I want to train my sense of rhythm before start learning drums. In order to do that I listen to a metronome on 200 bits/min frequency during my workday.
Is it working methodology? And if it is then if 200 bits/min is an optimal value?

4 Answers 4


No, I don't think that's good methodology and I'd say 200 beats per minute is probably a bit high both in the sense that it's higher than the average song and that it's generally best to start slower when practicing something.

Rather than listening to a metronome I'd listen to actual music. Find great drummers in the style that you want to play or just great drummers in general. Rather than trying to cultivate some kind of internal metronome you'll being cultivating feel. This is the sense of how a drummer works around the pulse—are they early, late, or right on the beat, which beats do they accent and in what way dynamically, etc.

If the problem is that you don't have drums yet, you have a few options to get a jump start:

This reminds me a little of guitarists that think they need to use those finger strengtheners when starting out. The best way to strengthen your fingers for guitar or your time for playing drums is to actually do the thing that you're training for. Any time you spend doing something else could be better spent practicing.


A sense of rhythm is far more than just being able to listen to a metronome. In theory, it might work, but in practice, it's a waste of time. No pun intended!

Drummers do a heck of a lot more than just keep time - although in my book, that's a given. Drummers who can't keep a steady beat, or better still, keep the band steady, need to go back to basics.

A drummer needs to be able to split bars into smaller parts, a 4/4 bar may need eighths, sixteenths, for example.

A drummer needs to be double schizophrenic! Each limb has to be independent from the others, although in sync with each other. They may well all be doing something different simultaneously.

A drummer needs to be able to listen - to phrasing, other players, general balance, particularly the other rhythm players.

For starters, get a pair of sticks, use your metronome sometimes, and just get used to playing your two hands together and separately. Watch some drummers, work out what each hand does during an ordinary song. Simulate that on both hard and soft surfaces - hard will give you the bounce like a drum, soft will make you control the sticks in a different way.

You actually don't need a kick drum and hi-hat to start with. Just use your feet on the floor! Make up some rudimentary patterns for both feet. Experiment with your right foot: will you play heel up or heel down?

Anyone could do all this stuff for months before hitting a kit - and would probably be not bad the first time because of it.

And - you'll have the bonus of listening to real music instead of that irritating tick, tick, tick, tick...


For anyone learning rhythm, especially without playing an instrument, the first skill I'd suggest working on is counting. Experienced musicians pretty much always have a strong sense of where in time they are in a song. The goal is to get so comfortable at this that it is basically effortless. It can be done without really saying the words out loud so you can do this while at work for example. When one is good at it, there is a total sense of just knowing where you are both within the measure and within the form of the song. One doesn't have to keep the count going necessarily, but can just start anywhere and be on the right measure/beat. As with any other skill, it takes a lot of practice to have it totally down.

Most pop/rock is in 4/4 and the simplest manifestation is to count "one two three four one two three four ..." correctly along to a song. The next step is to keep track of measures, e.g. by doing "one two three four two two three four three two three four four two three four" and then repeat. Counting different rhythms, such as swung ones, has a different feel and they way one articulates the counting changes.

As one gets into more complex rhythms, just figuring out how to count can get challenging and keeping a solid count under music that is not keeping a steady pulse using a hi-hat or kick takes a certain amount of skill.

There are many tutorials on this. E.g.:


Why do that boring exercise when you could be playing drums? There's no short-cut to developing a good sense of time. Yes, use your metronome, but for no more than half your practice time. To develop a real sense of time, and rhythm, play drums, play music, play along to recordings, and join or start a band.

  • Because I can't play drums at work ;) It is a bit outdated question - I've already bought drum-pad and sticks and now I play them.
    – Kiramm
    May 14, 2018 at 16:18

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