I recently had a chance to test run the BodyBeat Metronome as I taught the front ensemble of the Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps. I was excited for the change of pace in time keeping gadgets. There were a couple of interesting things that I found out as I explored this new device.
The BodyBeat is equipped with an external vibe clip that transmits a mild pulse to any convenient area of the body. Before i got started using the BodyBeat I thought that the slight vibration would get lost in the sea of sensory response that is inherit with any musical activity. Surprisingly, the opposite proved to be true, I always felt the clear pulse while the rest of the ensemble was playing.
This observation started me on journey to find out why time would be so clear. I found research that proves that tactile information such as the Vibe Clip and Aural information supplied from a standard metronome are processed to the brain through separate neural pathways. This dual method of transmission allows you to focus your aural energy on the music being played and not the metronome. When i was using the beat I really felt a clear pulse that was not drowned out by the sound of the ensemble. This allowed me to supply better time for the ensemble to reference. In addition to clarity I found one hidden benefit of the BodyBeat; the lack of a steady, nagging metronome yipe that could be easily likened to an aural form of a torture tactic was a golden benefit.
As I was trying the BodyBeat out I came across a couple of features that I really think would put this product over the top. I would have loved to see some type of click wheel to make setting a tempo go much quicker. In addition to the wheel it would also be great to have a bank of preset programs to facilitate quicker direct tempo changes. I realize that these featured would put the BodyBeat into a different price range. However, i have grown attached to these features with other devices that I own..
Overall, I think that the BodyBeat Metronome has the potential to change the way individual musicians practice and think of metronomes. It was certainly a great change in pace for my teaching routine.
I’ve had the BodyBeat for 3 months now and I find it very good for practicing my snare rudiments. Along with the practice pad, it became a relaxing cure (no annoying/aggressive click sound). Along with a real snare… well I no longer have to wear headphones nor do I need to run the click through a PA.
Though, when I play on my full drum set, I’m having trouble keeping the beat. I’m not exactly sure why. It might be caused by the combination of vibrations (drums’ sound) and the friction of the clothes on my skin which hides or dissipates the BodyBeat pulse on my skin. I tried it about everywhere on my body (except in my pants which might my next try) with the same result.
The more I use it, the more receptive I become but I still lose the pulse way too often. During live performance, I don’t take any chance and I use a sound click (included with the BodyBeat).
I also like the fact that not only the vibe clip but also the metronome itself can be clamped onto a belt.
The tactile function is brilliant, it works so much better than an audible metronome, you’ll love it. No i don’t work for Peterson or any seller, I am just a full time performer and I love this thing. The only things that could be improved is adding taptempo, and you have to hit “mode” to change tempo, where that seems unnecessary. But these are small quibbles with what is seriously the best $100 I’ve spent in ages.
1 more suggestion for Peterson -> It would be very cool if they made a way to send a few of the tactile outputs synced to multiple players. ever wish the drummer you hired got zapped every time he sped up? here it is. No arguing with the machine. Can’t wait to see the next versions.
I actually have used it live as a solo guitarist and it works very well, I wouldn’t do it on a serious gig where I want to be expressive, but on a background side gig type of thing where i can practice on the stand, it has been fun to play with, and its not distracting at all.
This is the best thing to happen with metronomes since electricity and I hope they continue to make them and refine them.
I also had problems with loosing the Body Beat pulse while playing on my drumkit until I put the clip on my earlobe. In the beginning it was a little painful, but soon I kind of got used to it, I’m Swedish you see …. One way to soften the pain is to first attach a adhesive plaster on the lobe, then put on the clip. If you can cope with that but think it would look ridiculous on stage, why not use a chic hat to hide the clip. Or just ignore what some people would think. After all, real drummers doesn’t have to care much about other’s opinions, do we?