Ten years ago, I was teaching a lot of young students, most of whom were beginners. I tried to impress upon them the importance of practicing with a metronome. In an attempt to increase their interest in using a metronome, I created MetronomeBot, a fun, interactive tool that talks, counts the beats, subdivides, and clicks in different meters. The results were clear – the students practiced better and their rhythm skills and sense of tempo improved, too. MetronomeBot has had a nice run for ten years, receiving well over one million page views. People all over the world have benefitted from practicing with the talking metronome.
However, MetronomeBot has one major flaw – I created it using Adobe Flash. To me, Flash has been one of the coolest software applications to work with. It allows people with limited programming skills to design and create interactive web pages. There are many great Flash applications on the internet that have improved web users’ experience. Flash allowed me to create interactive clarinet fingering charts, pitch name games to improve students’ reading ability, and MetronomeBot. The power of Flash comes with some drawbacks, though. It is very CPU intensive and can wear down your laptop’s battery quickly, it presents security issues, and worst of all, it does not work on portable devices. Adobe, Apple, and other computer companies tried to sort it all out, but it never worked. The final result: Adobe has officially announced that Flash will cease to exist in the year 2020.
My next challenge was to figure out what to do with MetronomeBot. I considered several options, and since I have hundreds of audio tracks with metronome sounds at different tempos, I decided to put all of the tracks on Youtube, where anyone can use them on any device. That option also has the advantage of extra exposure to Youtube users. Each video will also appear on my new site www.MusicAllTheTime.com which features lots of other educational tools and sheet music. The metronome tracks are all nicely organized so you can find tempos quickly. At this point, all of the talking metronomes and the basic online metronome are available, and I am working on adding each of the other audio tracks. There are talking metronomes in four that can be used in 4/4, 4/8, 4/2, or 12/8 time signatures, talking metronomes in three that can be used in 3/4, 3/8, 3/2, or 9/8 time signatures, and talking metronomes in two that can be used in 2/4, 2/8, 2/2 (cut time) or 6/8 time signatures.
Besides working on all devices, the new MetronomeBot has some other positive features. For one, there is now a much more extensive tempo range for each metronome. The talking metronomes now go up to 240 beats per minute, and the standard clicking metronome extends from 30 to 300 beats per minute. More coming soon!