Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

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Steve Langham
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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by Steve Langham » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:19 am

David_Norton wrote:When Marcin Dylla did a masterclass here in Salt Lake in early October, he demonstrated what _HE_ means by slow practice: it was almost like watching a slo-mo film of a bullet bursting a balloon! With a new piece, he practices e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e. m.o.t.i.o.n. (of BOTH hands) with that degree of exactitude, over and over, until the motion is totally programmed into his muscles, into his memory, and into his eyesight. And in this manner, in very short time, sometimes less than a day, he will have a complex piece fully memorized and ready to perform. First time I have ever observed what true SLOW PRACTICING looks like.
Very interesting David, would have loved to have seen it. You do hear the 'slow practice' all the time and I try and do it myself but how 'slow' is slow? I suspect we are all still doing it too fast. It might be hard but could you give an idea how slow was slow for the Marcin demo? Would there be seconds between each note/LH movement? How slow?

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markodarko
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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by markodarko » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:32 am

dtoh wrote:Think we might be talking about different things here. One of the main reasons for not being able finger accurately is a lack of strength and flexibility in the LH. It's like lifting weights, you can concentrate all you want but that won't help you to bench press 250 lbs. Developing strength and flexibility is a lot of brainless repetition.
The analogy to weight lifting doesn't fit because the thing which is most important above everything else in these guitar exercises is accuracy.

I can tell you now that repeating movements over and over without listening or paying attention to whether they are accurate is a complete waste of your time. All you'll end up doing with mindless exercise - I.e., when you're not paying any attention - is to form muscle "memory" in that sloppy way and there's only one way to undo this - to start again in a mindful way.

The reason hammer-ons & pull-offs work for the left hand is because they fulfill accuracy, strength and flexibility all in one swoop without being hampered by right & left hand synchronisation issues, but they should ALWAYS be played slowly and mindfully or you will learn bad habits.

As David pointed out, slow really does mean SLOW. As Liszt once said... If you think you're practicing slowly, slow down.
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David Norton
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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by David Norton » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:25 pm

Steve Langham wrote: It might be hard but could you give an idea how slow was slow for the Marcin demo? Would there be seconds between each note/LH movement? How slow?
It might be 1.5 or 2.0 seconds to move the LH middle finger from F# on (1) to low G on (6). In real time, at tempo, the move takes 1/20th second or faster.
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markodarko
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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by markodarko » Thu Nov 10, 2016 2:03 pm

David_Norton wrote:It might be 1.5 or 2.0 seconds to move the LH middle finger from F# on (1) to low G on (6). In real time, at tempo, the move takes 1/20th second or faster.
Makes sense. I slow practice quarter notes with a metronome set to 60bpm and play in half time, so 2 seconds per note. It took some getting used to initially. Feels like walking through treacle. :D
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robert e
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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by robert e » Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:57 pm

David_Norton wrote:
Steve Langham wrote: It might be hard but could you give an idea how slow was slow for the Marcin demo? Would there be seconds between each note/LH movement? How slow?
It might be 1.5 or 2.0 seconds to move the LH middle finger from F# on (1) to low G on (6). In real time, at tempo, the move takes 1/20th second or faster.
Great stuff, thanks! I can't remember who (a classical musician, not a guitarist) said: if it's possible for someone familiar with the piece to recognize the tune, you're going too fast.

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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by markodarko » Thu Nov 10, 2016 4:44 pm

robert e wrote:I can't remember who (a classical musician, not a guitarist) said: if it's possible for someone familiar with the piece to recognize the tune, you're going too fast.
That's a great quote. Thanks!
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Steve Langham
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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by Steve Langham » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:35 pm

markodarko wrote:
David_Norton wrote:It might be 1.5 or 2.0 seconds to move the LH middle finger from F# on (1) to low G on (6). In real time, at tempo, the move takes 1/20th second or faster.
Makes sense. I slow practice quarter notes with a metronome set to 60bpm and play in half time, so 2 seconds per note. It took some getting used to initially. Feels like walking through treacle. :D
And how do you incorporate this playing into your general practice and learning? i.e., do you stay at this slow pace for a new piece as you 'get it under your fingers' but then when familiar with it up the tempo or you use this pace regularly even after you are familiar with it?

Thanks

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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by JohnB » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:14 am

:bravo:
Steve Langham wrote:And how do you incorporate this playing into your general practice and learning? i.e., do you stay at this slow pace for a new piece as you 'get it under your fingers' but then when familiar with it up the tempo or you use this pace regularly even after you are familiar with it?

Thanks
I think that is a good question.

I remember a BBC Radio 3 programme some years ago about Sura Cherkassky (one of the great 20th century virtuoso pianists from Russia) and he did a very great deal of slow practice. Similarly, I heard a story about Richter (one of the very greatest of pianists) - which suggested that he also used slow practice. These were great masters who would have known the works backwards. So I guess that it is a good idea to refer back to slow practice, even when the piece is under your fingers.

Kappell in his The Bible of Classical Guitar Technique says "Even if you have a work firmly under your belt, always resort back to a very slow tempo while practicing." and "Sporadically alternate between slow and fast tempos, always in a controlled fashion."

(Another advantage of very slow practice when learning a piece is that it avoids the tension that can so easily build up when one is trying to play at tempo without having got the piece properly under one's fingers.)
Hermanos Conde 1968, Stephen Frith 2007 "Guijoso"

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markodarko
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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by markodarko » Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:20 am

Steve Langham wrote:And how do you incorporate this playing into your general practice and learning? i.e., do you stay at this slow pace for a new piece as you 'get it under your fingers' but then when familiar with it up the tempo or you use this pace regularly even after you are familiar with it?
Usually, I'll start by committing the whole piece to memory first. Then I'll play through at a "normal" tempo for the piece a couple of times, making mental notes of where I need to work on the most first. The biggest problems, if you will.

For those sections I'll then play them and only them with slow practice until I feel I "have" them. I'll then play the piece again and repeat the process, going to the parts which needed less attention than last time but still need attention.

Arguably it might be easier if I just did slow practice from the start, bar by bar, but I don't think that's necessary unless of course the whole thing requires it as it's complex or unfamiliar to how my fingers have previously been contorted.

As to using slow practice when the piece is learnt: Yes, occasionally those difficult parts will need reinforcing - especially if I've not played the piece for a while, in which case I'll use slow practice again.

I should say that I don't always use a metronome for this. For really hard passages I'll go free-time where each position / beat / note could be there for 3-4 seconds or more. All depends really.
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Steve Langham
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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by Steve Langham » Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:22 am

Thanks for the response Marko.
It's good to understand how others practice pieces.

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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by JohnB » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:41 pm

By the way, it is worth Googling for "Slow Practice". There are many results relating to the piano and violin, etc, including a link to a very good and extensive article by one of today's leading concert violinists (Hilary Hahn). Even though the links relate to different instruments there is still much to learn from what is written.

http://hilaryhahn.com/2004/01/slow-prac ... g-players/
Last edited by JohnB on Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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markodarko
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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by markodarko » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:55 pm

Steve Langham wrote:Thanks for the response Marko.
It's good to understand how others practice pieces.
No problem, Steve. May I ask how you approach things?
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Jack Douglas
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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by Jack Douglas » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:59 pm

This is a great post. I just returned from a wonderful visit with Zupfgeiger, the last weekend he resided in Worms, and he gave me some gentle tutoring that included slow left hand finger dexterity exercises and playing legato. I left inspired and dedicated to improve my practice time and dedication. I'm awaiting the return of my guitar (ships this coming Monday) so that I can begin again a practice with purpose that will definitely include much slow work. And yes, Zupfgeiger, Bach!!
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Desperado
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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by Desperado » Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:23 pm

14342434 repeated for an hour a day should sort out any LH issues!

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Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Post by DaveLeeNC » Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:03 pm

Desperado wrote:14342434 repeated for an hour a day should sort out any LH issues!
I fully agree. After an hour of that day after day I will not give a #*&^ about my LH :o

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