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Alex De Pue – Metronome is Your Best Friend

Fiddler Alex De Pue shares insights on the importance of rhythm and practicing with the metronome.

Inspiration by Metronome Online with

ARTIST FEATURE: From the road with Steve Vai to a Youtube hit: meet Alex De Pue, the master fiddler! He shares his views on rhythm and practice with a metronome.

1) Why is rhythm important?

Rhythm provides the context for every other part of music. Without rhythm, a melody could very well be unrecognizable! Many rhythms are evocative of different cultures (Think Samba, Cumbia, Waltzes, etc) and you can paint a much wider variety of musical pictures through extensive knowledge of them. If you are taking a solo in a band, having a solid sense of rhythm allows you to take even ONE NOTE and make it something exciting to listen to. Also, there is nothing like playing with a bunch of cats on stage who know how to lock into a big PHAT groove, not pushing or dragging, but syncing together in a nearly magical coalescence. Rhythm is what makes us move, it’s what gets people out on the dance floor; It can inspire moods, and affect your energy, etc.

It’s a pretty well-known fact that most hit songs are set to 120bpm (by “default”, even, when opening a new Pro Tools session), which is designed to coincide with the average human heart rate (subdivided). THAT is exactly what creates the urge we feel, as humans, to dance… a well-studied science, actually.

2) How often do you practice with a metronome?

I’d say at least 50% of the time, especially with new material. As a student of the violin, the metronome should become, very quickly, your “best friend”. Students should not often practice withOUT a metronome.

"Students should not often practice withOUT a metronome."

3) Why is it important to practice with a metronome?

I have seen many students over the years add a metronome to a piece they are working on, only to see the shocked reactions, as they realize their various tendencies to speed up or slow down throughout the piece. It’s always good to set your tempo ONLY as fast as you can play the most difficult portion of your music, before deciding whatever will be deemed your current tempo. OVER-prepare those passages.

As a general rule while practicing a more difficult passage, I insist from myself three repetitions, WITH metronome, performed flawlessly and WITH metronome, before “graduating” myself, with the reward being an increase in tempo by ten clicks… a barely noticeable change, but after a few of those upticks throughout any practice session, your results should leave you feeling like a superhero by the end. Remember, three times… FLAWLESS… only then do we bump up.

4) Can you name one thing that you like about the metronome on

I love that you can track your practice time, and keep your short and long-term goals listed for increased motivation. It’s easy to get distracted in this busy world, and being able to actually look back at the time you have spent, allows for an honest evaluation from which to set new goals and get better, faster. These features are definitely an upgrade from your average, everyday metronome! Now, go practice!

VIDEO: Check out Alex’s original tune called Noriega!:

Alex De Pue – Metronome is Your Best Friend

Alex De Pue

Alex DePue began studying classical violin at age five. He won his first university-level solo- artist competition at age 10, and later (age 14) won a competition which awarded a performance at NYC's Carnegie Hall, serving as Concertmaster under the direction of Joseph Silverstein for the National Guild Youth Symphony Orchestra. He continues to appear as guest soloist with orchestras and music festivals, worldwide.

Alex DePue’s YouTube videos are from all parts of the globe, and his #1 YouTube hit (featured for three weeks on YouTube's home-page), "Owner of a Lonely Heart/Smooth Criminal"' (Yes and Michael Jackson, respectively) has been viewed worldwide over four million times (re- posting).

Alex toured as Musical Director with Capitol Recording artist Chris Cagle from 2000-2006, with whom he still regularly appears (syndicate) on the Grand Ole Opry, CMT, Great American Country and VH1 Country.

From 2007 - 2010, Mr. DePue joined legendary rock guitarist, Steve Vai, for a world tour that took him across North America, South America and Europe. 2010 continued celebration for Vai's 2009 DVD release, “Steve Vai: Where the WILD THINGS Are” (a live concert music-movie co- featuring DePue), its GRAMMY nomination for Best Live Rock Instrumental Performance at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards and Gold Record (award issued to each band/cast member) from the Recording Industry Association of America in recognition of “Gold” sales status in both the US and Canada (Platinum Award from the Canadian Recording Industry Association). Vai and DePue remain close colleagues, and continue to collaborate behind the scenes.

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