Importance of Metronome
Metronome is the most import tool that a musician should have while practicing. It is applied to all musicians but it should be a top priority tool for drummers to practice and be able to play with you. As the drummer is always taken as the time keeper of the band, it is very important for him or her to stay steady on a tempo and not speed up or slow down. A change in the tempo of the song can completely change the feel of the song.
While practicing your basic grooves or tricky ones or while trying to incorporate fills in the grooves, the drummer should be steady on the tempo. It is not necessary to start a metronome while you are trying to figure out a tricky groove. It is recommended that you first execute the groove or a fill at slow tempo while keeping the orchestration and dynamics intact. Once you have done that, then you should try and play the pattern on a slow tempo along with a metronome and loop it till it sticks in your muscle memory. Once you are comfortable with it at a slower tempo, you can push the tempo by a few BPM (5-10 BPM) and repeat the same process till you reach the desired tempo. Depending on what you are practicing and how tough it is, you can choose the tempo between 70-90 BPM in quarter notes (4/4).
Metronomes are not hard to find now a days, you can find digital metronomes at nearly every music store. There are multiple freely available applications for your smart phone that you can download. You must try Korg SY 1M and Planet Waves PW-MT-01 as they are quite affordable.
Once you get used to a metronome, it will help you to stay in time and hold a steady beat. This will also help you when you go to a studio to record as all the studios will use a metronome to make sure everything is on time to get the best results.