The metronome is okay for young kids trying to practice beginner shit like five-finger little piano pieces or first attempts at trying to play scales, but for a jazz player, it’s very counterproductive.
This question was asked of me recently by a musician whom I believe is a classical player. It’s a great question, one that I get a lot, and probably on the minds of hundreds of thousands of musicians-jazz or otherwise.
I was forwarded a YouTube link yesterday of a young musician playing John Coltrane’s solo from Giant Steps note for note.
I received an email this morning from an enthusiastic sax player struggling to get better at playing jazz. He has started working with my book Jazz Patterns for Ear and wrote, “After playing the exercises in the book, I played a standard tune and immediately felt closer to the things I was playing”.
Give your ear a chance. It hears more than you give it credit for. Continue to practice your technique, run your scales, and learn about harmony, but when the time comes to play music over changes, just listen.
Jazz/latin trombone, author, multimedia artist, marketer