Playing in Time

There is no way around it. A musician must be able to play in time.

Published: 19 Mar 2013 Updated: 06 Jul 2022Visits: 281Code: ML-basic-06

Topic: Metronome Instruments: ANY music Subjects: Rhythm • Reading • Beginner

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There is no way around it. A musician must be able to play in time. Playing in time is an important musical skill for ALL musicians. This lesson works on Keeping Your Place as you play.

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“A metronome is an external time device for developing and synchronizing your accurate, internal time.” — Curt Sheller

There is no way around it. A musician must be able to play in time. Playing in time is an important and valuable musical skill for ALL musician.

If you can count evenly, which we all can, we are already capable of playing in-time. The hard part is to do it while we are playing our instrument.

Here are some definitions of common music terms regarding playing in time:

  • Beat — The beat is the regular time unit or pulse of a piece of music.
  • Tempo — is the speed of music as measured by a metronome in beats per minute (bpm)
  • Rhythm — is the duration of a note or chord in music.
  • Meter — Is the organization of pulses in a piece of music. It is represented by two numbers at the beginning o written music, called a time signature. Common time signatures are 4/4, 6/8 and 3/4.

Playing in Time…

Using a Metronome to Learn to Play in Time

A basic use of a metronome is external tracking of the beat and tempo with audible clicks, beeps, or a light. It is great for learning and practicing new music. Set the metronome to the goal tempo for the music you are working on. If not successful, set the metronome to a tempo that you can play the music at. With every successful performance, increase, the metronome until you are at the goal tempo.


Get yourself a metronome, an external source for helping your develop a internal sense of time and rhythm.

Web Sites & Apps

Here are few places to find a metronome online. Every app store has multiple metronomes available for download to your computer, tablets or phone.

  • • This is the online metronome that I'm using right here. Also an iOS app for: Lessons | Tuner | Metronome | Chords

A Few Other Metronome Resources

  • Metronome • This online metronome allows you to set the tempo using the common tempo terms such as: Presto, Allegro, Andante, Largo, etc.
  • Musica Metronome • A very simple metronome right in a browser. Musicca is a most popular music learning platforms, with several million monthly users in more than 150 countries. Based in Denmark, but our team comprises people from around the world.
  • Google Metronome • A very simple metronome right in a browser.
  • Metronome • A GNOME (Linux ) Flatpak app .

Your fellow ukulele players and musicians will NOT know you are using a metronome–ONLY if you should have be using a metronome.

Lesson Resources & Links>

Download the PDF file for the latest, complete, and most up-to-date version. As well as additional information not presented on-line.

End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!

Related Lessons, Videos, Lesson Series, Songs, Books & Reference Charts, Resources & Assets, Workshops are below.

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Demystifying Cut Time by Chuck Anderson

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Cut Time is a source of confusion for many musicians. What exactly does it mean and how do you apply it? Here is a guest lesson by internationally renowned jazz guitarist and educator Chuck Anderson.


Standard Music Notation

Updated: 16 Sep 2021

Music notation or musical notation refers to various systems of writing music. Diverse systems of musical notation have developed in various cultures. In fact, many cultures simply do not notate their music in any form.


How and Why To Use Metronome

Updated: 21 Oct 2022

A metronome is a device that produces an audible click or other sound at a regular interval that can be set by the user, typically in beats per minute (bpm).

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This is not really a song, but simply saying that for the purposes of a lot of the lessons and lesson series on this site ANY song will do for exploring the lesson's material and concepts presented in the lesson.

Related Books & Charts

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Modular Phonetic Rhythm represents a significant advance in the teaching and application of rhythm. Eliminating many inefficient aspects of rhythm education, Modular Phonetic Rhythm streamlines the traditional educational approach, resulting in a reflexive reaction to rhythm.

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