Sunday, December 5, 2010

Interactive Metronome on the Cheap

A mechanical wind-up metronome in motionImage via WikipediaIn these budget conscious times, not everyone has access to all the therapy that he would like to have. So, I posted a way to do something similar.  I found the information on the interactive metronome (IM) below on a forum, so take it at your own risk.  I think IM with a provider is the better way to go as you get the feedback from the IM software.  IM provides guide tones that let you know if you are way off or just a bit off.  Using the method below doesn't give you the same feedback so you aren't sure if you are off.

The research study is available at the IM web site. The paper is titled "Training in Timing Improves Accuracy in Golf" and can be found under their research page. Here the link for their research web site. The research paper is the 9th one listed from the top of the page. All you will need to print out are the pages 86 and 87 (or if you would like more details, read pages 84 to 87). This session breakdown provides a good guideline for the exercises, but I figure that you would do just as well if you create your own exercise program, as long as you find tasks that require you to keep timing with the metronome.
The basic goal of the exercises is to learn to keep timing using various tasks. There are 13 different tasks and 12 sessions mentioned in the paper. A typical session is for about 50 minutes (about 2500 beats) and each includes a series of different tasks. So for instance on session 4 you would do 1000 beats of clappings hands, then 500 beats of both toes tapping, 500 beats of nonpreferred hand and 250 of a mixture of all the previous ones. The metronome should be set to 54 bps for all the exercises.
The core portion of the exercises consist of the first 6 tasks which make up about 60% of the the program. The remaining exercises mainly include 2 task that use one hand and the opposite leg simultanously (i.e preferred hand and non-preferred toe) and a variety of sequences(i.e. 4 reps of clapping hands, followed by 4 reps of both toes).

The first 6 exercises are: Clapping hands, Preferred hand, Non-preferred hand, Both Toes, Preferred toe and Non-preferred toe. Here's a description of each:

- Clapping hands: Make sure you are not bringing your hand straight back and forth as you clap, since it's hard to keep a rhythm with this motion. For a more rhythmic feel, use a circular motion of about 10 inches in diameter with each hand. The hands should come together at the same time as the beat of the metronome and the circular path should be continued, without stopping after the beat.
- Preferred hand: With a similar circular motion as above, tap the preferred hand on leg.
- Non-preferred hand: Same as above, but with non-preferred hand.
- Both toes: Sitting on a stool or chair, tap both toes on beat with the metronome. Tapping on a hard surface will help, since the sound of the tapping will give some feedback on how close you are the metronome beat.
- Preferred toe: tap just the preferred toe. You can sit or stand for this one.
- Non-preferred toe: same as above with non-preferred toe.
Here is a sample of the remaining exercises:
- Preferred hand and Non-preferred toe simulataneously
- Alternate 4 beats of clapping hands with 4 beats of preferred hand for 250 beats

There are 12 session described in the research paper but IM recommends 15 sessions in total. So for the remaining sessions, you can either repeat one of the previous sessions or make up your own. I think the main thing here is to spend a significant amount of time working on a variety of timing based tasks. The IM program recommends about 3 sessions per week. So the whole program would take about 5 weeks to complete.

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