Lesson Number One: the metronome doesn’t care about you.
See that metronome there on the piano, class? It doesn’t give a crap about you! You could be having the worst day of your life, but the metronome doesn’t care. You could be swimming with herpes, but the metronome does not care. Flood, famine, pestilence? The metronome does! Not! Care! Set that thing to 120 beats per minute, and it IS 120 beats per minute. No wavering, no complaining: Just a ruthless, methodical 120 bpm straight down the middle.
Think about this, class! The metronome is one of the great levelers the world has ever known. It is democracy and justice. Balance and symmetry. That metronome doesn’t care if you’re black, white, green, whatever. All it cares about in this world is keeping tempo. It shows you what is and gives you the chance to succeed. And if you can’t keep up, well, that’s on you to keep trying. THAT’S democracy.
What’s great about the metronome is that it will LET you succeed. It will give you all the tools you need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get ahead. If you’re struggling with a passage at 160 bpm, you can slow it down and work on that phrasing until you get it nailed, and then speed it up until you get that nailed, and then speed THAT up. Try asking if you can slow down the production line at the factory so you can catch up!
And here’s something really cool: the metronome takes you in between the lines. See, class, rhythm isn’t notes: it’s the spaces in between the notes. The metronome is set, and it offers you the same exact space in between notes, over and over and over again. You can fill and synchronize those spaces all you want, and you’ll have unlimited chances to get it right. Because that metronome isn’t stopping and it isn’t going anywhere.
You will never have a more honest, even-handed friend in your life, class. That metronome right there is pure loyalty. It’s there for you, precisely because it doesn’t care about you.