Keeping steady time

For musicians, keeping steady time is essential. It is the foundation of a great musical performance. However, keeping steady time is not always an easy task, and it requires practice and dedication. In this article, we will explore different methods that musicians can use to learn how to keep steady time.


In my early days of music production I was exposed to the idea of playing in time. It didn’t take me too long to realize that some methods were easier than others to lock-in to. The good thing about developing a good since of timing is that when it servers the song best to keep a steady beat … you can! There are times when a little ebb and flow is also required to interpret the meaning and intended flow of a song. In either case, being deliberate requires the ability to know when you are varying the tempo. Here are some methods that can help you develop the skill of keeping time.

Method 1: Play to a Drum Loop
Playing to a drum loop is an excellent way for musicians to practice their timing. A drum loop is a repeating beat that provides a steady rhythmic pulse, and it can be used as a reference point for musicians. By playing along with a drum loop, musicians can learn to internalize the beat and develop a more accurate sense of timing. Drum loops can be found online or created using a drum machine or software program.

Method 2: Play to a Metronome
A metronome is a device that produces a regular, steady pulse or click, usually in beats per minute (BPM). Musicians can use a metronome to practice their timing by setting it to the desired tempo and playing along with it. Metronomes are available in both digital and analog versions, and they are an essential tool for musicians who want to improve their timing.

Method 3: Play to a Click Track in a DAW
A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is a software program that is used for recording, editing, and mixing music. Most DAWs have a feature called a click track, which is a metronome-like pulse that can be used as a reference point for musicians during recording. By playing along with the click track, musicians can ensure that their performance stays in time with the recording.
Method 4: Turn Down Your Instrument and Concentrate on the Time Reference

Something you can do in all these methods is to turn down your instrument and concentrate on the time reference. This technique involves playing along with a reference track, such as a drum loop or metronome, while minimizing the sound of your instrument. By doing this, musicians can focus on the timing of the reference track and develop a better sense of timing.

Using a Click Track in Recording
When recording music, using a click track can be very helpful in keeping all instruments in time with each other. This is especially important in genres such as electronic dance music (EDM) and hip-hop, where precise timing is crucial. By using a click track, musicians can ensure that all instruments are playing at the same tempo and that there is no drifting or slowing down of the beat.