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Topic: Metronome
Message: Posted by: jskalon (Sep 5, 2012 10:15PM)
I saw a post from 2005 that references practicing with a metronome. Does anyone use one? I am interested in learning about this.
Thanks,
Jack
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Sep 5, 2012 10:57PM)
I used one briefly when learning the Elmsley Count. It helped to develop a natural rhythm. Every now and then I pull it put for pacing, but don't use it regularly. Others may be fans of this technique, but I only found it of moderate help.

Then again, they are very inexpensive at a musical instrument shop ...

Hudson
Message: Posted by: Atom3339 (Sep 6, 2012 12:31AM)
Slydini.

Eric Jones.
Message: Posted by: Philip Busk (Sep 8, 2012 02:09PM)
My kids play piano and there is one just sitting there so I figured why not. It's great because you can start off slow and then speed it up all staying in rythm.
Message: Posted by: Gerald (Nov 12, 2012 11:10AM)
If you have my book, "The Ostrich Factor", study about rhythmic flow and the use of a metronome beginning on page 18.

Cheers,
Gerald
Message: Posted by: Ion Dubinin (Nov 14, 2012 10:18AM)
I used one before but them found out that counting, be it an Elmsly or regular counting, one does not keep and even rythm like a robot, so I stopped using it and my counts look a lot more natural now.

Ion
Message: Posted by: joesquire (Nov 14, 2012 11:32PM)
Have to agree with Ion. Continued practice with a metronome is a bad idea.

Having said that, in the early phases of learning a routine, it's helpful to know where you're lagging and need to get slicker. A metronome can make this abundantly clear
Message: Posted by: Mule Henderson (Nov 25, 2012 12:30AM)
Just practice while listening to your favorite music, same idea. The benefit comes from the highs and lows in a song instead of: click, click, click, click...
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 25, 2012 07:31AM)
Jack-

Yes, I use a metronome, and disagree with some of the opinions above. As with any tool, if one does not understand its purpose nor how to work with it correctly, it may seem like it is the tool's fault. A look at the long history of this device in music, oratory, comedy, drama, dance, and yes, magic gives ample answer to those who mistakenly think it is no more than click, click, click.

Jim
Message: Posted by: Gerald (Dec 1, 2012 02:48PM)
Very interesting discussion, fellows. Here's my take:

Use of the metronome establishes an underlying, solid, steady pulse of the rhythm of the sleight. After you establish this secure basis for movement, the way you deviate from it is based on how you creatively and naturally depart from it. Certainly, no sleights should appear robotic. But this underlying rhythm of movement is as natural as your steady heartbeat. The heart rate varies according to the situation. But in its natural state of rest, it is relatively steady. It is this steadiness that supports an underlying security of movement necessary for a sleight.

In music, this variation from the metronomic pulse is called “tempo rubato”. This freedom from the metronomic beat allows the musician to express his idea of the emotional content of the music. This is true especially of music from the Romantic Period. Musicians know that keeping a steady beat is basic, a necessary skill and undergirds every great performance of music. It has been my experience, that the same is true for sleight of hand.

The way you use this steady supporting pulse and the freedom from it depends upon your personality, creativity and the task at hand.

Best regards,
Gerald
Message: Posted by: Escape Artist (Feb 13, 2013 02:47PM)
I can see the metronome helping in learning to count cards in rhythm, but how does a metronome correlate with the movements in a routine
Message: Posted by: pnielan (Feb 24, 2013 10:30PM)
Great post by Gerald. I learned something.

Thanks
Message: Posted by: silvercup (Mar 5, 2013 11:24AM)
[quote]
On 2013-02-24 23:30, pnielan wrote:
Great post by Gerald. I learned something.

Thanks
[/quote]

You can always get the Ostrich Factor and learn some more!
Message: Posted by: Gerald (Mar 6, 2013 06:26AM)
Pnielan and silvercup,
Thank you for your comments. I do appreciate them. It's a pleasure to find at least a few people who agree with me! :)

Best,
Gerald
Message: Posted by: pnielan (Sep 19, 2013 12:35AM)
Silvercup:

I do own the Ostrich Factor and it's an excellent book.

Best,

Paul
Message: Posted by: theconjuror (Sep 20, 2013 11:16PM)
I can see myself getting frustrated with a metronome. If you're trying to patter and perform, I can see me getting off pace with it. But then again, I could be wrong!
Message: Posted by: Gerald (Nov 24, 2013 05:07AM)
Theconjuror,
Understood. The key to using the metronome effectively is that it: “establishes a secure basis for movement, the way you deviate from it is based on how you creatively and naturally depart from it."

You are not in any way shackled to metronomic actions during your performance. When you perform, you have that underlying basis for natural rhythmic flow. But the demands of the situation, audience reaction, etc. create a feeling of spontaneity. But there is always that basic, underlying, supporting, feeling of security of the natural flow of action and movement that undergirds your performance. This "feeling" is based upon the habits and conditioned responses of muscular movement acquired by practicing with the metronome.

All advanced musicians know this to be true. This underlying steady rhythmic flow is essential for a musician. I think it applies to magic and other performing arts in a similar way, but probably not as essential as it is for a musician. There are many fine magicians who never touched a metronome. But practice with a metronome is just one more step one can take in that illusive, approachable, but not attainable pursuit of perfection.

Gerald
Message: Posted by: hp (Dec 3, 2013 11:34AM)
Three comments here: (1) Occasionally you will see in the write-up of an effect that a move is to be done "on the off beat". I often wondered how folks could get away with some of these things but, after seeing folks like Howie Schwarzmann, I have learned that the period of relaxation after one portion of an effect occurs can be used to get away with a lot. Although "on the off beat" may not be directly related to metronomic rhythm, I think the length of that "off beat" period is closely influcenced by the rhythm of the presentation.
(2) When I was experimenting with rhythm, I developed a simple and very effective coin vanish based only on rhythm. Display coin between 1st and 2nd fingers of one palm-up hand; other hand is palm down. Say "A coin...," focusing attention on the coin-holding hand; turn other hand palm up as you say "...and an empty hand" - while turning the empty hand and attention is there (for a beat) openly th**b p**m the coin, turning the hand palm-down as you do so, moving both hands simultaneously. Move the empty hand to grab the (now empty) 1st and 2nd fingers of the hand with the coin and move it back to its original position.
(3) With Eric, I believe Slydini had a lot of thoughts in this area, though I don't know if all have been published. When Bill Wisch lectured about Slydini, he mentioned some of this, though I don't have immediate access to my notes from that lecture.

Howard
Message: Posted by: Xaa (Jun 14, 2015 02:15PM)
I know this is an old thread, but it may be worth adding that there are a number of metronome apps for smart phones which are free and quite adequate for the purposes mentioned. Here's one for the IOS:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/metronome/id287965434?mt=8
Message: Posted by: Banedon (Jun 17, 2015 04:45PM)
[quote]On Nov 24, 2013, Gerald wrote:
Theconjuror,
Understood. The key to using the metronome effectively is that it: “establishes a secure basis for movement, the way you deviate from it is based on how you creatively and naturally depart from it."

You are not in any way shackled to metronomic actions during your performance. When you perform, you have that underlying basis for natural rhythmic flow. But the demands of the situation, audience reaction, etc. create a feeling of spontaneity. But there is always that basic, underlying, supporting, feeling of security of the natural flow of action and movement that undergirds your performance. This "feeling" is based upon the habits and conditioned responses of muscular movement acquired by practicing with the metronome.

All advanced musicians know this to be true. This underlying steady rhythmic flow is essential for a musician. I think it applies to magic and other performing arts in a similar way, but probably not as essential as it is for a musician. There are many fine magicians who never touched a metronome. But practice with a metronome is just one more step one can take in that illusive, approachable, but not attainable pursuit of perfection.

Gerald [/quote]


Gerald has posted highly valuable advice on this topic. The above quote is especially pertinent.

To build upon Gerald's argument with some concrete examples, all forms of performance benefit from the use of a metronome. Dance is obvious. I have known stage actors and comedians who daily practice their lines, actions, and exercises to metronomes. Public speakers do likewise. I even have known painters, metalwork sculptors, and a computer animator that work (not just practice, but WORK) to a metronome. I am a clasically trained musician - so the importance of a metronome in my daily practice was made clear to me by my recorder teacher in the 1st grade and reinforced by every teacher for any instrument across every form of music thereafter.

Some suggestions (that I should implement, too - my writing this post is a way to concretize some of my thoughts on the subject and thus help begin to develop a formalized practice routine that includes the metronome for myself):

Use the metronome to become acutely aware of the temporal relation of your conduct. Not just in isolation but how they interconnect and relate with events and the actions/reactions of your audients.

Set the metronome to beat every second. Set it to cognitively comprehensible subdivisions of seconds or minutes or half minutes, etc.

Perform your routines, your patter, your sleights, your actions, your changes, your movements, your transitions to new props/tricks/areas and observe and feel how they correlate (or do not) to the pulses.

It might be jarring and off putting at first - you might get put off your game while focusing on these things - but with time you will become aware of how long it takes to perform actions and when different actions synch and unsynch.

You can time your speech and moves to synch to the beats and know that when you hear that blip you should be saying x word and conducting y action. You will get an idea as to when things should happen and what effect they have. On the beat is when people feel secure and in harmony. Good things happen on the beat - not the unexpected. The unexpected on the beat is more acceptable and thus less of a magnificent statement. You can get away with misdirection on the beat because people expect smoothness and people will naturally synch up actions with the rhythms (even implicit ones) provided. You can make an effect that much more astounding by doing it when people will find it more jarring - on the off beats. Experiment and feel how your routines can be made smoother and more effective with even just these basics of metronome utility. Eventually a natural smoothness develops and your movements will actually be less robotic and jerky and appear more natural and unhurried - more believable. Parts of your routine that you might not have even realized were sloppy can be integrated and made more congruous.

Play back recordings of yourself to the metronome to study your movements, speech, and patterns. You might find correlations with temporal movements over time with some of your best work (either being on or off the beat or with a certain pulse). Play back recordings of others and listen to a metronome at different settings to really get a feel about how their performance is constructed. This is an exercise I have done alone and in the classroom not just with music but with Shakespearrean sonnets, car salesman patter, stage and movie actors (I got a whole new appreciation of Chaplin from this), mimes, comedians, and yes - even magicians (the classroom examples were Copperfield and a British gentleman who does the most amazing cup and balls routine but whose name escapes me).
Message: Posted by: bentleymagic (Jan 1, 2016 05:34PM)
Has anyone found a metronome to be useful when practising second/bottom deals etc?