Practicing Slowly...

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oski79
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Practicing Slowly...

Post by oski79 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:51 pm

In the most recent Classical Guitar Magazine, there is an interview with Lukasz Kuropaczewski. In it, he talks about practicing slowly:
"The key is proper practice. I only practice slowly at home. I never play a whole piece in tempo. I use a metronome for practice and repeat every single phrase three to five times..."
I seriously doubt that there's any debate about the value of practicing slowly. But I find it a little hard to believe that he "never" plays a whole piece in tempo. That sounds to me like he's saying the first time he does that is in a recital. I've read the passage a number of times, and I don't think I'm misunderstanding what is printed. No big deal, it obviously works for him, but I just found it a little odd. I wouldn't dream of playing for an audience without being absolutely certain I could play the tempo I want.

Here's another passage which I found really illuminating. As in, a light bulb went on when I read it:
It is important to know exactly what the difference is between practicing and playing. Many people tell me they practice slowly but what they really do is play slowly. That is a completely different thing. You practice when you control every movement in your hands, when you take time for every shift, for every hand position change. You practice when you are in control of everything that is happening in your hands.
That really changed the way I've approached practicing in the few days, and the results are noticeable. I think I was trying to do what he points out, and succeeding to some degree, but slowing down and really paying attention to every single movement? I certainly will from now on!
“People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” --Florence Foster Jenkins

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Kent
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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Kent » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:01 pm

Thanks for the post. It is always good to be reminded of good practicing principals.

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Paul Janssen
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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Paul Janssen » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:18 pm

The second quote is really interesting and something that I will certainly try myself.

As to your first point, when I read the first quote I thought exactly the same you (i.e. hard to believe). Perhaps what he meant was that he never plays a whole piece at tempo before "practicing" slowly first? However, like you I read the passage in the article several times and it seems very clear.

With all that said, he is a very clean and precise player, so who am I to judge his approach? Better for me to try and learn from it than to question it.

Rasputin
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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Rasputin » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:28 pm

He doesn't say he never plays pieces at tempo at home, only that he doesn't count that as practising.

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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by randalljazz » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:46 pm

there's "performance practice", which i found essential back when it mattered in my life. after the slow, detailed period of learning and refinement, as the recital date nears, practice playing the entire program without stopping, as if to an audience. once or twice a day for a week or two. shows where you might yet profitably spend some more refinement time, after going through it all...not an original idea of mine, by any means...
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Steve Langham
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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Steve Langham » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:05 pm

There is always a lot of comments throughout this forum that we all should ‘practice slowly’. I’m sure no one disputes this wise advice. The thing is, no one ever demonstrates or explains in detail how to practice slowly. I suspect, as per the article, most of us are simply playing slowly. I play (practice?) slowly all the time which for me means working on phrases that I’m having trouble with and making sure I don’t make any mistakes as I practice the phrase.
Anyone seen any videos (utube?) that go into slow practice in detail?

tsulej
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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by tsulej » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:16 pm

Admira Malaga

montana
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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by montana » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:32 am

Can remember who said it . They never tell a student to practice slow. They tell the student ....careful observation. I think that explains it in detail.

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muirtan
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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by muirtan » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:28 am

Practising slowly is to enable awareness. The first 4 paragraphs from this blog describe it better than I can https://www.jamesboyd.co.uk/blog/

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Paul Janssen
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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Paul Janssen » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:30 am

Steve Langham wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:05 pm
There is always a lot of comments throughout this forum that we all should ‘practice slowly’. I’m sure no one disputes this wise advice. The thing is, no one ever demonstrates or explains in detail how to practice slowly. I suspect, as per the article, most of us are simply playing slowly. I play (practice?) slowly all the time which for me means working on phrases that I’m having trouble with and making sure I don’t make any mistakes as I practice the phrase.
Anyone seen any videos (utube?) that go into slow practice in detail?
Forum member, Dr Larry McDonald, has on a number of occasions shared his method for what he calls "Segment Practice". He allows for this to be freely distributed so here is the link to his method: http://www.larrymcdonaldguitar.com/pdfs ... actice.pdf

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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by tsulej » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:24 am

See also discussion in other thread viewtopic.php?f=4&t=116387
Admira Malaga

Robert Rogers
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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Robert Rogers » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:27 pm

I've sure learned a lot from this Post. Thanks to all.

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Andrew Fryer » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:43 pm

It looks as though he does in fact play pieces to tempo, but when he does, he doesn't call it practice but play.
I'm sure that's what he's saying, but it seems a tad pedantic and would make me read what else he says very carefully in order not to be misled.
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

Jack Douglas
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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Jack Douglas » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:01 pm

Thanks for this post. It certainly brings home a personal goal of calming my wild left hand. I’m basically impatient and like to jump right in and try to ‘play’ a piece without the detailed work. My teacher has helped me understand that slow phrase by phrase work will result in more confidence and cleaner playing.
So, Go Slow!
Hauser III 2014!

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Tom Poore
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Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Tom Poore » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:07 pm

Too often slow practice is treated as though it’s the thing itself. It’s not. Slowing down isn’t the essence of good practice. Practicing slowly, by itself, is meaningless. If you’re practicing badly, then slowing down bad practice won’t help. You’ll still be practicing badly, only slower. So slowing down is only a symptom of good practice, not the thing itself. It’s what you do once you’ve slowed down that determines whether you’re practicing well.

The essence of good practice is to think clearly about what you’re doing. Good practice, in part, is the systematic elimination of confusion. And confusion comes in many guises:

• What fingering to use in a thorny passage.
• What comes next when playing a section from memory.
• How does this tricky rhythm go.

The biggest thing that separates great players from mediocre ones is that great players know what they’re doing. Every problem they encounter is dissected, examined, and solved. One example: in masterclasses I often see this. A concert artist asks a student to describe the harmony in a passage. The student can’t do it. The artist then describes in detail the harmony. The artist knew the harmony—the student didn’t. And that’s one of many reasons why the student falters in a passage and the concert artist doesn’t.

Anything that makes you unsure, nervous, or hesitant is something that needs to be resolved during practice. If you’re not solving a problem, then you’re not practicing. Mindless finger-wiggling isn’t good practice. And mindless finger-wiggling done slowly is no better.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

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