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To get up to speed ? #426677
07/27/03 11:45 AM
07/27/03 11:45 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 160
Paris, France.
Ghost of Zephyr Offline OP
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Ghost of Zephyr  Offline OP
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Paris, France.
Hello ! :p

Well, the subject of this topic is quite simple : what are your methods to get a piece up to speed (especially if it's, of course, a piece that should be played fast) ?

I've seen a method that advises to practice first the hand separated at almost 1.5 or 2 x the final tempo, but here there's a problem : when a piece should be played at a fast or even very fast tempo, how to play the right or left hand at the double of this very fast tempo ? It just gets quite impossible (for me, at least) !

Well, thank you for your answers, and have a nice day wink !

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Re: To get up to speed ? #426678
07/27/03 01:30 PM
07/27/03 01:30 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Iowa City, IA
Kreisler Offline
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A couple of ideas:

1) Practicing in dotted rhythms, being sure to be very sharp and precise. (Double-dot like crazy, and be sure you relax during the long ntoes.)

2) Play in short bursts. For example, in the Revolutionary Etude, try this:

[Linked Image]

3) The most important skill required of those who seek velocity is patience. Speed will come if you let it.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: To get up to speed ? #426679
07/27/03 02:16 PM
07/27/03 02:16 PM
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CrashTest Offline
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I never really think about playing something up to speed. I practice far below tempo, and I find that playing it up to speed comes naturally after one is comfortable with the piece. You don't have to practice a piece everyday up to tempo in order to be able to play it up to tempo.

Re: To get up to speed ? #426680
07/27/03 07:22 PM
07/27/03 07:22 PM
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If CrashTest's method works for you, that would probably be the best way to go. You could end up playing it too fast, which can be a bigger problem than playing too slow. If you are playing so fast that you cannot bring out the voices within the figurations, that is too fast, no matter what speed you are playing.


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Re: To get up to speed ? #426681
07/27/03 07:44 PM
07/27/03 07:44 PM
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CrashTest Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by BDB:
If CrashTest's method works for you, that would probably be the best way to go. You could end up playing it too fast, which can be a bigger problem than playing too slow. If you are playing so fast that you cannot bring out the voices within the figurations, that is too fast, no matter what speed you are playing.
Good advice. That is why is it important to do various mock-recitals or play throughs alone or with a small audience, that way you have a better idea of what you want.

Re: To get up to speed ? #426682
07/27/03 07:46 PM
07/27/03 07:46 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,001
California
virtuoso_735 Offline
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For me, getting up to speed on a piece is just a matter of practicing the piece alot. First, play slowly, then faster and faster, until you can play it at the required speed.


"If music be the food of love, play on." -William Shakespeare
Re: To get up to speed ? #426683
07/27/03 10:55 PM
07/27/03 10:55 PM
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Posts: 152
Atlanta
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LudwigVanB Offline
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From my experience as an adult beginner, there is nothing that will speed up a piece like the metronome. I can see results in just a few days from forcing myself to play with the ticks. I then drop the metronome for awhile to just play the piece for the music. This also smooths out a lot of the kinks.

I also disagree that the metronome will make your music sound mechanical. This may be the case for child beginners who have little experience with the music, but for an adult who has heard the music for decades and knows how it is supposed to sound, the metronome is a tremendous tool.

Re: To get up to speed ? #426684
07/28/03 12:04 AM
07/28/03 12:04 AM
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Iowa City, IA
Kreisler Offline
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Metronomes don't make people mechanical.

A mechanical sound results from too little variety in color and phrasing. Rhythm has little to do with it. One need only listen to Pollini's Chopin, Gould's Bach or Richter's Prokofiev to verify that.

Quote
Originally posted by LudwigVanB:

I also disagree that the metronome will make your music sound mechanical. This may be the case for child beginners who have little experience with the music, but for an adult who has heard the music for decades and knows how it is supposed to sound, the metronome is a tremendous tool.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: To get up to speed ? #426685
07/28/03 04:24 AM
07/28/03 04:24 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 160
Paris, France.
Ghost of Zephyr Offline OP
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Paris, France.
Well, thank you very much for your answers !

I have a question about CrashTest method : if I understood well, you say that only by practicing with slow or moderate speed and being confortable with a piece (i.e after you played it many times) you can speed up with no difficulties.
It seems quite... weird, for me : how can you practice at a fast tempo if you barely never practiced it that way when you practiced ?
I agree that practicing slow is a MUST (I always have a ratio like this : 1 or 2 time slow/moderate for 1 time fast/at tempo), but "ALWAYS" practicing slow seems quite unbelievable if you want to feel confortable with the fast tempo (and if you don't want to make mistakes or anything).

I'd be glad if you explain me a little bit more your method, because it seems to me very interesting but unbelievable too !

Have a nice day !

Re: To get up to speed ? #426686
07/28/03 09:13 AM
07/28/03 09:13 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,654
New York City
Phlebas Offline
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I pretty much agree with CrashTest's method - slow practice, and work up the speed slowly. This helps me ensure attention to details that would be rushed if I was in too much of a hurry to play a piace fast. When you are "ready" - in other words, you have practiced and prepared enough in a slow tempo - the speed will come more naturally.

Kreisler, I'm glad you posted that bit about practicing in rhythms, because I should do that more.

I used to practice a lot with the metronome. So much, in fact, that I thought I was using it as a crutch. As a result, I am trying to not use it at all, with the exception of finding tempos, and the occasional passage that I have trouble counting. That is forcing me to find more creative ways to learn difficult music besides just working up sections with the metronome.

Re: To get up to speed ? #426687
07/28/03 09:33 AM
07/28/03 09:33 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 160
Paris, France.
Ghost of Zephyr Offline OP
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Paris, France.
This method indeed seems to me very true : it is clear that playing (far) below tempo does relax me a lot (stress just comes up as I speed up, the more often), let me focus on the "details" of the piece, permit me to work on accuracy, etc... and that's why I (should :rolleyes: ) balance a fast play by one or two slow play.

But, if I understood well, CrashTest said that he barely NEVER practiced at tempo, except when performing : the practice is always made of low-tempo play.
THIS point seems quite unbelievable to me, and that's why I'd be happy that someone (if it's not you, CrashTest wink ) explain me this method more in details! laugh

Have a niiiiiiiiiiiiice day !!!

Re: To get up to speed ? #426688
07/28/03 10:24 AM
07/28/03 10:24 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,052
New York City
pianoloverus Online content
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Quote
Originally posted by Kreisler:
A mechanical sound results from too little variety in color and phrasing. Rhythm has little to do with it. One need only listen to Pollini's Chopin, Gould's Bach or Richter's Prokofiev to verify that.
Do you really think these performers's play metronomically(I am using this to mean in perfect time with a metronome)?

At several of the masterclasses attended at the Mnaaes Keyboard Festival both Vladimir Shakin and
Victor Rosebaum( both of whom I consider to be phenomenal teachers) emphasized the importance of not playing metronomically and I would agree with them.

Of course, too little color could also make a performance boring but not mechanical(in a rhythmic sense)?

Re: To get up to speed ? #426689
07/28/03 02:34 PM
07/28/03 02:34 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Iowa City, IA
Kreisler Offline
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Playing metronomically and practicing metronomically are two different things. laugh


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
Re: To get up to speed ? #426690
07/28/03 03:04 PM
07/28/03 03:04 PM
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CrashTest Offline
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If I were to practice a piece constantly at tempo, it would be hard to notice all of the small details, that are more easily noticed slowly.

One has to remember that when playing fast, our movements are very different and need to be more efficient. For this reason, occasional practicing of it a bit faster is ok, but almost always slow.

Let me give you an example. For the Beethoven sonata op. 22, 1st movement, up to tempo is somewhere in quarter note=130-38, or whatever. When I practiced a section, I first play it through at a very slow speed, quarter note=40. This is too slow for technique of course, and I only do it for 1 or 2 times every passage since it is excellent for reinforcing one's memory.

After that 'prerequisite' phase, I would usually practice the piece anywhere from 60-100 beats, and occassionally I would play it at tempo, to coordinate movements etc.

I found no trouble playing it up to speed after 90% slow practice, It just seemed to work out easier. This was true with other pieces I played, but the time needed to play it at performance speed may differ depending on a piece.

Another factor that may cause this method to be less succesful for some people is the amount of technique they have before starting a piece, the less you have, more work in establishing a good technique for the piece will be needed, especially in slow tempos.

Re: To get up to speed ? #426691
07/28/03 07:48 PM
07/28/03 07:48 PM
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Atlanta
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LudwigVanB Offline
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Quote
At several of the masterclasses attended at the Mnaaes Keyboard Festival both Vladimir Shakin and Victor Rosebaum( both of whom I consider to be phenomenal teachers) emphasized the importance of not playing metronomically and I would agree with them.
This implies that if you practice with the metronome then you will attempt to play the piece as if the metronome was still present. This is another way of saying, as I've heard many times, do not practice with the metronome because when you play the piece it will sound like it's being played to a metronome, ie mechanically. But from my experience that is not necessarily the case. I use the metronome as a drill to add speed and smoothness to a piece. I can spend 30 minutes on one page of music, forcing myself to play it with the metronome, then come back two days later and play it without the metronome and the results are for me phenomenal. However, I am not attempting to play the piece as if the metronome is ticking. It is then a totally musical experience. So Krieler is correct, practicing with the metronome is completely different than playing "metronomically". It's surprising, however, that apparently many, including teachers, don't see the difference. I assume the two teachers you cite above are against practicing with the metronome, which, if that is the case, is flat wrong in my opinion based on my experience.


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