Those who’ve made or who have made their way through the “8 Steps to Clawhammer Banjo” course and students of Breakthrough Banjo know that I’m a big advocate of playing along with a rhythm keeping device. The most time tested of these is the metronome.
In the earliest days of learning, playing alongside a metronome is a great way to ensure you’re focusing on good timing and rhythm from the get-go. It’s all to easy to overlook these aspects when playing in a vacuum, which can easily to the development of the dreaded “closet picker’s syndrome”.
But another benefit, which I think is of equal or even greater utility, is that the metronome is a perfect litmus test for automaticity – an exacting assessment for whether a new technique or tune has become “automatic.” You can read more about this concept in Episode 2 of the “Laws of Brainjo” series.
For those without access to a physical metronomic device, I’ve compiled a metronome playlist, which you’ll find above. You can choose the speed you wish by clicking the playlist icon in the upper left of the video and selecting from the menu (listed in ascending order from 40-140 BPM).