Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Metronome Apps

I am getting extra mileage out of my iPhone these days by using a free metronome app to accompany variations on timing therapy that I do.

Market Wall's Free App
My favorite activity is to play ball (ala Bal-A-Vis-X) using a metronome to improve timing. The children I work with find the rhythmic sounds of the metronome calming and work hard to "nail" the beat. That's exactly what I want from them.

I set the beat to 3/4 time for the 3-part sequence of:
   1. Drop ball
   2. Catch ball with right hand
   3. Move ball to left hand (and then repeat over and over)

I set the tempo to 80-or-so, depending on the child's comfort zone and how tall he or she is, that is, how far the ball has to drop. The 3/4 rhythm also works for 2-person, 2-ball exercises. The tempo needs to be slower - perhaps 80.

I use a 1/4 or 2/4 beat for simple tapping or clapping exercises.

Teachers can use the timing of the metronome for rote memory work of math tables, spelling words, or foreign language or biology class memorization. It should well for articulation exercises for speech.

The Interactive Metronome is typically set to a 54 beat tempo, which is a comfortable rhythm for our bodies (our heart beats at about 60 beats per minute). So performing tapping exercises with that rhythm should work well. However, in my experience, children with ADHD prefer (and are able to better work to) faster tempos. I find that a tempo of 63 is comfortable for them. I try to slowly acclimate them to slower tempos so that their body and brain get a better synchrony.
 
There are tons of metronome apps out there - for timing therapy, a very simple one is typically the best one for our use. The fancier models will be helpful for musicians. Here are two of my favorites for iPhone.

Here is the Jacky Ma app. It is easy to use and has a visual and audio component. The disable autolock feature keeps the iPhone from powering off.



Here is the free Market Wall app. It has a nice visual that kids are fascinated with. It apparently had its own timing issues, but the app seems to work fine now. I've had no problems with it.