I've been told my beats are off beat.

How exactly do you stay on beat and how do you use the metronome to help you? I've been searching heaps but there's no videos or any sites that explain it properly.

  • 4
    More context please. Are you playing an instrument? Singing? Drumming? Piano? Something else? What are you having trouble with specifically? What have you already tried? These are things that will help us answer more effectively. – user45266 Aug 24 '19 at 0:41
  • One thing is to count and also practice with a metronome, but as already commented, we really need to know what instrument you are playing to provide a complete answer. – Todd Wilcox Aug 24 '19 at 5:02
  • 1
    Along the lines of what user45266 has asked, are you playing regular 4/4 beats, syncopated rhythms (often still in 4/4), unorthodox meters (e.g. 5/4, especially split as 3-3-2-2), mixed meter, cross-rhythms between hands, or what? – Dekkadeci Aug 24 '19 at 13:26
  • Just because the question mentions metronomes doesn't automatically mean it's a dupe of the quoted question. The original question itself is so vague/ambiguous that that in itself is enough to close it, but...may be prudent to laisser faire until OP qualifies more clearly what the problem is. It may have to do with matching rhythms with disco stuff, for all we know yet. – Tim Aug 25 '19 at 17:57

The question is anything but clear! But I'm guessing someone has told you you're emphasising beats 1 and 3, when they think it should be 2 and 4, or possibly vice versa. It's quite easy to get confused - does one clap on 1 and 3, or 2 and 4?

Well, it doesn't really matter. As long as one knows where beat 1 is, either will do!

In pop music, often beat 1 is signified by a thump on the bass drum. 1 is recognised in most styles of music as being the 'main' beat in the bar. The most emphasised. Often with a main word sung slightly louder in a lot of songs. Or listen to the count in - 1,2,1,2,3,4,1. Once that's established, the song rolls out in time. You could then clap/tap/nod on 1 and 3, or 2 and 4, as long as you count or feel where 1 is, the others will follow!

There are many q/a about this subject already here - take a look.

If this isn't anything helpful for what you are asking - let me know, and I'll delete it.


It can be hard to develop a consistent beat working only with a metronome, because one's own playing is often louder than the metronome, and because you can have a slightly inconsistent tempo and still not be obviously "off" from the metronome.

The best thing is to feel the beat, or the tempo, in your body. Find different ways of moving around the room while either listening to a recording or singing the music. Then when you sit down to play, set yourself up mentally before you start, by remembering how that felt.

You can also conduct the music, as a conductor would do, while you are listening or singing.

For some pieces of music, it can be helpful to be aware of the subdivisions as you are playing. Perhaps the passage has some quarter notes and some eighth notes. While you are playing the quarter notes, imagine the eighth notes marching along underneath, in your head.

If you do want to use a metronome, try listening to it with an earbud.


I developed my sense of the beat and rhythm as a small child when I did things like learn to dance and skip down the sidewalk and I listened to a lot of beat heavy music. Also I was fascinated by the person who led the choir at church and as a child often imitated the arm movements he made when I heard music playing, pretending to be the band leader myself. Then came piano lessons and the metronome. I guess my point is that I've been surrounded by rhythm my whole life, and I'd suggest that you might benefit yourself by finding stuff that is rhythmic in nature and try surrounding yourself with these things in hopes of some of it becoming part of your nature.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.