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speed #1890181
05/02/12 10:19 PM
05/02/12 10:19 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 185
Md
M
manyhands Offline OP
Full Member
manyhands  Offline OP
Full Member
M
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 185
Md
I'm told to play slowly and accurately rather than up to designated tempo with errors. then we move on to next piece. I'm told in another year or two I will have the speed. Right now it feels incomplete. It takes all my practice time (2 separate hrs daily) to learn the week's material, not much time to get old pieces finished. comments on my frustration and uncertainty? what is accepted piano teaching practice? At least I have the luxury of being retired!


many hands many smiles

Big Mama Yama U1
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Re: speed [Re: manyhands] #1890193
05/02/12 10:36 PM
05/02/12 10:36 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,496
Virginia, USA
A
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Andy Platt  Offline
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A
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,496
Virginia, USA
Speed is definitely one of those things that comes with time. It also comes with being able to remove tension which is why pushing things can be difficult.

The issue on whether it is better to play many pieces, but not completely "finish" them or whether it is better to polish them has been mentioned a lot. Most people would take a middle ground. I think it's worth, if you have a couple of pieces you want to keep working on, to discuss that with your teacher.

Another thing is - does your teacher know how much you practice. It could easily be that they think you are coping just fine. Again, a discussion to have.

Lastly, as your reading improves you will find working on pieces gets easier and quicker. So make sure you spend time on that. Play pieces that you can relatively easily read at first sight to build that strength up.


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3
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Re: speed [Re: manyhands] #1890201
05/02/12 10:46 PM
05/02/12 10:46 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,365
Southern California
S
Sand Tiger Offline
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Sand Tiger  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,365
Southern California
You are working with a teacher, so talk to him/her about your concerns. Slowly and accurately is better practice than at tempo with big mistakes.

My suggestion is to spend 20% of your practice time on the older pieces. If you don't get as far on the new lesson, that's okay to me. It may mean that it takes more weeks to learn a new piece. I wouldn't worry that other students may be learning at a faster pace. Everyone has their own pace.

Another suggestion is to spend another 20% of practice time on basics and technique, such as scales, playing with a metronome, increasing tempo, arpeggios. These 20% time slices are suggested in the book "The Musician's Way."

Even with 40% gone from the two hours of time, that still leaves over an hour to work on the week's lesson. To me, that seems like a good amount of time for a hobbyist (vs. a full time music student or professional musician). If the lessons are too hard to learn in an hour a day, perhaps back off on the difficulty of these new pieces. The exception might be if a person has their heart set on learning certain pieces, in which case it may take more weeks. Again, talk to your teacher and see what he/she thinks about all this.

Re: speed [Re: manyhands] #1890374
05/03/12 09:54 AM
05/03/12 09:54 AM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 501
pacific nw, usa
L
leemax Offline
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leemax  Offline
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L
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 501
pacific nw, usa
I think it's important to get your pieces up to performance level. The teacher I had for years, who was very highly respected in our area, definitely believed in slow and accurate practice but with the goal of having the piece memorized and up to tempo before "leaving" it. (But even then, probably revisiting it enough to keep it in your mind and hands.) She felt that if it was not possible to get a piece up to tempo then it was too difficult and should not be started in the first place. I agree with her 100%. There is so much wonderful music at all skill levels that there is no reason not to have a repertoire of preformance-level pieces. That is what can give you a sense of accomplishment.


Lee
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Re: speed [Re: manyhands] #1890412
05/03/12 11:08 AM
05/03/12 11:08 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,203
So. California
jazzwee Offline
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jazzwee  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,203
So. California
The teacher probably will be more productive focusing on newer pieces and thus newer challenges. This is important since it is more important, with limited time, to learn more new things. Since you already learned what needs to be done, it is up to you to bring your older pieces to performance level (you could always have your teacher review it then).

Although everyone says the only way to bring up speed is slow practice, I have not followed this.

I think that as part of practice, you have to deliberately stretch your speed as it will expose issues that need work (like where tension begins). My first forays into speed was in scales and nudging the metronome up bit by bit.

The hardest thing is to hear evenness as you raise the speed. Sometimes you think you're doing it ok because your ears are not ready for speed. So let me let you in on a secret. Speed is as much tied to your ears as with your fingers. If you can't hear individual notes but just hear a blur then you're not ready. Listen more.




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Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Electro 4 HP

Re: speed [Re: manyhands] #1890449
05/03/12 11:48 AM
05/03/12 11:48 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 622
UK
samasap Offline
500 Post Club Member
samasap  Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 622
UK
I think it's good to learn a piece slowly and accurately, but I think you should be able to work to reaching the correct tempo before moving on as like you say it won't sound finished and as the song should be played and sound.

With my pupils and personally when learning new songs in my band it's good to use a drum beat and gradually increase this until you reach your target speed.

Perhaps have a chat with your teacher about how you feel as they may be thinking you are getting bored and are trying to keep things lively and challenging, just explain that you would like to play your song in the same speed as the original piece and ask if you can work towards this with new pieces moving forward.

Re: speed [Re: manyhands] #1890596
05/03/12 04:55 PM
05/03/12 04:55 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,630
Ireland (ex England)
Z
zrtf90 Offline
3000 Post Club Member
zrtf90  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Z
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,630
Ireland (ex England)

Slow and accurate is the way to practise. Once the piece is memorised the speed will follow and you only have to play the piece a few times each weekend to keep it up to standard, it doesn't have to interfere with your new pieces.

The speed will also develop as your technique grows from learning other pieces - you won't necessarily have to work the old pieces faster - you'll just end up playing them faster.

If you record and date your playing now and listen again in a couple of months you'll be surprised how much quicker you get without even trying.



Richard
Re: speed [Re: zrtf90] #1891099
05/04/12 01:11 PM
05/04/12 01:11 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,338
Costa del Sol
SwissMS Offline

2000 Post Club Member
SwissMS  Offline

2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,338
Costa del Sol
I agree that slow and accurate practice is the way to learn a piece, but once you know it I believe you have to deliberately push the pace up little by little. It also helps to listen to You tube videos of the piece played at tempo so that you start hearing it that way. I increase the metronome by 10 bpm and step the piece up to tempo as accurately as can. When I hit a speed wall I stay there until the piece is flowing smoothly without tension. Sometimes it takes a long time!

Re: speed [Re: manyhands] #1891123
05/04/12 01:37 PM
05/04/12 01:37 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,630
Ireland (ex England)
Z
zrtf90 Offline
3000 Post Club Member
zrtf90  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Z
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,630
Ireland (ex England)
It may well depend on the piece and the speed you currently play it at but I find the best way to increase speed is by sudden burst not by gradual increase. The frequent analogy used is where a horse changes from a walk to a trot, to a canter, to a run. One is not a faster version of the other but a different action. Like our walking and running. Running is not a fast walk. Gradually increasing the tempo frequently leads to speed walls.

I don't think I've ever increased speed gradually. I tend to go from slow steady practise speed to recital speed in one go. I don't stop playing slowly when I get there either.
Now my slow steady speed gets faster - but not to me. It's still slow and steady to me, but the sudden burst to recital speed is quite distinct.

My scales are the same; I have a slow steady speed (which is much faster than when I started), a medium speed and a fast lick - I don't measure it or monitor it.






Richard
Re: speed [Re: manyhands] #1891162
05/04/12 02:52 PM
05/04/12 02:52 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 804
Another Country
Eglantine Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 01 2013
Eglantine  Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 01 2013

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 804
Another Country
I'm with Richard on this one. When a piece is falling into place, I like to try it quite a bit faster, just for fun, then go slower again, alternate this pattern in a fairly random way. I find the 'slower' is then - two or three days later - somewhat faster than when I started. Turning up the speed a few notches also helps me to discover possible problems (hand/fingering) and iron then out.

I only use a metronome to work out/firm up relative note values, for example when I'm faced with unfamiliar suspensions with a wide range of note values. At the moment, I'm using it to ensure that my ornaments have the correct basic time values and fit in with the surrounding notes - particularly important in the LH of this Ground I'm working on, which needs a strict beat in the LH.


Currently working on: F. Couperin - Preludes & Sweelinck - Fantasia Chromatica
J.S. Bach, Einaudi, Purcell, Froberger, Croft, Blow, Frescobaldi, Glass, Couperin
1930s upright (piano) & single manual William Foster (harpsichord)
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Re: speed [Re: manyhands] #1891187
05/04/12 03:52 PM
05/04/12 03:52 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 3,728
Pennsylvania
D
dmd Offline
3000 Post Club Member
dmd  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 3,728
Pennsylvania
I say ... be careful what you wish for.

Once you begin to infuse speed into the picture then the frustration begins.

Yes, try to increase speed. But only very slowly.

Do not start injecting errors into your playing.

That can begin to break down all you have worked for.

Try to nudge the speed up very slowly ... so you hardly notice it.

Keep playing error free.


Don

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors
Re: speed [Re: manyhands] #1891190
05/04/12 03:57 PM
05/04/12 03:57 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,430
Santa Fe, NM
J
jotur Offline
Gold Level
jotur  Offline
Gold Level
J
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,430
Santa Fe, NM
One of the things that helps me play faster is accents. If I don't play musically, knowing where the phrasing, etc, goes, I get lost in all the notes laugh So when I practice slowly I pay attention to the pick-up notes, the syncopation if there is any, where the piece breathes, etc.

I do both the slow increase and the speed bursts. The speed bursts let me know where the problems are so I can go back and figure those out - sometimes the problem in my left hand wouldn't be there if only the right hand knew what it was doing. So I have to fix the right hand. Or vice-versa.

I agree with SwissMS, too, that *hearing* it at a faster tempo is important. Sometimes the speed wall is just habit, for me.

But at any rate, I agree with everyone that it takes time. And, for me, so far anyway, I always have to bring tunes back up to speed if I haven't played them in awhile. They don't seem to *stick* at speed.

Cathy


Cathy
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Practice what you suck at - anonymous
Re: speed [Re: manyhands] #1893773
05/08/12 08:52 PM
05/08/12 08:52 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 185
Md
M
manyhands Offline OP
Full Member
manyhands  Offline OP
Full Member
M
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 185
Md
thank you all for the ideas...lots of food for thought, and it lets me know how others see this topic. Guess the idea is to see the piece as a musical way to learn techniques and not worry about speed/tempo (except to be consistent throughout) which may take care of itself if I'm playing accurately and become more familiar with the piece. Merci!


many hands many smiles

Big Mama Yama U1

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