I play drums for a church. I was wondering if there is a kind of metronome that has a microphone built into it so that it can give me the tempo from hearing other people play music so that I don’t get lost

  • 11
    Have you tried just listening to the other people's playing?
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 22:32
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    Right now the question is off topic here because we won’t recommend equipment for you. But if you want to edit your question to ask how to follow a tempo set by others then we can give you good advice there. Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 0:02
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    The easiest way to determine the bpm tempo of music that you’re hearing is a metronome with a “tap” feature: you tap a button repeatedly on the beats and it tells you the tempo. Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 1:38
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    Hi! I strongly recommend that you use the "edit" button to change this question. Right now I'll vote to close, since the topics covered here don't include "help me find a ___" types of questions. But I think you, or the others you play with, are having a tempo problem that needs to be fixed in some other way. Please edit to tell us more about the problem so you can get the best answer, and I can retract my close-vote. Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 16:38
  • @AndyBonner - I don't find those tap buttons that easy. One can be several bpm out with no trouble at all. And I've been playing for many years! A beginner would be even more inaccurate.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 11:16

3 Answers 3


There is some amazing music technology available in this day and age. There is actually computer software that can analyze and detect a tempo in recorded music but that is after the fact. There is no such thing as a stand alone metronome that extracts and generates a click by listening to what people are playing in real time. Even if there were, it would probably not be much help to you.

You actually have it backwards, you as a drummer are one of the instruments that are responsible for establishing and dictating the tempo in music along with the bass and to a slightly lesser extent, guitar and piano. You should be focused on listening to and playing with these other rhythm section instruments and between you provide the steady time for the singers, horns, etc. not the other way around.

One of the issues you might have is that maybe there is poor monitoring that doesn’t allow you to hear the other instruments well enough. That would make it hard for you to know what is going on and lock in with them. If that is the case, consider adding a monitor speaker to your setup or position yourself or others in a way that you can hear them better. As a drummer you have a responsibility to provide a steady beat with the rhythm section and know the song structures so you can provide a solid base for the rest of the band.

It IS possible to play to a metronome in a live situation and some groups actually do but that has to be set up in a particular way. The drummer or preferably the entire rhythm section can have a click in earbuds that is not audible to the audience and then they all play along to that. Whether or not a band plays to a click is a matter of preference and the powers that be would make the choice.


As John says, the band should be following you, not you trying to follow the rest of the band.

However, churches were never built acoustically for drums, which does make playing in time difficult in any case, due to echoes coming at you from many directions. And, drums in church can often come across as too loud.

Given that the pieces are at a constant tempo, you could use a metronome which has a visible readout - a nice big needle that swings across the screen in time, as well as giving you the click track that is so necessary, in an earpiece. Or a couple of flashing leds, red - green - green - green in each bar, for example.

Not recommending equipment (out of bounds on this site), there are plenty of drum machines which can be set to merely a click track, with earpiece facility, some pre-programmable for the entire set. One of those seems a possibility.

A lot of church bands will have a conductor, so talking to and working with them will solve a lot of problems.

If the pieces do fluctuate, due to poor players, then it's your job to keep them in time. If the pieces fluctuate on purpose, then again, it's your job. That's why there's a drummer in the band!


Yes, there are ways to get a computer to 'listen' to music and display a tempo. But this isn't generally available in a neat stand-alone box, probably because it would be absolutely useless! You're playing, you see a readout 'q=144'. So what do you do with this information? Maybe it even outputs a click or flashes a light at the detected tempo. So you can follow a click but you can't listen to the music directly?

YOU must listen to the other musicians. THEY must listen to you. If it all comes to pieces, someone isn't listening, and quite likely that person (or everyone) is playing too loudly!

It's simplistic to say the drummer should lay down the beat and everyone else should follow. Music, even in a church band, should be more subtle and flexible than that.

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