Practicing Slowly...

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Posts: 61
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:59 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by RaajShinde » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:37 am

Tom Poore wrote:
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
Best definition of “good practice” and how to go about doing it I’ve seen.

Thank you, Tom. This is incredibly helpful.

The Sage is occupied with the unspoken
and acts without effort.
Teaching without verbosity,
producing without possessing,
creating without regard to result,
claiming nothing,
the Sage has nothing to lose.

User avatar
Andrew Fryer
Posts: 2681
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:13 pm
Location: London SE5

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Andrew Fryer » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:35 am

oski79 wrote:
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.
It's the same with acting - I've seen outtakes on DVDs where actors mis-say something over and over again, then have to take a break because the mistake has become memorised.
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

Robert Rogers
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:59 am

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Robert Rogers » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:18 am

I've found that if I stick to pieces that include the words Lento, Largo and such I never have to worry about practicing too fast. Indeed, most pieces meant to be played at a fast tempo don't appeal to me that much-too many gnat notes as Zappa used to say.

User avatar
Posts: 327
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:02 pm

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Frousse » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:25 pm

I find the second quote particularly interesting. Thank for sharing.

User avatar
Andrew Fryer
Posts: 2681
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:13 pm
Location: London SE5

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by Andrew Fryer » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:38 pm

Yes, I have to confess that I usually avoid fast pieces on purpose.
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

User avatar
fast eddie
Posts: 116
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 4:39 am
Location: Columbus, MS USA

Re: Practicing Slowly...

Post by fast eddie » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:27 pm

I practice VERY slowly and have to concentrate to keep the speed down. Probably a metronome would help. I have heard it said that if you practice slowly, the speed comes naturally and that seems true to me.
Fast Eddie
Cordoba C 10 Cedar
1974 Hernandis

Return to “Public Space”