Hey, remember the metronome? Sure, it helps everybody learn to obey rhythm (one of the musts of playing any musical instrument – especially in an ensemble), but you’ll probably reach for an alternative that works great for guitar class: a drum machine.

Not sure which machine will work best for your class? The Alesis SR-16 is a trusted make, known for going the distance.

You can also find the Zoom RT-223 retailing for about the same price. Preset patterns are your friend, and the latter offers more than 400 of them.

If purchasing a traditional drum machine makes you feel like a luddite, there’s a plethora of free or low-cost digital alternatives. Garageband is a widely-used program and Mixcraft by Acoustica is another good one, available for PC. Drum Beats + is featured in this video and may perk up your students’ ears:

The app features beats from highly-recognizable songs, which could give students a chance to improvise and let loose. Yep, we’ve come a long way from the good old fashioned metronome!

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