How and When to Use a Metronome in Tap Class

Published on March 4th 2021 by Hillary-Marie

I get a lot of questions about metronomes in the iTapOnline™ Community Facebook Group and during iTap Chats for iTapOnline™ Members.

Questions like… 

What does a metronome actually help you do?

At what age should dancers be introduced to metronomes?

At what level should dancers be introduced to metronomes?

How often should I use my metronome?

And can I just say…

I LOVE these questions!


The metronome will never lie to you. 


It’s the universal truth teller. 

It tells you if you’re rushing, or dragging through a phrase. It also tells you if your subdivisions are evenly spaced. 


If you’re dancing to a metronome and you feel like it’s pushing your forward, that means you’re “dragging”, which means you’ve fallen behind the beat. 

If you’re dancing to a metronome and you feel like it’s pulling you backwards, that means you’re “rushing”, which means you’re ahead of the beat.


  • When improvising and practicing your subdivisions (swinging eighth notes, triplets, straight sixteenth notes, etc.), you can use your metronome to make sure your partials are spaced evenly. 
  • When exploring odd meter, you can use your metronome as a tool to help you get comfortable improvising or choreographing in different time signatures. 
  • When struggling to figure out the counts of a certain phrase, you can slow it down with your metronome and work through it according to the down beat.
  • When speed training a certain technique, step or phrase, your metronome is key ***iTapOnline Members can check out the Fast Feet and Phrasing course in the iTapOnline Member Center for a step-by-step instruction on speed training**


  • A metronome can be used as a teaching tool at any age or level, so long as they need the support that a metronome offers.
  • When your students are struggling to hear the timing of a syncopated phrase, the metronome will guide their ear to understand where each and every sound falls. 
  • When cleaning up short phrases that students are rushing through, the metronome will help them identify where they’re rushing and train their ears (and their feet) to slow down. 
  • When working up towards a phrase of choreography that feels too fast with music, the metronome will help them speed train and gain the confidence that they need to dance at tempo with music. 

I was just using the metronome in FutureSTEP rehearsal the other day because they were blowing through a roll that I gave them, and ending their phrase way too early. When we did it acapella, it was fine, but as soon as the music came on, the clarity went out the window. 

After about 20 minutes with the metronome, it was super clean with music, and the roll hasn’t been a problem since. They just needed that time to clarify where the accents were and how they lined up with the down beat. 

My students have gotten so used to the metronome, that they know to ask for it when they need it. And it makes my day every time that they do!


Do you like to practice with a metronome? Do your students? Share in the iTapOnline Community Facebook Group and let me know!

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