Practicing Slowly...

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
User avatar
zupfgeiger
Posts: 1827
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:12 pm
Location: Wezembeek-Oppem, Belgium

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by zupfgeiger » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:22 pm

I think it's absolutely justified to make a distinction between playing and practicing slowly. If you just play slowly, you play your mistakes slowly. Practicing slowly means recognizing your flaws and finding a way to eliminate them.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started (Mark Twain)

Tobias Braun, Santos copy, spruce/yew, 2017
Andrea Tacchi, Enrique Garcia model, Spruce/BRAZ, 2016
Giovanni Tacchi, Daniel Friederich copy, cedar/EIR, 2017

markworthi
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:33 pm
Location: Forest Hills, NY

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by markworthi » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:48 pm

Tom Poore wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:07 pm
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.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA
Tom,

This is interesting, and something that I am not sure I can do. What do you mean by being able to describe a harmony? Do you mean that students should be aware, at an analytical level, of what's going on in a piece -- for example, the movement from a dominant chord to the tonic?

Mark

Nikos_Greek
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:18 am

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Nikos_Greek » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:20 pm

To put it simply, pracrtising slowly and practising could only mean and aim at producing good, Musical soung with your guitar. Sound determines everything, good Sound presupposes good technique, can be achieved only through good technique. You practise with your ear in essense. I have profited a good deal by playing scales slowly as well as at a faster tempo but paying Attention to the Sound only. So practising means producing acceptable, or if you will good Quality Sound and sorting out technical Problems whenever good Sound Fails to be produced.

isaac_suit6
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:22 pm
Location: New York

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by isaac_suit6 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:47 pm

The key to practicing is mindfulness. By giving yourself time to be mindful of what you are doing you slow down. Mindfulness in practice sums up what Tom Poore was saying. It's not the speed, but by thinking you end up slowing doing; giving yourself time to understand, learn, and improve.
Cheers,
isaac_suit6

djqsrv
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:30 am
Location: Blue Ridge, VA USA

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by djqsrv » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:27 pm

I just started back after a long break. Well over a year, maybe closer to 2. I have to keep telling myself to slow down over and over.
My brain wants to race forward at the speed I could before but my motor skills are lagging far behind.
I am trying to “slow practice” as described in that article but it takes a tremendous amount of discipline to really do it.
But there is no doubting that when I do get myself to slow way down so I can feel every little movement of my hands it’s usually followed by a noticeable improvement in my playing. Even so I don’t do it as often as I should. I still want to just speed forward. Sometimes the human brain amazes me. :)

djqsrv
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:30 am
Location: Blue Ridge, VA USA

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by djqsrv » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:28 pm

Duplicate post.
Sorry abt that. Can’t find a way to delete. Can a moderator please remove this one?
Thanks

hesson11
Posts: 530
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:48 pm

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by hesson11 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:10 am

If you only play at home and never in public, is it still called "practicing"? Just a random imponderable. :-)
-Bob

Zen
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:43 pm

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Zen » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:46 am

My concept of practice is this: I am constantly assessing how the notes sound, whether my hands are correctly positioned and moving with minimal effort, whether my body is stressed or relaxed, whether my left hand is pressing harder than necessary, whether I am preparing for the next note, and whether I am playing with emotion. I do not distinguish this from play unless others are present.
The time between the notes relates the color to the scenes.

razz
Posts: 298
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:01 am

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by razz » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:43 pm

Following the first quote to the letter would be a real leap of faith. I'm tempted to try it.

User avatar
Yisrael van Handel
Posts: 558
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:26 pm
Location: Modi'in Illit, Israel

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:04 pm

oski79 wrote:
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..."
What a coincidence!! I heard Lukasz Kuropaczewski speaking last weak, and he said exactly that. I immediately tried it out. Wow!! what a difference! I am solving problems that I have had forever. I always started playing slowly. But now, I continue playing slowly until I have solid control. And then I speed up slowly. And I do not play Classical period music fast at all, because it is more expressive when it is slow. It really works. Once you have control over every movement, you can start speeding up the metronome a little bit at a time.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

Andrew Pohlman
Posts: 1066
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:24 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:54 pm

I hate to go all anatomical and brain theory on you fine people, but you must slow down so you can train your cerebellum. The cerebellum is where muscle memories are stored. The concept of playing bad slowly leads to bunk muscle memory. Practicing well slowly is necessary to transcribe and form high quality muscle memories. Once the muscle memories are correctly formed, then and only then can you go faster. Going fast before that risks undoing or rewriting any well formed muscle memories.

The part that interests me is that going faster requires different "finger physics", for lack of a better term. So the physical movements change somewhat with increased speed, and the muscle memories must be updated, or fine tuned, accordingly in the cerebellum. The phenomenon is manifested in the language of our discipline. People say "I have that piece "under my fingers" - that means it is burned in to the cerebellum. And everybody knows some things are just easier to play faster - due to "finger physics".

Lastly I'll say that the process of writing the muscle memory is conscious with many very slow brain parts involved. The signals from muscle memory are like lightning. So you can't really play stuff using those slower conscious brain pathways. Muscle memories in the cerebellum are therefore a necessity. Properly formed, of course. I have worked with musicians who claim they are conscious of each note as a distinct entity. I'm happy for them. Most of us normal humanoids rely heavily on muscle memory.
2013 Rodriguez FF Sabicas blanco
2015 Trevor Gore custom Neoclassical
- redwood top, Palo dorado B+Ss.

User avatar
oski79
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9302
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:12 pm
Location: Sebastopol, California

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by oski79 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:20 pm

Thanks Andrew. I've heard many times that by playing up to speed and making mistakes, you're only practicing making mistakes. Getting slow and granular makes so much sense, yet requires so much more discipline.
“People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” --Florence Foster Jenkins

Return to “Public Space”