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#1999148 - 12/13/12 10:15 PM I've fallen in love with my metronome!  
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 5,469
gooddog Offline
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Seattle area, WA
"Slow practice means fast progress" was quoted by Michelle Mares, a one time student of Leon Fleisher, (and Alfred Brendel). I had the fortune to attend her master classes this past summer at the VCM piano academy.

I had never used a metronome in all my decades of playing. I finally bought one about 4 years ago but I just didn't understand how to use it. It wasn't until this past summer that its spectacular benefits finally penetrated my thick brain. This may be completely obvious to most of you but it was an eye-opener for me.

Michelle related how she had to learn a difficult, modern piece of music that she was to play as a member of an orchestra. (I just don't remember which piece). This is how she learned in it just a few days:

Find the speed at which you can play the passage without mistakes. This might mean you are sight reading and playing very, very slowly. Play it that way until you are sure you can play it without mistakes. Then crank the metronome up a notch. Repeat. Repeat. I've been doing this and I am astounded at my progress. Not only is my practice time more productive, I am learning much faster and I have a numerical measure of my progress. I've also used the metronome to conquer my tendency to speed up when I get excited.

I would never advocate using the metronome exclusively because it can cause playing to become mechanical. Of course, I then turn it off and start listening hard to add rubato and expression.

The last few pages of the Ballade are finally coming together. Fast progress = slow practice, indeed!


Best regards,

Deborah
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#1999153 - 12/13/12 10:26 PM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: gooddog]  
Joined: Jun 2001
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Vid Offline
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Hey Deborah,

I think the piece she was talking about was written by Elliot Carter = modern and difficult!

I hear you about metronome practice. I've been applying it to not just slow practice, but practicing things in small sections and using the metronome at different settings to get them up to speed faster (hands separate is key). I'm hoping to avoid the dreaded speed walls that have always plagued my progress.

Its a tough groove to get into because you give up some of the more immediate gratification of playing a piece from beginning to end, but I think the payoff makes it worth it.


Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D
#1999156 - 12/13/12 10:40 PM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: gooddog]  
Joined: Dec 2001
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Ralph Offline
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Delaware (slower/lower)
Good fingering and slow practice will get you far. I use the metronome only to keep me slow while learning the piece, never at tempo.


Do or do not. There is no try.
#1999164 - 12/13/12 10:58 PM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: Ralph]  
Joined: Jun 2008
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gooddog Offline
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Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted by Ralph
I use the metronome only to keep me slow while learning the piece, never at tempo.
I've actually used it to practice above tempo, and I was sure glad I did. I was practicing the first movement of Bach's D minor concerto at MM92 but cranked it up quite a bit higher for some practice sessions just to see if I could pull it off. When I practiced it with a youth orchestra, the conductor insisted on MM84. I kept asking for a faster tempo and was completely exasperated when he wouldn't budge. He told me, "the excitement of the performance will cause you to speed up." Well he was wrong. My tempo was just fine...MM92. HE was the one who who sped up - well above 100. I was thunderstruck by his tempo but, fortunately, I was prepared.


Best regards,

Deborah
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#1999181 - 12/13/12 11:27 PM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: Vid]  
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gooddog Offline
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Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted by Vid
Its a tough groove to get into because you give up some of the more immediate gratification of playing a piece from beginning to end, but I think the payoff makes it worth it.
That's the truth. The progress is even more exhilarating than stumbling through a piece for the emotional and aural satisfaction.

Vid, how are you? Will you be coming to VCM "camp" again this summer? Our wine and music sessions were so much fun. I plan to. So are Joan, Carol and Dan. I hope Bruce joins us too.

I think I'm going to ask for lessons with Ed and Anna.


Best regards,

Deborah
#1999183 - 12/13/12 11:30 PM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: gooddog]  
Joined: Jun 2005
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Derulux Offline
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Philadelphia
I've always had a problem with this. And I don't mean that I disagree.. I mean I've always had a problem putting it into practice! wink But you are absolutely on-par. Slow practice achieves greater results every time.

My question is: when is the wedding, and can I be best man? It's been a while since I was "in" a wedding... laugh


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#1999193 - 12/13/12 11:39 PM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: Derulux]  
Joined: Jun 2008
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gooddog Offline
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Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted by Derulux
My question is: when is the wedding, and can I be best man? It's been a while since I was "in" a wedding... laugh
I assume you are talking about my son's wedding? The date hasn't been set yet but the best men have already been decided: his brother and his best friend. We will be sure to invite you along with Martha, and Valentina and Murray and Manny and Yefim and Andras and Van and Mitsuko and Andre and others. I don't think Volodya or Arthur or Emils will be able to make it.


Best regards,

Deborah
#1999198 - 12/13/12 11:51 PM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: gooddog]  
Joined: May 2001
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BruceD Offline
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Victoria, BC
Originally Posted by gooddog
Originally Posted by Derulux
My question is: when is the wedding, and can I be best man? It's been a while since I was "in" a wedding... laugh
I assume you are talking about my son's wedding? The date hasn't been set yet but the best men have already been decided: his brother and his best friend. We will be sure to invite you along with Martha, and Valentina and Murray and Manny and Yefim and Andras and Van and Mitsuko and Andre and others. I don't think Volodya or Arthur or Emils will be able to make it.


Oh? Her son's wedding? Not the result of the new "love affair" that Deborah is having with her metronome?

Cheers!


BruceD
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Estonia 190
#1999205 - 12/14/12 12:05 AM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: BruceD]  
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gooddog Offline
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Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted by BruceD
Oh? Her son's wedding? Not the result of the new "love affair" that Deborah is having with her metronome?

Cheers!
Oh. blush Looks like I missed a joke here. My one track mind is focused on my son. I get it. Love my metronome. LOL.


Best regards,

Deborah
#1999213 - 12/14/12 12:24 AM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: gooddog]  
Joined: Dec 2008
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Arghhh Offline
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I missed the joke too. Your reply made complete sense to me!

#1999283 - 12/14/12 07:47 AM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: gooddog]  
Joined: Jan 2003
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apple* Offline
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Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
i always loved my metronome.. the way it would wind and swing back and forth.. sometimes fast and sometimes slow. I spent a lot of time winding it.. it seemed so special.

it really is one of my finest possessions. go figure. it sits proimently on my decorative shelves, and has always seemed just a little off. I still adjust a little foot pad occasionally. I use my digital mostly now. have done a lot of ensemble work so perfect tempo is essential.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
#1999318 - 12/14/12 09:58 AM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: gooddog]  
Joined: Jul 2004
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Dave Horne Offline
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Vught, The Netherlands
I always write this, try having the clicks (in 4\4) represent beats two and four instead of beats one and three.

You'd be surprised just how difficult this can be at first. smile



website | mp3\wav files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
#1999332 - 12/14/12 10:38 AM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: gooddog]  
Joined: Apr 2005
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Piano*Dad Online content
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Williamsburg, VA
As a story, this one can't be beat.

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[Linked Image]
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[Linked Image]



#1999354 - 12/14/12 11:20 AM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: gooddog]  
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 122
asthecrowflies Offline
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Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 122
London, Cambridge, San Francis...
I'm embarrassed by how loud my metronome is. smirk sadly, i think it's part of the reason why i don't practice much with it. Maybe i need a bell-jar for her. :p


Currently working on: Bach Partita 4, English Suite 2, Toccata d-minor, Chopin-op 10/1, Schubert Impromptus
#1999437 - 12/14/12 03:12 PM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: gooddog]  
Joined: Jun 2001
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Vid Offline
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Vid  Offline
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Vancouver, B.C.
Originally Posted by gooddog

Vid, how are you? Will you be coming to VCM "camp" again this summer? Our wine and music sessions were so much fun. I plan to. So are Joan, Carol and Dan. I hope Bruce joins us too.

I think I'm going to ask for lessons with Ed and Anna.


I'm good. My piano group is putting on a recital in January in a venue where we get to perform on a Baldwin concert grand (which is in a space way too small for it!).

I hope I can make it again this year. Some members of my family are talking about a trip to Scotland so I'm not sure what my plan is yet. Of course if I do come we will have to do the wine tasting again. Since then I've become more acquainted with pianists that I was not familiar with before.

I would like to try some of the other teachers too. I've only really had lessons with a few including one with Michelle and Walter. I hope he will be there again this year.


Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D
#1999553 - 12/14/12 08:57 PM Re: I've fallen in love with my metronome! [Re: gooddog]  
Joined: Aug 2008
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trigalg693 Offline
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Apparently, the late Kämmerling would have entire lessons where he would hold the metronome and have you play with it.


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