Saturday, December 29, 2007
Play it Slow
With at least one missed lesson this month, and Z out of school (his semester grades were really good, whew!), and holidays, and sleeping late, and so on, I've not been starting my morning practice at 7:30 like I'm used to. Today I didn't get started until after 10:00. Now, I'm a morning person. Since I'm also a creature of habit, these late starts have really messed up my normal practice routines, and I've run out of steam after just an hour or so.
That may explain why I've become so frustrated lately that I keep making the same errors every time I play a piece. I have really focused on these "tricky" parts, over and over, but it just hasn't seemed to help much.
So today I decided to concentrate on playing everything very slooowly, thinking about each and every note and taking the time to make sure I played them all as accurately as possible. I'd been using this approach on new pieces for some time and found it to be very helpful. But for whatever reason - impatience, mostly - I would pick up the pace before I was ready, and then would pound away day after day, trying to work past the difficult passages.
So, today I sure was surprised to find myself moving smoothly through all those stumble points. Not only that, the effort to be more accurate made them sound so good!
As much as I want to increase that metronome rate, I'm going to stay slow for a while...
I know my teacher would like to see accuracy and intonation over speed - although she does expect me to gradually increase the tempos on each piece, as long as I don't sacrifice quality to get there.
If I can play everything correctly every time at a slow pace, it should eventually become possible to play them accurately at faster paces.
Good luck with the practicing. I'm taking a few weeks off. I need a playing break.
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