musician, and your music teacher will thank you. We are all getting tired of saying the same thing over and over about using a metronome and drone, we want to teach you music, not how to be a technician.


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©2020 by C.L. Behrens. Photos by Christopher M. Howard www.cmhoward.com