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Increase speed increases errors
#2948642 02/18/20 04:27 PM
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I can't place very fast which I am trying to improve on. This Sonatina piece is Allegro (which is minimum of 110) and I can play it comfortably at about 75. I've tried moving the metronome up a notch or two at a time. I've taken the runs and have done long, short, short; long, short, short etc and the opposite of that. I've played the runs so many times I have them memorized. But whenever I play it faster I make more errors and not just the runs. Playing the wrong note, not getting the accidental right, etc. I've been playing this piece for a month now so you would think I could get the notes right. I do have trouble with sight-reading which I work on every week. And I do have dyslexia where certain notes do get mixed up, but I wouldn't think that has any bearing on this piece because I'm so familiar with it now. I've played it very slowly too. What can I do to improve speed without errors. I'd rather play it slower and right then fast and sloppy. But I want to play faster!


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Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2948648 02/18/20 04:41 PM
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Well, "those who know" …. say speed will come naturally if you just keep playing it at a comfortable speed long enough.

Maybe try moving the metronome up just a single tick and staying with that for a while (week ?)with no errors and then another tick, etc …

If you feel stress while playing … it is too fast.


Don

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Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2948649 02/18/20 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by PatG
I can't place very fast which I am trying to improve on. This Sonatina piece is Allegro (which is minimum of 110) and I can play it comfortably at about 75. I've tried moving the metronome up a notch or two at a time. I've taken the runs and have done long, short, short; long, short, short etc and the opposite of that. I've played the runs so many times I have them memorized. But whenever I play it faster I make more errors and not just the runs. Playing the wrong note, not getting the accidental right, etc. I've been playing this piece for a month now so you would think I could get the notes right. I do have trouble with sight-reading which I work on every week. And I do have dyslexia where certain notes do get mixed up, but I wouldn't think that has any bearing on this piece because I'm so familiar with it now. I've played it very slowly too. What can I do to improve speed without errors. I'd rather play it slower and right then fast and sloppy. But I want to play faster!


I also have dyslexia and badly so I have some experience of this.

One thing I can't do, and similar with reading text, is look away briefly from the score and re-orient myself back into the score quickly. I think this is something that dyslexics will all have a hard time with.

I can return to the score but I can't do it quickly, so for me I need to memorise chunks, in the end I sometimes end up memorising the whole piece, but that is usually not my aim. But memorising a chunk at a time means that when I need to look at my hands, I have more of the score remembered than just the bit I need to briefly look away from the score for, but a chunk afterwards as well to give me time to re-orient to where I am in the score.

That is what I do and it mostly works for me. But sometimes being a bit experimental to work out what works for you might be a good idea. But that means instead of focussing on the immediate goal of getting this piece to be played without errors, but use it as a way to explore what you can do that works for you.

Good luck.

Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2948657 02/18/20 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by PatG
What can I do to improve speed without errors. I'd rather play it slower and right then fast and sloppy. But I want to play faster!


Speed is not something that comes easily. It does not depend on how many times you have played the run nor if you know it by heart or not. It just depends on your overall abilities and it takes time to develop. It is not related to this particular piece. It is probably not what you would like to hear, but sometimes you have to put pieces on the back burner if you cannot make them any better at this stage. When your level will increase, so will also the speed at which you can play. Of course there are also dedicated exercices which help you to practice speed. What you can do also is to extract the difficult parts of the sonatina and continue to use them as exercices in a back burner mode. When you see that you are getting confortable at a higher pace you can come back to this sonatina. You should also discuss the proper strategy with your teacher, that's what they are usefull for.

Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2948664 02/18/20 05:11 PM
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Speed, or lack thereof, is one of my biggest frustrations. As Sidokar said, sometimes you just have to move on and come back to it later. When I do that, I find it's best if I don't touch that piece at all for at least a month. There's always at least one thing about the piece that will feel easier when I return to it each time.

One other technique you could try is to practice playing just 2 notes, then 3, then 4 etc...as fast as you can. For example, if it's a 5-note run, you practice 1-2 over and over, then 2-3, then 3-4, then 4-5. Next time you do 1-2-3, 2-3-4, 3-4-5; then 1-2-3-4, 2-3-4-5. It won't happen overnight, but if you set aside 5 min a day to do this, maybe you'd see improvement in a week or two. I have tried this with some success.

Another thing I've done recently is use my right hand to "train" my left hand. There was one particular LH sixteenth note run that I couldn't play evenly when I sped up. I realized that even when I "played" the song in my head, that run had become distorted. So I started playing it correctly with my RH, then my LH would mimic that; back and forth 5-6 times. I did it for a few days in a row and it really helped. I did the same thing with the LH ornaments in the 2-Part Invention I'm working on. At my next lesson my teacher commented on how "delicate" they sounded. My LH has always been so clunky when I play ornaments, so I was incredibly pleased by that compliment!


I ❤️ Mendelssohn, Yann Tiersen, Heller
Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2948672 02/18/20 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by PatG
I've been playing this piece for a month now so you would think I could get the notes right.


If you find yourself thinking like this often, it might be part of the problem. I have said this type of thing to myself a lot...and all it does is make me tense and frustrated and everything gets harder.


I ❤️ Mendelssohn, Yann Tiersen, Heller
Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2948711 02/18/20 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by PatG
What can I do to improve speed without errors. I'd rather play it slower and right then fast and sloppy. But I want to play faster!


I have no idea how you get there from here.

My suggestion is to get comfortable playing fast and sloppy. Then we'll talk about how to eliminate errors.

Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2948735 02/18/20 08:24 PM
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In general, the faster you play, the less room there is for inadequate techniques. In other words, what you can get away with using inadequate technique while playing slowly, you can get away less as you increase the speed.

That is why some teachers would stop a student from practising a piece further for the time being and move on with something else. It's because the student has reached their current technical capabilities. There is no advantage in sticking with the piece forever. When the student builds up better techniques later one, some teacher would ask the student revisit an old piece and bring it up a notch.

Also to add, the techniques you practice slowly is not necessary the techniques you'd apply when playing fast, or you'd apply differently or in different doses. So when you practising slowly, always keep in mind what, how or how much to apply when playing fast. That way, you'll be practising for the right things when slow.

Good luck!






Last edited by Tubbie0075; 02/18/20 08:28 PM.

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Re: Increase speed increases errors
Tubbie0075 #2948762 02/18/20 10:06 PM
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I usually do not enter discussions on points like this as I am not a teacher, not professional, not anything. However, from quite a few decades of playing my own music it seems to me that the musical, mental and physical processes during fast playing are disparate from those in slow playing, and that the assumption that a continuum exists between the two is therefore flawed. In slower playing the mind can perceive individual notes and musical events but in fast execution everything tends to become chunked into groups, in the mind, aurally and physically. I have therefore always kept my control practice and velocity practice separate and employed quite different approaches to each. This may or may not be how established teaching sees the situation but it has largely worked for me over many years.

Last edited by Ted; 02/18/20 10:12 PM.

"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2948836 02/19/20 03:05 AM
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Hi

You don't say how long you have been learning piano for. Sometimes it is just time and patience that is needed to improve your finger strength to play fast.

A while ago I came across a YouTube video from PianoTV that said that one of the mistakes adults make is that they can understand the music they want to play but your hands are are not physically able to play it .

This resonated with me as I was trying to play pieces with 16th notes and could not get them up to speed no matter how much I tried. I decided to go right back to basics to work on simpler pieces to build the strength in my hands. This is working at can now play pieces with 8th notes comfortably with no mistakes with tempos up to 180 . Have not attempted 16th notes again yet.

I am using Faber and Faber Adult Piano Adventures All in one which I would highly recommend. This will help not only with building strength but also with your sight reading.. It teaches you small groups of notes at a time so you get familiar with these before learning more.

Also it teaches you about reding in patterns rather than just looking at single notes. Reading . rin patterns may help with the dyslexia.

These is a wonderful Faber Piano Adventures thread on this forum called Faber graduates which is worth checking out . The title of the thread is deceiving as most of us aren't graduates but still working on Piano Adventures material at different levels.

Good luck I hope you get success in finding a solution to your problem


Working on Faber Adult Piano Adventures AIO Book 2 Unit 3

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Re: Increase speed increases errors
JB_PW #2948846 02/19/20 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Ted
I have therefore always kept my control practice and velocity practice separate and employed quite different approaches to each. This may or may not be how established teaching sees the situation but it has largely worked for me over many years.

Hi Ted. Very interesting! Could you please tell more about the differences in approach to your control practice and velocity practice?

Originally Posted by JB_PW
Speed, or lack thereof, is one of my biggest frustrations.

Same for me.


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Re: Increase speed increases errors
Ted #2948856 02/19/20 04:22 AM
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That would be also my experience. Which is infact true of many other physical activities. For example no matter how much slow running you do would actually help you to run fast. One need to train to run fast in order to increase the speed. Training slow helps to get control over a piece, but to play it fast requires that the technical abilities to do so have been developped previously by practising at fast speed.

Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2948868 02/19/20 05:19 AM
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Speed is also a big challenge for me, and I am also "afraid" of it which makes matters worse.

I have a couple of pieces on the go to work on this, but it's slow progress.

Some things from my own experience, that may or may not apply for you:

Firstly, I find progress with speed is not linear, and I have never had any success with the "play it at tempo X, then increase by 1 tick". To me that is too close to the "mindless repetition" school of practicing, so to be fair perhaps part of the reason I haven't had success with this method is because I haven't tried it for any length of time.

Plenty of slow practice, in sections. Get these really solid, be really clear on the details. See how it works at speed, what works, what doesn't work, where do you play badly, make mistakes, or just go right off the rails? Slow back down and work on those areas. (I am not sufficiently disciplined about doing this, but when I do it pays off)

Let's say Ihave a piece, or a major section of a piece, that I can play more or less at 100bpm, and I want to play it at 140. The whole thing might be a train wreck at 140 right now, or just not even attemptable, but if I try it at 115 say, what are the problem areas? And what kinds of problems? Uneven? Can't think quickly enough? Jumps? Can't stitch small sections together? etc etc Depending on the problem, I might need to try different things. Not everything can be fixed by playing slowly, as others have pointed out, but I find an awful lot of things can.


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Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2948873 02/19/20 05:38 AM
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Technical issues aside, if you want to use the metronome to increase speed, you should aim to increase the speed at which you are completely comfortable. This might mean tiny increases and then staying there for a while. Maybe take a piece and work on increasing the speed over a month or more. If your accuracy suffers, you are either increasing the tempo too quickly or not getting comfortable enough at each tempo before moving on to the next one.

Now if you have a technical problem that's different, but when you start playing wrong notes, it's probably not a technical problem.

There are several other ways to use the metronome as well of course, but you shouldn't practise at a speed at which you are not in complete control. Speed comes naturally from fluency (and patience).

Last edited by johnstaf; 02/19/20 05:42 AM.
Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2948877 02/19/20 05:53 AM
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I'm sure that the maximum speed of controlled playing is a brain capability that provides the framework for piano technique. Unless you have it naturally this capability develops very slowly and it affects all aspects of life and not just the piano playing.

If your current maximum speed of controlled playing is 75, unforunately you won't be able to play that sonatina at 110 any time soon. You need to practice wide range of (preferrably simpler) music and exercises in order to increase your current maximum speed of controlled playing. Playing at speed without control is just a waste of time.

Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2948893 02/19/20 06:40 AM
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Good points Tubbie0075.


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Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2948926 02/19/20 08:35 AM
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Several people said that speed comeswith time. I agree, but there are likely more/less efficient ways to practice.

Idea 1 - Break the song into sections. You could use some of these.
a. If there are sections that you can comfortably play faster, you could practice them separatly, so you can "practice speed".
b. If there are sections that are very slow (for you) you could practice them separately (a lot). This might bring up overall song speed.
c. Practice the whole song, 1 or 2 measures at a time, playing each section, several times in a row, as fast as you can play well.
d. At times, sacrafice accuracy for speed by playing the song or sections like a maniac. (??)

Too much practice on one song will make you hate it!

Idea 2 - Practice easier songs at higher speeds, with the intent of building speed. You could also just play speed exercises.

Someone mentioned physical activities. In weight lifting, you can gain strength quickly, as a novice. In other words, you will gain from any reasonable exercise(practice). Eventually, you will have to consider more details (specific training, etc) and push yourself to grow. Otherwise, progress will stop (slow exponentially).

I think the same can be said of piano. This is one of the reasons that people can bang around on a piano for years but never hit concert pianist levels.

My thoughts are to try new things and ask questions. Keep it interesting. At this point you will likely improve as long as you keep lifting and playing!


Last edited by Jack Moody; 02/19/20 08:35 AM.
Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2949020 02/19/20 11:36 AM
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You said, after one month you can't play your piece up to speed, well, I'm an intermediate pianist and it takes me 3 months to learn a new piece, so you're already better than me. Can you play scale at 110 ? Quarter notes, 8th and 16th ?

It's better to practise slower without mistakes.



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Re: Increase speed increases errors
PatG #2949106 02/19/20 02:05 PM
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Graham Fitch has two videos on gaining speed (part I and part II).

Re: Increase speed increases errors
Animisha #2949200 02/19/20 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
...Very interesting! Could you please tell more about the differences in approach to your control practice and velocity practice?


That is really difficult to do because it involves trying to describe internal sensations, what amount to physical qualia. There is also the possibility I might steer somebody in a completely wrong direction through my own eccentric approach, and I do not want to do that. Having got that caution out of the way, I can probably say that the main difference concerns the perception of what constitutes a musical entity. In slow practice, it involves one note, one chord perhaps, or in the case of a group of notes, feeling the movement required to play every individual note within the group, Some music is naturally built that way, ragtime and stride being cases in point, and practising velocity with them is musically destructive, removing the effect of the syncopation altogether. In velocity playing the entity might be a whole handful of notes, which are not separated in the mind. Usually, but not necessarily, I find this latter involves more weight transfer than individual finger striking. I therefore practise it in rapid groups, separated by what might be termed microsleeps. It's all frightfully complicated though, and certainly specific to every individual, working out what to connect, what to play detached, when to curve fingers, when to flatten them.

I have to repeat that I do not consider myself qualified to advise anybody at all, I can only describe what I do for myself, and I am often none too sure about that.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
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