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Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: RogerRL] #2850441
05/20/19 01:58 PM
05/20/19 01:58 PM
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Colin Miles Offline
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Originally Posted by RogerRL


Graham Fitch has several videos on youtube where he goes into this sort of practice in depth, with examples. There's all kinds of ways to vary the practice that he goes into, and that seems pointless for me to type out when he is a teacher and I am not.

Pointless yes and rather wordy - just listen to Graham


Roland LX7

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Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2850460
05/20/19 02:52 PM
05/20/19 02:52 PM
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My twopence worth. I think that if you have been doing a lot of slow practice (which you mentioned somewhere or other) it's possible that you have got into a kind of 'slow playing rut' which is difficult to break out of. I think it would be helpful to pick up some nice pieces that are enjoyable to play so that you can get into 'fast playing mode,' and, assuming you are restarting at about grade 6 ABRSM, I recommend the Bach Musette in D and the Clementi Sonatinas OP 36. Kind of 'let rip!' Those pieces are really enjoyable to play and don't have the complexity of such things as the likes of Montagues and Capulets - heavens, I enjoy listening to that but the amount of time I'd have to invest in practicing to it outweighs any pleasure I'd get from it (although, I have to admit I'd happily play a simplified version of that, it's a fun piece but to me no more than that.)


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Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2850491
05/20/19 04:45 PM
05/20/19 04:45 PM
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KevinM Online content OP
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I tried cmb13’s exercises. I think I am going to make them part of my daily routine for a while. I can’t do a lot of repetitions at once as I find them hard on my hands. Particularly for my right hand getting my wrist to rotate to play them feels necessary and that kind nd of feels like the point.

Thanks again Craig.


Learning Mendelssohn Song without Words Op. 19 No. 2, Schumann Bunte Blätter Stücklein Op. 99 No. 1. Jensen Sehnsucht Op. 8 No. 5. Schumann Kinderszenen Op15 No1, Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen.
Digital piano: Casio Celviano AP-470. Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: petebfrance] #2850510
05/20/19 06:21 PM
05/20/19 06:21 PM
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KevinM Online content OP
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Originally Posted by petebfrance
My twopence worth. I think that if you have been doing a lot of slow practice (which you mentioned somewhere or other) it's possible that you have got into a kind of 'slow playing rut' which is difficult to break out of. I think it would be helpful to pick up some nice pieces that are enjoyable to play so that you can get into 'fast playing mode,' and, assuming you are restarting at about grade 6 ABRSM, I recommend the Bach Musette in D and the Clementi Sonatinas OP 36. Kind of 'let rip!' Those pieces are really enjoyable to play and don't have the complexity of such things as the likes of Montagues and Capulets - heavens, I enjoy listening to that but the amount of time I'd have to invest in practicing to it outweighs any pleasure I'd get from it (although, I have to admit I'd happily play a simplified version of that, it's a fun piece but to me no more than that.)


I remember both of the Bach Musette in D and the Clementi Opus 36 from learning as a child. I have avoided going over material I learnt as a child. I did not want that comparison. But the Clementi Sonatina is the kind of thing I was thinking of. Fairly simple and can be played quite quickly.


Learning Mendelssohn Song without Words Op. 19 No. 2, Schumann Bunte Blätter Stücklein Op. 99 No. 1. Jensen Sehnsucht Op. 8 No. 5. Schumann Kinderszenen Op15 No1, Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen.
Digital piano: Casio Celviano AP-470. Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2850525
05/20/19 07:25 PM
05/20/19 07:25 PM
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Florida
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I tried cmb13’s exercises. I think I am going to make them part of my daily routine for a while. I can’t do a lot of repetitions at once as I find them hard on my hands. Particularly for my right hand getting my wrist to rotate to play them feels necessary and that kind nd of feels like the point.

Thanks again Craig.


Great! Hope they help. I’ve been doing them for a few weeks and I think I have a few more to go before exhausting the potential. Only about 20 min per day. If nothing more, it’s a fun warmup.

Last edited by cmb13; 05/20/19 07:26 PM.

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Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2850824
05/21/19 04:52 PM
05/21/19 04:52 PM
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I believe this is different for everyone. Myself, I don't have the problem of being slow, in fact speed is one of the few things I seem to have retained over my 15 years of absence from the piano. What I've lost is the *control*. I can play fast, but it sounds uneven or - worse - like it's being played by someone who's just not very musical. I hate that.

I could probably handle it if I was simply back to being a beginner. I'd just bite the bullet and do it all over again. But to have retained part of the skill and lost the other half, is very frustrating.

Kevin, do you find that more things come back to you the longer you practise? This has happened to me, like my fingers and synapses remember gradually what they're supposed to do.


Sibylle

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Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: Sibylle] #2850842
05/21/19 05:48 PM
05/21/19 05:48 PM
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KevinM Online content OP
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Originally Posted by Sibylle
I believe this is different for everyone. Myself, I don't have the problem of being slow, in fact speed is one of the few things I seem to have retained over my 15 years of absence from the piano. What I've lost is the *control*. I can play fast, but it sounds uneven or - worse - like it's being played by someone who's just not very musical. I hate that.

I could probably handle it if I was simply back to being a beginner. I'd just bite the bullet and do it all over again. But to have retained part of the skill and lost the other half, is very frustrating.

Kevin, do you find that more things come back to you the longer you practise? This has happened to me, like my fingers and synapses remember gradually what they're supposed to do.


It has definitely been a leapfrogging experience when part of one skill returned while others lagged, and then another would have a big jump in ability. At times definitely frustrating.

The thing I just seem to be lacking now in any consequential way from my childhood playing is being able to play quickly. It is like my fingers can't even move quickly enough. Having control just doesn't even come into it.


Learning Mendelssohn Song without Words Op. 19 No. 2, Schumann Bunte Blätter Stücklein Op. 99 No. 1. Jensen Sehnsucht Op. 8 No. 5. Schumann Kinderszenen Op15 No1, Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen.
Digital piano: Casio Celviano AP-470. Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2850865
05/21/19 07:04 PM
05/21/19 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinM

It has definitely been a leapfrogging experience when part of one skill returned while others lagged, and then another would have a big jump in ability. At times definitely frustrating.

The thing I just seem to be lacking now in any consequential way from my childhood playing is being able to play quickly. It is like my fingers can't even move quickly enough. Having control just doesn't even come into it.


Having once been able to play fast and accurately as a kid, it will always be much easier to regain (or come close to regaining) that capability than someone starting from scratch as an adult and trying to develop the ability to play fast. Unfortunately, expectations of past experience can scupper what would seem to others to be rapid re-acquisition of skills.....

And don't forget too that with the passage of time, one can also have a false memory of how fast one was actually able to play once upon a time. Kids are also prone to sacrifice accuracy for speed. They feel a need, a need for speed (as Mr Cruise once proclaimed).

I've chatted to many adult re-learners and seen and heard them play, so I have no doubt that the higher the standard you reached as a kid before 'retirement', the quicker it will be to regain lost skills as an adult - even many decades further on. And even progress much further. Assuming, of course, that you haven't developed joint/muscular/coordination problems in the meantime.

But to be able to play fast, one must practise playing fast. Which is why technical stuff like scales and arpeggios (or pieces incorporating a lot of them) are all-important, because they allow one to practise moving fingers and hands (and everything else) at a fast pace without adding awkward hurdles to overcome (like twisting fingers into unnatural positions, or big leaps).

One thing is for sure - if you want to (be able to) play fast, you need to choose fast pieces to play, so that you're spending most of your time getting your fingers moving fast. Many adults like to play slow Romantic pieces (like Chopin nocturnes) and spend almost all their practise time with them, then wonder why they can't play those filigree stuff that Freddy likes to add on a whim wink in otherwise slow nocturnes. Remember that said Freddy adored Mozart......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2850873
05/21/19 07:43 PM
05/21/19 07:43 PM
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Where have you been Mr Ben ? I was worried about your absence. I was about to search an online search party smile.

I am puzzled Kevin what exactly the problem you are describing is. When I saw the pieces you are playing Kevin you do appear to be playing slow Romantic pieces. I too play a lot of these pieces. But struggling to play your pieces faster is not in my view not being able to play fast. You are not playing any fast pieces so how do you know you cant play fast? The difficult you are describing is a difficulty in playing more complex polyphonic and texture music up to speed. This comes with practice.

As suggested I think you need to pick faster pieces. You need to fing faster pieces that have a simple in melody. Monophonic. Not dreamy and slow like a Chopin Nocturne. Even you want to play slower dreamy pieces you still have options. John Field Nocturnes is a good option for a slow nocturne with chance to play faster passages. I played this one but there are 18 to pick from in the book. Though a more complex in places there have some faster runs which are more classical and helps with the speed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFc4ji_NffU

Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: Moo :)] #2850891
05/21/19 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Moo :)
Where have you been Mr Ben ? I was worried about your absence. I was about to search an online search party smile.

I was actually (on) a tiny speck in the middle of nowhere. Even my ancient trusty Garmin Geko (not a lizard) which I normally rely on to tell me that I've lost myself, said: "It does not compute".

But I did have a nice grand to play on...... grin
Quote
I think you need to pick faster pieces. You need to fing faster pieces that have a simple in melody. Monophonic. Not dreamy and slow like a Chopin Nocturne.

Nine years ago, when a piano suddenly materialised in my flat, the only pieces I wanted to play were all fast ones. Because (as I've often mentioned before) slow pieces tend to bore me. I like to live in the fast lane.

Of course, my fingers were all over the place, and were 'stiff' and uncooperative. A simple C major scale (think K545) sounded more clumsy than a beginner trying to play it with 1-2-3-4-5-4-5-4. Or a cat trying to play it with one paw. But things loosened up bit by bit, and I eventually found my fingers again, followed soon after by my wrists, forearms, elbows and upper arms.

After a few months, I started on my first slow piece (or rather, a piece that had slow bits in it), because by then I could play fast pieces properly........

Incidentally, I don't believe one need to always never practise faster than one has complete control. Every now and then, one should 'let oneself go' and go for sheer speed simply for fun, and more importantly, to get the digits used to moving speedily. Like a distance runner sprinting occasionally while doing fartlek, even though in races, he'll run at a controlled measured pace. But just like he has to know how fast he can run without hitting the wall towards the end of a marathon, a pianist must also know how much he can push himself in performance (as opposed to 'trying things out' during practising), which will get further if he regularly pushes his limits and beyond in practise.

On the other hand, just like a slow marathoner who only practises running LSD (long slow distance, not what some people might think of wink ) and ends up running a long slow marathon, if one only practises piano predominantly slowly because one doesn't want to ever lose complete control, one will never develop speed. Think like a child - which child will walk if he/she can run instead?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2851047
05/22/19 09:32 AM
05/22/19 09:32 AM
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Some mentioned Graham and I think his book series is great and touches on some interesting and effective ways of breaking down practice and developing technique. For my part, i'm very much beginner level but I think accurate speed for pieces was helped by slow practice broken in sections, light touch. I mean very light. Then working that up and playing maybe one measure or short series of notes higher than tempo over and over, then going back to slow, then at tempo. It's kind of individual I would guess, try a variety of methods. But for me, important not to overkill any one day, spread out over days a reasonable time, maybe 20 minutes and move on to something else.

Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2851111
05/22/19 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by "bennevis"
And don't forget too that with the passage of time, one can also have a false memory of how fast one was actually able to play once upon a time.


In my case I don't think this is the case. My father who was always the one who was keen on me playing the piano, always pushed Mozart and the the rapid scales mozart at that. Often disdainful of my wish to play the romantics. He wasn't oppressive about it but his opinion was clear, compliments when I played pieces he liked well, never a compliment on something I thought was played well but not something he cared for.

Playing fast and accurate was what he liked and that is what would get positive feedback.

Originally Posted by "bennevis
But to be able to play fast, one must practise playing fast. Which is why technical stuff like scales and arpeggios (or pieces incorporating a lot of them) are all-important, because they allow one to practise moving fingers and hands (and everything else) at a fast pace without adding awkward hurdles to overcome (like twisting fingers into unnatural positions, or big leaps).


I think this accurately captures my problem. I've been playing what I enjoy (Mendelssohn, Schumann and now some Chopin) and mostly missed out on, I have as a consequence left out playing anything which has any significant amount of fast play being required. Except for one Schumann piece, I can play nicely at half tempo but I can never get it up to speed and it is not a good choice for getting my fingers used to moving rapidly.

I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and accept relearning some pieces I learnt as a child again. The Clementi, Bach and Mozart simple but quicker pieces that have been suggested so far I learnt as a child. I have been resistant to doing so, so as not to compare myself to my child self.

Much as I like playing the slower pieces, to become a generally better piano player I need to do this.

Last edited by KevinM; 05/22/19 12:09 PM.

Learning Mendelssohn Song without Words Op. 19 No. 2, Schumann Bunte Blätter Stücklein Op. 99 No. 1. Jensen Sehnsucht Op. 8 No. 5. Schumann Kinderszenen Op15 No1, Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen.
Digital piano: Casio Celviano AP-470. Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2851125
05/22/19 12:44 PM
05/22/19 12:44 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and accept relearning some pieces I learnt as a child again. The Clementi, Bach and Mozart simple but quicker pieces that have been suggested so far I learnt as a child. I have been resistant to doing so, so as not to compare myself to my child self.

Well, that would be a choice if you wanted to revisit the pieces of your youth. There are many fast pieces at the level you are at now, which you've never played before. As just one example, I'm looking right now in one of the RCM repertoire books and I see Sonatina in A Minor, Op 94 No 4, by Albert Biehl is a common time piece which has a performance tempo of crochet/quarter-note = 144-160 BPM. (BTW, this piece is the same RCM level as Clementi Sonatina in C Major, Op 36 No 1, so if you were considering revisiting that particular Clementi sonatina, you could just learn this Biehl sonatina instead and not be retracing your steps of decades before.)


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2851129
05/22/19 12:48 PM
05/22/19 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by KevinM
I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and accept relearning some pieces I learnt as a child again. The Clementi, Bach and Mozart simple but quicker pieces that have been suggested so far I learnt as a child. I have been resistant to doing so, so as not to compare myself to my child self.

Well, that would be a choice if you wanted to revisit the pieces of your youth. There are many fast pieces at the level you are at now, which you've never played before. As just one example, I'm looking right now in one of the RCM repertoire books and I see Sonatina in A Minor, Op 94 No 4, by Albert Biehl is a common time piece which has a performance tempo of crochet/quarter-note = 144-160 BPM. (BTW, this piece is the same RCM level as Clementi Sonatina in C Major, Op 36 No 1, so if you were considering revisiting that particular Clementi sonatina, you could just learn this Biehl sonatina instead and not be retracing your steps of decades before.)


Thanks Tyrone, who needs google or Duck Duck Go when they have their own Tyrone.


Learning Mendelssohn Song without Words Op. 19 No. 2, Schumann Bunte Blätter Stücklein Op. 99 No. 1. Jensen Sehnsucht Op. 8 No. 5. Schumann Kinderszenen Op15 No1, Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen.
Digital piano: Casio Celviano AP-470. Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2851139
05/22/19 01:00 PM
05/22/19 01:00 PM
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Seems I am out of luck for when it comes to immediate gratification. Henle doesn't list any Biehl and music notes where I have bought scores from in the past only has a Biehl Sonatina in C Major.


Learning Mendelssohn Song without Words Op. 19 No. 2, Schumann Bunte Blätter Stücklein Op. 99 No. 1. Jensen Sehnsucht Op. 8 No. 5. Schumann Kinderszenen Op15 No1, Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen.
Digital piano: Casio Celviano AP-470. Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2851141
05/22/19 01:06 PM
05/22/19 01:06 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by KevinM
Seems I am out of luck for when it comes to immediate gratification. Henle doesn't list any Biehl and music notes where I have bought scores from in the past only has a Biehl Sonatina in C Major.

For Op 94 No 4, you can buy a PDF here, however if you spend more than the 60 seconds I spent searching for you wink , probably you'll find a completely free version on IMSLP or somewhere else. (BTW, this was the book I was looking in just now, but it wouldn't make sense for you to buy this just to get that one piece...)


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2851231
05/22/19 05:35 PM
05/22/19 05:35 PM
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Playing fast is a technical problem. I don't think being an adult returner has much to do with solving this technical problem or any other technical problem. Having a good teacher and time are the two things needed.

Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2851236
05/22/19 06:30 PM
05/22/19 06:30 PM
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KevinM Online content OP
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by KevinM
Seems I am out of luck for when it comes to immediate gratification. Henle doesn't list any Biehl and music notes where I have bought scores from in the past only has a Biehl Sonatina in C Major.

For Op 94 No 4, you can buy a PDF here, however if you spend more than the 60 seconds I spent searching for you wink , probably you'll find a completely free version on IMSLP or somewhere else. (BTW, this was the book I was looking in just now, but it wouldn't make sense for you to buy this just to get that one piece...)


I have had a chance to check that out now. I just don’t think it is fast enough To cause me much problem. I have been giving Mozart K545 a go. Surprised to find out that Henle rates that a difficulty of 5. Playing it as fast as expected is going to be fun though.

Thanks for the suggestion though.


Learning Mendelssohn Song without Words Op. 19 No. 2, Schumann Bunte Blätter Stücklein Op. 99 No. 1. Jensen Sehnsucht Op. 8 No. 5. Schumann Kinderszenen Op15 No1, Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen.
Digital piano: Casio Celviano AP-470. Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2851246
05/22/19 06:49 PM
05/22/19 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I have been giving Mozart K545 a go. Surprised to find out that Henle rates that a difficulty of 5. Playing it as fast as expected is going to be fun though.



I would suggest that there's lots more where that came from (i.e. Wolfie), which you can use to build up speed - and enjoy yourself at the same time playing wonderful music.

Like K332 - the first two movements are fairly easy, but the finale is a wonderful workout to get your fingers building up to supersonic speed (but don't forget there's the sound barrier to overcome). It's actually easier than it sounds:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPaLcBD79L4


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Playing fast for adult returners [Re: KevinM] #2851338
05/23/19 05:26 AM
05/23/19 05:26 AM
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Bulgaria
I'd say, get back to the fundamentals. Incorporate scales and arpeggios into your practice, work with a metronome and slowly ramp up the tempo by about 5 beats or so until you reach your desires speed.

For fast pieces it is important to consider how you move on the keyboard. Are you making excessive/exagerated movements? You need to be precise. In a slower piece you can do pretty much anything and you will be able to play it. With faster pieces you need to have economy and efficiency of your movements.

I hope I'm making some sense. I'm a little rusty on my knowledge and playing. I just returned to playing yesterday myself but I remember my piano professor explaining something similar when I was struggling some years ago.

Don't rush it and enjoy the ride. I know I will be taking it slow.


Check this excellent video which covers the subject.

https://youtu.be/odfmWZTqogw

Last edited by Teodor; 05/23/19 05:30 AM.

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