Speed Breakthrough

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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markodarko
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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by markodarko » Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:32 pm

Salvador wrote:In practicing scales and increasing the tempo, it's normal that it won't be fluent at first. But with practice and patience you will get it. That's how to improve speed.
I disagree. Banging on and hoping you'll "get it" at speed is terrible advice.
Salvador wrote:if you play scales at a slow tempo, there's no benefit from it, in terms of speed.
I disagree. Concentrating on your accuracy at slower tempos will increase you speed at faster tempos.
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guitarrista
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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by guitarrista » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:22 pm

zupfgeiger wrote:But a critical remark should be allowed.
And it is - but also remember that the same applies to reactions to your remarks :-)
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Salvador
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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by Salvador » Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:22 am

markodarko wrote:
Salvador wrote:In practicing scales and increasing the tempo, it's normal that it won't be fluent at first. But with practice and patience you will get it. That's how to improve speed.
I disagree. Banging on and hoping you'll "get it" at speed is terrible advice.
Salvador wrote:if you play scales at a slow tempo, there's no benefit from it, in terms of speed.
I disagree. Concentrating on your accuracy at slower tempos will increase you speed at faster tempos.
I say it because it's from my experience. But i'm not saying to believe in what i said. It's sill up to the guitarist on how to improve their skills.

I'm just curious. For you, how do you increase speed anyway? What method did you use to be able to play fast?

ronjazz
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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by ronjazz » Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:39 am

Salvador, there are several studies and books written on the acquisition of skills. Most of them say slow perfect practicing of a skill guarantees excellence eventually and minimizes the risk of injury. Once a player has really learned a smooth, beautiful economical stroke, then speed can be increased by use of Speed bursts of, say, 5 to 10 notes at twice or four times the speed of the slower practicing. Very little of guitar practicing is about the fingers, it's mostly about the brain, and the brain operates in such a way that repetition is learned deeply, thus bad practicing is also learned deeply. You can get faster gradually, but that doesn't guarantee that you won't injure yourself. Look up Chris Berg's website and blog.
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2handband
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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by 2handband » Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:05 am

If it's not fluid and perfect sounding you are going too fast. There is NEVER an exception to this.

I make my students play what I like to call The Metronome Game. You take whatever little lick or exercise or whatever you are working on and you start it off ridiculously slow... so slow it's simply impossible to screw it up. Play for a minute or two, then bump the metronome up five clicks. Still flawless? Go up another five. And so on. Once you make your first mistake, no matter how minute, you go back to the last tempo at which you played it perfectly. Spend ten minutes repeating at that tempo. By doing so you are practicing at the fastest tempo at which you can play with perfectly relaxed, complete control at all times. After ten minutes try going up five clicks again. And so on. Once your practice session is over write down where you left off, and when you start the next day start off with the metronome 20 clicks below that.

I can't get many students to actually do the above when they're not sitting in front of me, but the ones that do get spectacular results.

Salvador
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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by Salvador » Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:08 am

ronjazz wrote:Salvador, there are several studies and books written on the acquisition of skills. Most of them say slow perfect practicing of a skill guarantees excellence eventually and minimizes the risk of injury. Once a player has really learned a smooth, beautiful economical stroke, then speed can be increased by use of Speed bursts of, say, 5 to 10 notes at twice or four times the speed of the slower practicing. Very little of guitar practicing is about the fingers, it's mostly about the brain, and the brain operates in such a way that repetition is learned deeply, thus bad practicing is also learned deeply. You can get faster gradually, but that doesn't guarantee that you won't injure yourself. Look up Chris Berg's website and blog.
That's what i mean actually. Once you are comfortable with that tempo. That's the time to increase the tempo and practice that new tempo until you get it fluently. That's why we use metronome. Because if you stick to one tempo all your life. How will you be able to improve your speed if you don't increase the tempo. That's what i meant to challenge your fingers to play fast.

Yup its in the brain, that's why it's not yet fluent to play at a new tempo because your brain is just adjusting. Just like practicing a new piece and learning the fingerings.

Malcolm
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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by Malcolm » Fri Dec 02, 2016 4:38 am

zupfgeiger wrote:. What I am learning from my teachers is to slow down, if fluent execution is not yet achieved, be it a piece or a scale. Maybe those guys are a bit old fashioned but I will stick to their rule because it seems logical for me and it brought me forward with my technique. That has nothing to do with a personal insult as indicated above.
I totally agree and my rule (and my teacher's) is to slow down and play fluently. It is nice, however, to make those breakthroughs and do something one has not been able to do before (probably as a result of slow practice). I am never offended by responses that are critical, as long as they are not personal, which, in this forum at least, is rarely the case. If I was going to be offended or intimidated by constructive criticism I probably wouldn't post in the first place. :)

BTW I suspect the lack of fluency is probably more to do with my poor senile old brain not being able to keep up with my fingers! :cry:

Cheers
Malcolm
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zupfgeiger
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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by zupfgeiger » Fri Dec 02, 2016 9:51 am

Malcolm wrote:
zupfgeiger wrote:. What I am learning from my teachers is to slow down, if fluent execution is not yet achieved, be it a piece or a scale. Maybe those guys are a bit old fashioned but I will stick to their rule because it seems logical for me and it brought me forward with my technique. That has nothing to do with a personal insult as indicated above.
I totally agree and my rule (and my teacher's) is to slow down and play fluently. It is nice, however, to make those breakthroughs and do something one has not been able to do before (probably as a result of slow practice). I am never offended by responses that are critical, as long as they are not personal, which, in this forum at least, is rarely the case. If I was going to be offended or intimidated by constructive criticism I probably wouldn't post in the first place. :)

BTW I suspect the lack of fluency is probably more to do with my poor senile old brain not being able to keep up with my fingers! :cry:

Cheers
Malcolm
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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by Luis_Br » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:27 am

When you reach a speed limit, if you keep playing at the speed there won't be much evolution. To break through you must change your technique to a better one. You must discover unnecessary inside tensions, bad movements, inneficient positioning and eliminate or change them to better ones. To change that you need very slow practice again and focus on internal perception and change. If you keep repeating you just engrave the reflexes, may speed up a tiny bit more due to memory conditioning, but it will be very slow evolution and it will stop in the so called "speedwall".

That is the reason teachers recommend to slow down. If you slow down and just keep repeating what you were doing, it won't be very efficient either. You must change. Most of times, only the fact of slowing down will allow yourself to notice wrong things and correct them alone. A good teacher will help identifying and correcting some problems in this reconciliation moment, speeding up a lot the learning curve.

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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by Iain » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:15 pm

guitarrista wrote:
2handband wrote:Sorry guys but what the hell is a crochet?
A quarter note. Thank the damn Brits :-)

Capture.JPG
You may find crochet is French.....Not Brit.

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guitarrista
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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by guitarrista » Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:12 am

Iain wrote:
guitarrista wrote:
2handband wrote:Sorry guys but what the hell is a crochet?
A quarter note. Thank the damn Brits :-)

Capture.JPG
You may find crochet is French.....Not Brit.
The word's origin is, but the usage is British, not French. A quarter note in French is 'noire'. The French do have a 'croche' (no 't'), but that is an eighth note.
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Jack Douglas
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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by Jack Douglas » Sun Dec 04, 2016 2:57 pm

zupfgeiger wrote:Maybe there is a missunderstanding here. My purpose was not at all to intimidate Malcom. I am happy with everyone who his making progress with the guitar and is posting positive reviews on this forum. But a critical remark should be allowed. What I am learning from my teachers is to slow down, if fluent execution is not yet achieved, be it a piece or a scale. Maybe those guys are a bit old fashioned but I will stick to their rule because it seems logical for me and it brought me forward with my technique. That has nothing to do with a personal insult as indicated above.

Edit: Just opened another thread about 10 practice rules of violinist Maud Powell. Rule III: Practice scales religiously. Play them slowly and with perfect evenness, both as to fingering and bowing.

Maud Powel died more than 80 years ago but I think her advice is still valid, not only for violinists.

I just read this thread and am compelled to comment. First of all, I know Zupfgeiger personally and he is a gentleman of high integrity and sincerely loves the classical guitar and playing it with elegance. He has cheered me on with my playing and I find his honest comments refreshing. He has encouraged my playing legato, given me practice exercises, and suggested I work with a skilled teacher to help me develop my skills. I know he is absolutely sincere in praising anyone who is making progress and I don't see a comment about playing slowly and accurately as 'criticism'. It's what I would like to hear. A recent post by someone who attended a Marcin Dylla masterclass reported that Marcin said the best way to memorize and play with accuracy is to play/practice the piece so slowly that a listener would not recognize the piece. Slow, accurate legato playing leads to fast! Simple.
I'm approaching 70 and I can't help but believe the lessons I learned in my undergraduate and graduate education (1960's and 1970''s) in landscape architecture have helped my classical guitar avocation. In undergraduate and graduate schools the 'design crit' was an accepted part of learning. In a 'design critique' the professors and guest critics were brutally honest. I left several of those review sessions to the point of tears, but what the reviewers said about my design was accurate. Had it not been for these reviews of my work I would never have grown as a designer nor knew what I needed to work on to improve.
I was a reviewer several years ago at a Masters level final review at a Landscape Architecture graduate school final review where one student received accurate, but not flattering comments about his design. The student went into a rage and stormed out of the review session. I went to his desk the next day and I asked him what that was all about ; he was a good but struggling student. He told me that every professor had some slightly different focus and he spent so much effort trying to prepare designs that he thought the professors would like. I told him their job was to introduce him to new ideas, but his responsibility was to find his passion and show how that could be incorporated in his design work. He told me 'food production' in various settings was his. I told him to focus on that and communicate his passion to his other professors and I would bet things would improve for him. I got a note from one of his design studio instructors asking what I had said to the student and told me that there was a remarkable change in the student who was now a star in his class.
I realize this is a bit off subject, but Here on Delcamp I believe we all are thrilled with anyone's progress and honest statements help each of us advance.
I just looked and see that Malcolm is 65. I'm quite impressed with his dedication and level of the speed practicing he describes. I also agree with Zupfgeiger that slowing down and practicing accuracy and legato will pay off with increased speed. And,again, I know that Zupfgeiger's honest and accurate comments were meant as sincere care and concern for Malcolm.
Many of you have made comments about posts I've made and I certainly appreciate the time and effort each of you put into communicating your thoughtful input. Let's not stop with accurate and honest feedback.
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Iain
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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by Iain » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:15 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Iain wrote:
guitarrista wrote:
A quarter note. Thank the damn Brits :-)

Capture.JPG
You may find crochet is French.....Not Brit.
The word's origin is, but the usage is British, not French. A quarter note in French is 'noire'. The French do have a 'croche' (no 't'), but that is an eighth note.
I think you will find the "origin" is French," crochet" English, crotchet.

Adding one letter hardly makes it "Brit."

Crotchet: A note having the time value of a quarter of a semibreve, or half a minim, represented by a large solid dot with a plain stem.

Americans use the simple description of quarter, note.

Whiteagle
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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by Whiteagle » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:47 am

Malcolm wrote:After practicing 3 octave scales (G maj, E maj, and E Melodic min) for several weeks, today I suddenly found that I could play them faster than has been possible before.

They are still not fluent (I'm working on it) and still not up to my bass playing speed from 30 years ago, but, right now, I'm feeling very pleased because it is a major breakthrough, in fact, it's almost an epiphany! :shock:

However, a question!

The Australian Music Examinations Board Grade 7 syllabus requires these scales in several different ways. Crochets are required to be played at 160 bpm, no problem whatsoever, but triplets are required to be at 110 bpm. Although that is my aim, that does seem rather quick when compared with quavers at 160 bpm.

The AMEB books do contain numerous typos so I'm wondering if this is just another one.

Any comments?

Cheers,
Malcolm
Hi Malcolm

Pretty sure the crotchet spped is always much lower that the triplet speed but you might find the examiner requesting a range of dynamics when playing crotchets but less dynamics and maybe im fingering for the triplets. I did my 6th grade exam and couldnt play at the tempo listed and there were no negative comments about it in the report.

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Re: Speed Breakthrough

Post by rob8624 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:38 pm

What helped me play faster and be more consistent, was to almost take all the pressure of committing to a note out of the left hand. Practise chromatic scales, but make the notes buzz slightly, then find the sweet spot, where you are hardly pressing, but making a solid note. You'll be suprised how little pressure is needed, and this will dramatically improve speed in the left hand.

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