Learning rhythm from the metronome visual indicator

Various lessons advise listening to the metronome, but I’ve noticed that I find it much easier to develop the right tempo by looking at the visual indicator of the metronome. However, this approach requires learning to play without looking at the guitar even before basic tempo practice.
I’m wondering if anyone uses the same method or has noticed similar effects?


Try to drop this, relying on visual cues is a bad habit and will hold you back. It is easier now because humans are visual dominant. But music is about hearing the beat, not seeing the beat. Use your ears.


Yes, I try. Controlling the tempo visually and through foot tapping is more difficult than just visually, but easier than through clicking the metronome and foot tapping

I thought about this, but the tempo acquired with visual learning is also maintained when I start listening to the metronome instead of looking at it

When you play along to original recordings or play together with others, you won’t have (many) visual cues. You should be working on listening to the metronome instead of looking at a screen (I guess you’re talking about a metronome app).

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I can only agree…learn to HEAR the beat, learn to tap to the beat, learn to FEEL the beat inside. Close your eyes and try to find the beat in a song. Try to anticipate inside when the next beat is going to come. A drummer or a bass player in a band you’re playing with won’t have a screen with visual indicator for you :wink:.

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Perhaps it is better to start with a visual clue and move on to listening to beats as soon as possible… Because starting with listening to the beats has almost no results for me, but after the visual indicator I am also better oriented to the beats itself

Have you tried the following: first, without strumming, just count on the beat without looking at the metronome (1, 2, 3, 4, 1 2, 3, 4; repeat), then while still counting add “and” between each number (1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and), and then once you have that going fine, try adding strumming on muted strings and get used to it before transferring it to trying to play a song? Also, without looking, maybe try “being one” with the metronome as though your arm is what’s making the metronome noise.

Some things can seem easier in the short term, but can be harder in the long term if they develop bad habits that are hard to break. I think using the metronome as a visual cue when you need a higher bpm (i.e. 130 while counting an and between each beat) would become more difficult too. Also, if you’re using Tab or some other method to read what you’re playing, it could be difficult to read it and watch the metronome, especially in songs with frequent chord changes or individual notes being played. I think it’s common to not be in sync with the metronome at first, but with practice, you will get it. :slight_smile:


Sometimes even the drummer has to rely on visual clues :wink:
The Beatles’ Ringo Starr Would Watch ‘John [Lennon]’s A**’ to Keep Time When He Couldn’t Hear Over Screaming Fans (cheatsheet.com)


@OpsRes :joy: :+1:

Artur, your post is timely - I found myself doing just this last night! I was working on a song that I know pretty well, trying to improve timing and strumming. I found myself losing track of the metronome and playing increasingly quickly, no matter how loud I set the beeps. Like you, I tried looking at the metronome UI to keep pace, and like you I found it was much easier.

That said, I completely agree with the advice folks have been giving. My sense was that looking at the metronome would become a crutch that would be difficult to break.

I’ve recently learned to type on a keyboard that does not use the latin alphabet. Memories of learning to type in high school - no letters on the keyboard, typing patterns over and over - made me lazy, and I resorted to placing a template on my latin keyboard and looking at it while I type. Predictably, I can type pretty well looking at the keyboard, but not at all without looking. I’m fearful I’ll fall into the same situation if I keep looking at the metronome. Just my $0.02!

Counting on the metronome without strumming is an interesting idea, as is trying to “be one” with the metronome. And it’s a lot easier than playing to the beat. I don’t know how it will affect song play, but I will definitely try it.

I just tried to beat the rhythm on 130 bmp, using the metronome as a visual cue and by sound. The first one is easier. And I can easily memorize tabs by heart, as well as chord sequences.
But anyway, thanks for the advice

I think there is still a compromise solution: first practice with visual cues and then move as quickly as possible to listening to the beat.
But maybe the solution Melody_Mosaic gave is more productive. It is better to try different options and find out what is best

Yup, agreed! I’ll be working on that! :blush:

You’re missing the point. You don’t see music you here it. Anyways, have fun with that! :slight_smile:

Yes, looking at the Time Trainer screen definitely helps me with working out strumming patterns… for each section of the circle I can visualise if there I want only the downstrum on the beat or only the up strum or both…it’s way easier like this, the hand keeps on moving and I can play the patterns in time. Once I get into the feeling of the pattern, I don’t look at the screen anymore. Also it is fun to switch to different patterns within the same practice session.

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I don’t really understand why you’re asking this question. Pretty much everyone is telling you to practice and master listening to the beat, yet you’re still pushing back and claiming your method is fine. I’m not sure why you would ask the advice of others, some of which are very experienced, if you’re not willing to take it. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

The long and short of it is that everything is hard if you’re not used to doing it, and the only way to get used to doing it is to DO it. As JK said right at the start, visual seems easier because we are naturally so reliant on our vision. To be a good musician you need to get used to using something else, and the sooner you get down to it rather than making excuses, the better. After a couple of weeks of dedicated practice when hearing the rhythm comes naturally to you, you’ll be asking yourself why you ever tried to use visual cues in the first place.


I review all of the advice, but many of it is obvious and provides no additional information. I, so far, am not giving up on the current method because I see its effectiveness. However, if the method Melody_Mosaic mentioned is better, I will use it. I have not yet had time to compare these approaches in practice.

And in my experience in any training the right approach is often more important than the effort and amount of time spent

wow ok I’m out.

One question to ask is why the metronome has a visual element at all. It has a purpose, and my opinion is that it is there as a reference.
This is useful to me when I am initiating a new pattern of strumming or picking, just for the first grasp.
It also is useful when I start thinking I may have strayed a bit. A quick glance can straighten me out, or confirm my screw up.
However, aside from these, I really try to not look, because that is what I need to learn most of all. It is hard, and I am clearly it very good at it, but more and more I stay on target and use visual cues less and less.
Having a different tone on beat 1 is very helpful, but I am often struggling to differentiate it with the guitar sounds as well.
That and the “disappearing metronome “ per Justin’s lesson. Just when you have it perfect, the metronome sound “disappears” and then I lose track and freak out. D’oh!