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How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423827
12/23/06 01:51 AM
12/23/06 01:51 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 5
Jersey
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cyco Offline OP
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Jersey
I've been trying harder pieces lately, a song with a lot of sixteenth notes. I noticed that I'm gonna have to move my fingers really fast if I wanna get it right. Do you guys have certain exercises or techniques to get your fingers to move faster? Thanks.

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Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423828
12/23/06 02:17 AM
12/23/06 02:17 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 39
Chicago
Ben Johnson Offline
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Chicago
You must begin by playing slowly and cleanly at a comfortable speed. Practice it over and over and over again like this. Once the notes have been fully ingrained into muscle memory, your fingers will do the thinking for you, and now you can start raising the tempo. It's a very long process, but it's the only way as far as I'm concerned.

Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423829
12/23/06 05:19 AM
12/23/06 05:19 AM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 116
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drudged Offline
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Please...It is not a "Song" if it is a musical composition without lyrics. It is called a "Piece"

Anyhow back on topic, to play fast, I recommend taking up some Hanon exercises, as well as some Czerny etudes. I recall a friend of mine having trouble playing fast. Now, after 5 months of playing those things, his fingers are now soft and flexible wink

And remember, never stiffen up your fingers. Keep them relaxed and try keeping your wrist still. It really helps as well to not tense up and stay relaxed. Try it, it really helps wink

Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423830
12/23/06 01:12 PM
12/23/06 01:12 PM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 169
In Your Closet
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verywellmister Offline
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In Your Closet
Play Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C minor, Op.23 no.7 which is sort of like an etude. Now fast-finger pieces are no problem for me smile


i thought i heard my washing machine playing Ondine
Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423831
12/23/06 02:50 PM
12/23/06 02:50 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 19
Hohenthann, Germany
ebnykhda@web.de Offline
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Cyco, the piece you wish to play or is it a song? I do not really know. However, you wish to play fast. To play fast you must learn to crawl and walk. This means start slowly and and playing the hands separately. Memorize the notes immediately. learn your difficult sections first because there you will get lots of technique too. I am not a great believer in Hanon und Czerny Co. even though as a small girl I learned them. One usually plays them without much thinking. Now of course, I do not know the level of your finger technique or where you are musically because one can not separte the two. If your fingers are flying high you will not be able to control tiempo or the notes. Playing fast has also to do with fast thinking. It would be nice to know what piece you are trying to learn then we would know just about where you are with your finger technique.

Khadija


Khadija
Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423832
12/23/06 03:17 PM
12/23/06 03:17 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 2,846
RHUL
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Max W Offline
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RHUL
Think economy of movement too - the less you move your fingers, the faster you will be able to play (with more ease). Keep your fingers close to the keys, and try and play into the keys rather than playing off them (in other words, the 'peak' of the impact when you play a key should be when the key has fully depressed, rather than any point before).

Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423833
12/23/06 03:37 PM
12/23/06 03:37 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
signa Offline
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Ohio, USA
the ultimate speed that one can reach depends on individual's physical ability. that's my teacher told me, and that's the reason that some people can play really fast and some can never play as fast.

but to improve the speed, keeping the most efficient movements and slow practice to engrave notes into memory will definitely help to reach your speed goal. my teacher always correct me on my movements, asking me why i move more distance than necessary from black keys to white keys or as such and why i seem to have more tension than necessary playing some chords etc. which actually caused my slowing down.

Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423834
12/23/06 03:45 PM
12/23/06 03:45 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 27,418
Oakland
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BDB Offline
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Learn to play at a tempo that is comfortable, and then change nuances to make it sound faster. Speed is an attitude, not an actual tempo.


Semipro Tech
Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423835
12/23/06 09:16 PM
12/23/06 09:16 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 5
Jersey
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cyco Offline OP
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Jersey
Thanks for the help guys. I was actually trying to learn "Mother's Journey" by Yann Tiersen. Great composer.

Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423836
12/24/06 01:11 AM
12/24/06 01:11 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 3,857
North Groton, NH
Bernard Offline
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To learn to play fast, practice--slowly--playing a note while consciously relaxing the fingers that are not playing. That means taking care that the thumb is relaxed, not held up (and that the pinky is relaxed not held up).

Practice moving from one finger to the other while being aware of what your other fingers are doing. Make sure they are relaxed.


"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown
Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423837
12/24/06 03:52 AM
12/24/06 03:52 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 374
schuyler Offline
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Relaxation.


...when the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace...
Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423838
12/24/06 07:12 AM
12/24/06 07:12 AM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 790
Auckland, New Zealand
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Ted2 Offline
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Auckland, New Zealand
I am surprised nobody has mentioned Brendan's trick of microsleeps. Loosely speaking, it works for any passage involving continuous, rapid consecutive figures of homogeneous type. Break it into sections small enough that they can be played individually up to speed. For example it might be three or four notes of a run, a handful of thirds, a group of six octaves and so on. Play the whole passage with each little section at speed within itself but with a small rest between each pair of sections. Usually, even a very small rest, a microsleep, is sufficient to give the hands, fingers, arms or whatever parts are involved, time to recover and play the next little group up to speed.

After playing a passage in this way a number of times, normally fewer than you would tend to think, you will find you can play all the little sections together and play the whole passage up to speed.

I haven't the slightest idea why it works but it has certainly done wonders for my playing. It does assume, I suppose, that you are able to play the little groups up to speed. If you cannot yet do that, then that is a different problem.

It has the advantage that you decide yourself, from an infinity of ways, exactly how you break up the passage and how long you rest between groups. If one partition doesn't work it is highly likely another will.


"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley
Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423839
12/24/06 10:41 AM
12/24/06 10:41 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 999
The Midwest
George K Offline
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Microsleeps? Fascinating concept and it probably makes sense physiologically, physically as well a psychologically. I have found parts of Handel's keyboard suite in E particularly vexing, especially in the Air and Variations - the left hand triplets are always tripping me up. I have no difficulty with each triplet, taken individually. However, joining them together, at speed, is daunting.

Using this "microsleep" approach, I would pause, for a nanosecond, between each group of three notes in the left hand. Is that correct?

[Linked Image]


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Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423840
12/24/06 10:52 AM
12/24/06 10:52 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 19
Hohenthann, Germany
ebnykhda@web.de Offline
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Hohenthann, Germany
Ted, I have heard of this technique and use it quite often when I have difficult passages to work with. One comes up to tiempo very well only if one has good finger technique to start with. I did not know it by the name of Microsleep. Finger memory goes faster this way and and after a good nights sleep it sits like an elephants brain. I hope one understandes my meaning of elephant brain (they never forget). If you can play it fast you should be able to play it a speed of a slug too!!!!, That is the real test .

Khadija


Khadija
Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423841
12/24/06 12:19 PM
12/24/06 12:19 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 135
Seattle
Markeyz Offline
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Seattle
I'd like to expand on Khadija's comment about thinking faster. Thinking faster really means thinking in larger groups, since there's not a whole lot you can do to speed up the brain once you have achieved a level of concentration where you are focused on a single task. (That's probably a subject worthy of its own thread).

Thinking in larger groups means taking individual notes and fitting them into structures such as hand positions, scales, chords, and common movements such as the Alberti bass pattern. I guarantee that when you hear a fast scale run, the pianist is not thinking of the individual notes in isolation. Rather, he or she is thinking of the scale which was learned and practiced as two hand positions and a transitional movement.

I think this is the principle behind the microsleep idea. The structures are the groups of notes between the short breaks. It should be mentioned that a danger of the microsleep technique is becoming mentally dependent on the breaks. To avoid this one can, after getting the groups up to speed, play a few notes past each break and then back up, or link groups into pairs, then groups of three and so on. And then there's good old fashioned slow practice which is invaluable for working out what you're going to be thinking at each point in a piece (I really wanted to write "song" there).


Jazz pianist and teacher.

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Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423842
12/24/06 06:21 PM
12/24/06 06:21 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 790
Auckland, New Zealand
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Ted2 Offline
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George K:

I am unfamiliar with how fast that example goes, but yes, I suppose that would be one way of doing it. The technique really works best with very fast passages. It isn't suitable for every situation. The score says "legatissimo". If it's one of those things which has to be completely physically connected then perhaps ordinary slow practice might be a better choice.


"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley
Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423843
12/24/06 07:31 PM
12/24/06 07:31 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
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kcoul058 Offline
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3rd movement of the Appassionata is working wonders for me as far as this goes! My suggestion mirrors the nature of this piece - if it is *this* much fun to play fugato entries of straight sixteenth notes that can sometimes be quite awkward, and have it sound good up to about as fast as anyone would ever want to play it, this is the best inspiration your fingers could ever have to get up to snuff!

never push yourself too much - always work at it awhile, and then *leave it*! not just for a few hours, but at least a day or two, then go back - a slightly faster tempo should seem much less work than it did before.

other suggestions are any other moto perpetuo (sp?) pieces you can get your fingers around - 3rd movement of Beethoven Tempest, "In Der Nacht" from Phantasiestucke op.12 by Schumann - these three pieces have done much more for my technique than any amount of excersizes ever could have - reason being, the sheer amount of fun they are to play makes working on them for much longer periods of time much more enjoyable!

Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423844
12/24/06 07:35 PM
12/24/06 07:35 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
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kcoul058 Offline
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oh a 4th GREAT piece for this sort of thing - op. 42 no.5 Etude by Scriabin - there is nothing more satisfying than finding very powerful pieces that are also great for your technique!

oh, and for specifically improving on dealing with more *awkward* moto perpetuo passages, try the Prokofiev etude op.2 no.1.

Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423845
12/25/06 02:41 PM
12/25/06 02:41 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,127
Dallas, TX, US
Schubertian Offline
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I seem to remember that according to Hildesheimer's wonderful biography Mozart only used his middle name once in all the correspondance - I guess he didnt identify with it much - I'll try and find the quote -

The play/movie was interesting and well done but I'm not sure the real Mozart was that big a goof ball - although there is some evidence - and it's been proven Salieri had nothing to do with poisoning him - despite the rumors


"There are so many mornings that have not yet dawned." -- Rg Veda
Re: How Can I Get My Fingers to Move Faster? #423846
12/26/06 11:08 AM
12/26/06 11:08 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,127
Dallas, TX, US
Schubertian Offline
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Oh sorry - wrong thread -


"There are so many mornings that have not yet dawned." -- Rg Veda
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