Maximum speed isn't enough

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Re: Maximum speed isn't enough

Post by vesa » Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:41 am

What is the piece you have problems with?
And where in it?
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Re: Maximum speed isn't enough

Post by lagartija » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:11 pm

robjh22 wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:00 am
Terpfan wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:23 am
Practice playing left hand alone. Then practice playing right hand alone. But first you have to plan every fingering left and right.
I confess I haven't ever done that. Ever. Not sure I even know how to do that. :oops:
Yes, it is challenging! I found I had to write the right hand pattern down on a separate sheet of paper with the string number above the right hand finger. I found that trying to extract that information on the fly with the entire score in front of me took more neurons than I had available! :lol:

Then just practice the pattern slowly on open strings. Once you know the pattern, then just run it up in speed.
Don’t try to do the *entire* piece at once; take small bites. It might be as long as a phrase, or just a few bars. Since you said in the OP that you can play any single bar at tempo, use a bigger bite than that, but smaller than the entire piece. After each bite is up to tempo, use both hands together on each bite.
Then, play two bites at tempo. If you do that successfully, add a bite. You are in effect building endurance, both mental and physical.
It is like trying to play a scale fast. Two or three notes are not a problem...but when people get to five or seven notes at their highest speed, that is often where the trouble starts. Terpfan is right that often it is your brain that thinks you can’t go faster, even though your fingers really can. Break it down into sections and bring those individually up to tempo...then increase the tempo a bit for headroom. You will be surprised how after taking a small section at a higher tempo than your target, playing it at the target tempo seems easy.
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Re: Maximum speed isn't enough

Post by Rognvald » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:42 pm

As long as you have "cleaned up" any technical problems, play it at a speed that you can play it properly. As you devote more time to the piece, increased speed will follow with greater familiarity. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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Re: Maximum speed isn't enough

Post by Terpfan » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:27 pm

robjh22 wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:59 am
There is no single measure that I can't play at tempo, but when I put it all together, sooner or later I fall apart.

It has been almost two month (longest streak) since I have been practicing again after almost 20 years. The first month, I have learned el noi de la mare. (Piece l liked but never put effort to learn it before) Now I am learning Paganini op.3 no.6. (Barrueco) The third section
, I practiced it slow up to intermediate speed. (Intermediate speed is where I can control the movements completely) Taking the tempo to Barrueco speed is a different beast. What I did was raising tempo one pattern at a time and sequencing it together little by little and it's getting there. ( One thing, practice speed just a short time, especially if you are making mistakes)

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Re: Maximum speed isn't enough

Post by Bill B » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:46 am

I find that there is no substitute for time with a piece. not necessarily long times each day. I mean just be comfortable playing it at the speed you can play it musically, but working on other things as well. This time next year it will be faster. Don't hang up on this one thing.
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Re: Maximum speed isn't enough

Post by Terpfan » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:06 pm

Just watched Thomas Viloteau lesson on speed on YouTube. Very good advice on it.

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Re: Maximum speed isn't enough

Post by Sebastian » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:34 pm

Hi, so any improvements or updates so far?
You're reading this.

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Re: Maximum speed isn't enough

Post by robjh22 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:14 pm

Hello friends, I have come to accept a slower than desired speed for the time being. My camera guy is coming by today to show me how to do a split screen video of left and right hands, and then you'll see. There are 3 parts to this piece (Tarrega's Estudio Brillante). I'll play each section at a different tempo -- 75, 95, and 105 bpm. Playing the whole thing at 3 different speeds will take too long and thereby bore everyone to death, lol.
To b clear, I actually play the whe thing at 7 or 8 different tempos, nearly every day. I think it will sound better in a year even if it doesn't get any faster.

Thanks for checking up on me.

I've never been super fast at anything, except eating cookies, maybe, and that's okay.

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Re: Maximum speed isn't enough

Post by robjh22 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:24 pm

That French video resolved also a language problem I've been struggling with for many years. To "practice" is to "travailler," not "pratiquer," which always felt like a false friend. Now I can relax, LOL.

And yes, it's very good. I think he is recommending practicing at greater than performance speed. Any opinions on that philosophy?

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Re: Maximum speed isn't enough

Post by guitarrista » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:22 pm

robjh22 wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:24 pm
I think he is recommending practicing at greater than performance speed. Any opinions on that philosophy?
I didn't watch the video again just now so don't remember his exact words, but I know of the concept. The idea is that you are able to practice-play the piece up to speeds greater than the target performance speed. This definitely works if you can pull it off even marginally. After doing one such run through, going back to performance speed feels "slower" in the sense of more manageable, controllable (than before doing so). So it works on your proprioception and also on the psychological aspect of playing.

Stephen Aron in 2014-2016 had a brief piece on his blog about this, and I think he also states that it is a technique which shortens the amount of time one needs to get a fast scale up to speed within a larger piece, like Rodrigo's Tonadilla. He also gives his prescription to how exactly to do this (but generally, it should not be done in a way that causes you to learn things in the wrong way or to wreck you hands).

Wait I found the article: ... n-now.html It is in the context of fast scales, but the idea I think is applicable more broadly.

P.S. Practicing in this way seems to reset the range of speeds that your brain allows (in addition to your conscious self realizing that you CAN actually move your fingers a bit faster than you ever thought possible and thus improving your psychological outlook). After a while you start to be able to do this with more and more control, and eventually you move the dial again. If you are familiar with political theory, this is like you just expanded your Overton window.

But I think this idea, restated in this way: that you should not be performing a piece on stage at a tempo which is your maximum, i.e. at the current edge of your abilities, is familiar. Stephen and Thomas just flip it around to what this means as a strategy for practicing.
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Re: Maximum speed isn't enough

Post by Terpfan » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:09 am


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