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3 Reasons To Learn To Use a Click

June 10, 2013

MetronomeIt’s harsh, annoying, and so repetitive! It won’t stop thumbing in your ear and picking away at your brain. It’s a click, click track, metronome, or whatever you wanna call it. And as much you hate it, it may actually be useful. 

Believe it or not, playing to a click is a crucial skill for musicians in the 2010’s. Professionals and amateurs alike are using in the studio and even on the stage. I, for one, insist that every musician learn how to play to one and here’s three reasons why.

1. Recording: Doing Everything Separately

Whether you’re in a professional studio or recording at home, there’s a good chance you are recording every instrument one at a time (see live vs. separate). But in order to record individually, I highly recommend using a click. Recording to a click lines up everything to a grid, which ensures that everyone is on the same page. Grids make it easy to punch in and re-record a bar or two that was sketchy. Grids make you play consistently in time and not sloppy and all-over-the-place. Grids make it easy to program MIDI. Whatever you do, the click grid becomes a huge reference that you will need to record separately.

2. Live: Playing To Tracks

While it is not necessary to perform things exactly like the album, sometimes you recorded too many instruments than you have hands to play them with, and it becomes necessary to play with pre-recorded tracks. To use tracks live, you HAVE to play to a click. The track is not human, so it won’t speed up or slow down like we will. Adding a click lets you stay on time with the track.

3. It makes you a better musician everywhere.

Let’s face it, the click doesn’t lie. If you are not synced up to click, it’s most likely your fault, not the click’s. That’s the reasons a lot of musicians don’t like clicks. It exposes our rhythmic weaknesses and makes us feel inadequate. But don’t worry, playing to a click is a learned skill. It may not be natural, but its worth the effort. Learning to use a click will make you a better musician. It will improve your rhythm, make you play more consistently, sharpen your focus. In fact, if you learn to play to a click, you will also play better whenever you aren’t using one! Learning this skill with improve almost every area of your abilities.

All in all, I still say you gotta give it a shot! It may not happen overnight and it may be frustrating, but it’s gonna be worth it! In the next post, I’ll give you some tips on practicing with clicks.

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