So, whenever I am practicing “for real” I always use my Metronome!
Keeping time or the ability to play in time is a vital skill for any musician and critical for your audience’s enjoyment of your recital, concert or performance. And as is the case for many things musical, the simplest of things are sometimes difficult to grasp. 😉
The musical definition of time is: “Time is the rate at which the future becomes the present.” This, of course is a double edge sword 😉 – in that, once a note is played you can’t take it back! Obviously, because it has already happened -it is in the past! While this might seem to give us a “free pass” on mistakes, it doesn’t! But, it does remind us that once a note is played you no longer focus on it – instead, you should concentrate on your immediate musical future – which is about to become your musical present! 😉 Now that we have the theoretical mumbo jumbo out of the way, playing in time is simply a matter of attentiveness to the beat.
Luckily, most folks do have some sort of innate sense of time which allows them the ability to clap or keep time with the favorite music. As a musician, you want to be sure that your musical skill set – “chops” – exceed that of most folks – your listeners 😉
Lastly, for my students who wish to keep in touch with their “artist-self” and wish to avoid intervention in the creative process, I suggest that you just think of the metronome as a stand-in for a drummer 😉