The metronome is a pretty useful tool. At a workshop, jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas said he gave up practicing with a metronome because it’s too mechanical and he felt rhythm and beat was more organic, less mechanical and unyielding. I get that, and agree, but I’ve found the metronome to be useful for especially challenging passages that have to get up to performance tempo.
Whatever your philosophy about metronomes, you’ll be able to appreciate Alem’s masterful playing with beat in the video below. He also uses silence well. Super creative. Très bon!
Beatboxing can be a fun and productive way for you to practice your feel of the beat if you’re without your instrument or just want to change things up a little.
Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.