Jazz Improvisation Tips and Some Ways to Use a Metronome

By: Denis Diblasio

Date Posted: February 28, 2018

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I'd like to talk about how to use a metronome; a couple of different ways that will help with time. I like any metronome that gives me a loud enough click where I can hear it. This is a Dr. Beat, but anything that gives you a loud enough click will work.

We're going to play F dorian and mess around with it. Which means I'm going to play exactly with it and then I might play laid back at times or push the time. But, it's always in reference to where the time actually is. Great jazz players: they really like to play with time but they always know where the true time is, so everything is in reference to it.

This is at about 90.

I'll put this on 2 and 4, and swing something. This will be like the high hat in the swing beat.

1 - 2 - 3 - 4


So I'm using that just as a device to keep me centered at time.

I can be a little bit behind the beat if I want, but I still need to know where the true beat is.


Let me bring it down a little bit. If I was going to play something in 3/4, this would be beat 1.


And if you like to get a little fancy or if you get to know a tune really well, this could be fast. This could be beat 1.


You can use the metronome a lot of different ways. It's a great tool and also a way to practice scales.

The thing is in jazz, we practice our scales with a metronome, and sometimes when we improvise, we kind of throw the metronome out. Don't. Put it at a tempo that you can handle the tune that you're learning and then gradually speed it up.

It's a great guide and keeps you right in place.

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