There are several methods that I recommend to students that will help them to develop a solid foundation where musical timing is concerned. It might come as a little bit of a surprise to learn that three functions are potentially at play here or at least they should be. 1. Seeing the movement that is taking place, 2. Hearing the tick of the metronome, your foot tapping or notes and chords being played, 3. Sensing/feeling the timing.
The ultimate goal of being able to sense/feel the timing is something that doesn’t happen right away but with a lot of practice, it eventually will. Here is my recommendation of exercises that you should do along with the metronome which will help in the development of good timing: 1. Tap your right and left foot, 2. pat your right and left thigh, 3. Clap your hands. 4. Vocalize the count, 5. Snap your fingers on both hands, but only if you can do so in time with the metronome.
So, why do I recommend that you do these exercises on the right and left side? Here is some scientific data that will hopefully help to make my point, because whether we realize it or not as guitar players we are using both the right and left hemispheres of our brains:
Right-Brain Functions: Art Awareness, Creativity, Imagination, Intuition, Insight, Holistic Thought, Music Awareness, 3-D Forms, Left-hand Control.
Left-Brain Functions: Analytic thought, Logic, Language, Reasoning, Science, and Math, Writing Practice, Numbers Skills, Right-hand Control.
In conclusion, the right side of the brain is responsible for control of the left side of the body, and is the more artistic and creative side of the brain, whereas the left side of the brain is responsible for control of the right side of the body, and is the more academic and logical side of the brain.