Here’s another reader question:

I have run into a problem – I seem to lose the energy of a live performance when I record with a metronome, but my rhythm is pretty awful (I tend to speed up). Any ideas as to how I can maintain the energy in the recordings without getting sloppy?

Thanks! Harrison

Ooooo…good question.

There are a lot of benefits to recording with a metronome (a.k.a. “click track”). I’ll get into that on a future post, but I highly recommend recording to a metronome of some sort. It makes overdubs, editing, and even mixing go much more smoothly.

Here are 4 suggestions for maintaining energy while recording to a click track:

1. Record and play at the same time.

As a musician, we typically play and sing when performing in public. Sometimes playing and singing separately in the studio can be a bit dull.

You’re used to rocking out on guitar while belting out the lyrics, and it’s hard to get a good performance doing one at a time.

Try recording them simultaneously. Use a dynamic mic on the vocals (to help control bleed a bit), and just do it. There will be bleed, but who cares? If the performance is incredible, the bleed won’t matter at all.

2. Practice with a metronome/click

As a musician, you really should develop the skill of being able to play with a click AND maintain energy.

Just like anything worthwhile, it takes time and practice. One of the main reasons I can play well with a click (both live and in the studio) is that I made myself do it.

Was it awkward and uncomfortable at first? Yep, but it got better. Now I don’t even really hear the click anymore.

3. Use a drum loop instead

I still do this quite a lot. Nobody said you have to use the standard Pro Tools “marimba” click track when you record. Pick something more musical.

You could use Xpand! (or some other virtual instrument) as your click track.

Or drag a drum loop into your session, or use one of the many grooves inside EZDrummer.

Now you can play along to a steady beat…without it feeling lifeless an sterile.

4. Don’t Use a Click Track

I list this option last because, while I highly prefer using a click track, it is certainly valid to NOT use one an a particular song. The tempo of the song may need to “breathe.” Or perhaps the musicians simply perform better without a click track.

As always, do what’s best for the song.

What about you?

How would you answer Harrison’s question? Leave a comment below.

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