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  1. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    Sometimes once you get the passage down and you slow down, then thinking too much can be a problem. So at that point it is about practicing faster. If the passage has to be played really fast it must be reaction, no thinking.

    On another level same issue. I have runner's dystonia and find walking on a treadmill a problem. Going slower does not help. Sometimes I have to practice at faster than the speed I can keep up. Sometimes I actually do better. Going too fast certainly is a problem but at some point you can go too slow. The brain must remember the action as a reaction.
    Excellent !

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  3. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Most sources these days and several posters that have time and again proven they can play fast state otherwise in this thread.

    But off course .. If you can back your words with a video of you playing blazing fast then it might be another matter ...
    I’m surprised there are not more people jumping all over this to second the idea of a video. It would be highly educational viewing and a chance to learn from someone who has offered so much pontification and enlightenment on all things music, art and literature through the wonderful conduit of judgement and opinion that is JGBE.

  4. #28

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    Slow down ... I don't know what's going on.

  5. #29

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    So,
    If a pole vaulter wants to break the current Olympic record of 6.19 meters . . . he starts by aiming at the top(6.19 meters) to reach his goal rather than working his way up, sequentially, from lower heights . . . right????? Makes sense to me.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  6. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzism
    I’m surprised there are not more people jumping all over this to second the idea of a video.
    I would if I didn't have the impression we'd have to kill his horse first

  7. #31

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    You know the older and crustier I get, the more I think it's worth practicing things in different ways. The more ways you have of working at something, the better you learn it.

    Slow practice is good
    Fast practice is good
    Burst or grouped practice like in the OP is good

  8. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft
    I had a classical teacher who told be to practise scales very slowly while concentrating on making the change from note to note as clean and fast as possible. Make the note last as long as you can within the beat. In doing that you're practising how to both lift and place the fingers fast.
    I also learnt that from a classical teacher, plus to be very aware (visualise) in advance where you were going to make that finger come down (and repeat until you nailed the spot). Essentially that's the version of the grouped approach that Nathan Cole skips in his video: single note groups.

    Practising scales is a big thing on certain instruments (I actually loved doing it early in the morning before going to work; great way to get my brain in working shape too!). I get the impression it isn't really on guitar, or is it?

  9. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    You know the older and crustier I get, the more I think it's worth practicing things in different ways. The more ways you have of working at something, the better you learn it.

    Slow practice is good
    Fast practice is good
    Burst or grouped practice like in the OP is good
    Ditto.

    I think the point about mechanics is right -- fast playing and slow playing are not just the same motions at different speeds. They're different motions, articulations, etc. I also think there's a guitar specific reason to incorporate speed into how learn material -- positions/stretches/fingerings/octaves that you can get away with at slow tempos might not work at faster tempos. If I start working on something (say, a tricky bop head with a big range) slowly and work my way up gradually I sometimes hit a wall with how fast I can play it with the fingerings I've worked out, and have re-jigger it. So I think it's important to at least try to execute it (or chunks of it, even if sloppy) at fast tempos early in the game to find the trouble spots and adjust where to play it on fingerboard before investing too much time in a solution that doesn't scale.

    For practicing improv (including comping), I have found it helpful to practice with iReal (sounds crummy and stiff, but allows for easy tempo and key changes), and move the tempos up in pretty big jumps every few choruses. I like to get myself into a tempo that is WAY faster than I can or even want to really play, practice a bunch of choruses there, then dial it down. For example, suppose I want to play a tune at 200 bpm that I've been playing a lot slower or am just learning to blow over. I might start at 140 and then do 160, 180, 210, 240, 5 choruses each. I'll probably struggle at 180, suck at 210, and be a disaster at 240, but when I drop down to 200, I'll be kind of OK. Rinse, repeat. The act of trying to do something well beyond what I can do seems to clean up what I can do at more reasonable tempos and raise the ceiling on what's comfortable more quickly than more gradual increases.

  10. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by RJVB
    I also learnt that from a classical teacher, plus to be very aware (visualise) in advance where you were going to make that finger come down (and repeat until you nailed the spot). Essentially that's the version of the grouped approach that Nathan Cole skips in his video: single note groups.

    Practising scales is a big thing on certain instruments (I actually loved doing it early in the morning before going to work; great way to get my brain in working shape too!). I get the impression it isn't really on guitar, or is it?
    Yeah I teach and practice what Croft said; all playing is fast playing; the secret is in being able to move instantaneously with as little effort as possible. Particularly important for the left hand methinks….

  11. #35

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    And for precise coordination between fretting hand and plucking hand. The faster the piece the more you need that.

    I'm with Christian. The more different ways you go at it the better over the long haul. Sometimes it's good to just go for it knowing it's not going to be perfection. Get the feel and the fingers may follow.

    The 2 players in the OP were playing classical. They're trying to clean up some lines that are very difficult for their instruments at the prescribed tempo. I tried some of that trombonist's ideas with Donna Lee. It's an interesting exercise. Hard for me to do, especially that backwards thing he was doing. Probably because I'm going from memory rather reading. I'm still quite impressed with what he was doing. I love trombone, and I'm not quite sure I understand how they do what they do.

    Not sure this kind of thing can help a whole lot with improvising. There's something different at play then.

    RJ: you're right about the lifting. Just as important with frets.

  12. #36

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    Very interesting post, certainly a lot of truth to it.

    But now I'm being fed every damn trombone video on YouTube.

  13. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve
    Is that why they take the average performance of the group?


    Gesendet von iPhone mit Tapatalk
    Taking the average alone does not solve the problem. The sample size must be large enough to make the 'confidence' in the statistic high.

    This is not to say that I am taking side on 'slow practice" discussion. It is just that doing a study about how people learn with a sample size of 16 doesn't lead to a lot of confidence about the conclusion.

  14. #38

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    I'm with Howard Roberts on this. Learn everything as slowly as it takes to play mistake-free. Gradually speed up.
    The idea is - if you play mistakes, you are practicing mistakes. Slow is fast.

  15. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    I'm with Howard Roberts on this. Learn everything as slowly as it takes to play mistake-free. Gradually speed up.
    The idea is - if you play mistakes, you are practicing mistakes. Slow is fast.
    and how’s your fast playing?

    Not necessarily referring to you, but quite a few people seem to have report trouble with playing fast. Some of them patiently work for years at playing slow and never develop speed. It’s terribly unfair.

    One problem is that when practicing slow you can make complex, inefficient movements that don’t work fast. If you can only play something slow after a lot of practice, this is probably why.

    That’s usually pretty easy to see at my end; the hand just moves too much or there’s obvious tension in the body. I see these sorts of things a lot. I can also suggest ways of playing that work better; I’ve learned enough that that’s not too hard either.

    The much harder bit is teaching students to practice with the due care and attention to relearn their technique. That’s much harder, but it can be done. New things feel awkward even when they are more natural in the long run. Adults usually have trouble with this feeling.
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 12-05-2021 at 04:05 PM.

  16. #40

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    <post deleted>
    Last edited by BigDee62; 12-06-2021 at 06:41 AM.

  17. #41

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    So yea the same BS.... if you can already play at fast tempos, you've already learned to recognize and hear ...note and rhythmic patterns. Almost all music has target or more important notes and rhythmic attacks that become those targets.

    If you can't play something at fast tempos... you haven't worked out the proper technique to perform at fast tempos on your instrument. It's not like we're talking about the fastest music played. Just being able to play at mm 180 and above, and being able to double time, not just 8th notes.

    I've always believed if I can't double time the 8th notes... I can't create feel. But that is another discussion.

    The reason I believe it's better to take off the bumpers of training wheels is... (play faster than you can) 99% of people just don't or won't put in the time required to learn how to play at fast tempos using traditional slow and perfect approach and speed up etc...

    So if you practice at faster tempos than you can play.... but learn how to keep tract of where you are, even if you don't get all the notes out etc.... you'll actually learn how to feel at faster tempos.

    There are millions of exercises that you can simply double up the note attacks and at least work on the feel of playing fast.

    BigDee... hows your playing now. By that I mean when at a jazz gig and someone calls a tune you know but in a different key or a tune you don't know... (normal gigs), are tempos a problem?

    Not trying to put you on the spot... just trying to see how the slow approach has worked for you.

  18. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    and how’s your fast playing?

    Not necessarily referring to you, but quite a few people seem to have report trouble with playing fast. Some of them patiently work for years at playing slow and never develop speed. It’s terribly unfair.

    One problem is that when practicing slow you can make complex, inefficient movements that don’t work fast. If you can only play something slow after a lot of practice, this is probably why.

    That’s usually pretty easy to see at my end; the hand just moves too much or there’s obvious tension in the body. I see these sorts of things a lot. I can also suggest ways of playing that work better; I’ve learned enough that that’s not too hard either.

    The much harder bit is teaching students to practice with the due care and attention to relearn their technique. That’s much harder, but it can be done. New things feel awkward even when they are more natural in the long run. Adults usually have trouble with this feeling.
    My signature now contains my Soundcloud thingie. Check out "All Along the Watchtower." "Red House" makes a good palate cleanser. Both live, spontaneous, and recorded straight off the board. Critique is always welcome! *

    *Of course, if you are a glutton for punishment, there is always UTONIA, 50+ minutes of my original music. Might as well be thorough.

  19. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDee62
    Many decades ago I got an bachelors degree in music, and I know I’m not the only college educated musician here.

    When I started the program I was asked play scales (at the end of semester juries) at 4 notes per beat at 72. Four years later I was doing 4 notes per beat at 176 (this was on piano not guitar, but the principles are the same). I could not have skipped steps and suddenly jumped from 100 to 144 - not possible. Absurd.

    Now, we didn’t just practice slowly, we practiced with various rhythms (eg dotted 8ths instead of straight 16ths), and with the two hands spread apart at octaves, 10ths, or 6ths - mixing it up. And, I found that doing odd Chopinesque or Lisztian runs of 7 or 13 16ths to a beat were next to impossible to play in rhythm at a slow tempo (for me, anyway).

    But to bash slow practice altogether makes me question the ability and experience of the author - just being honest.
    Have you watched the videos?

  20. #44

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    <post deleted>
    Last edited by BigDee62; 12-06-2021 at 06:41 AM.

  21. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDee62
    This is a really bizarre discussion

    I’ve been performing for over 50 years. My sister taught (a similar approach) at Berklee and the New England Conservatory. I can’t believe I’m defending myself here.

    I think I’ll let this ridiculous conversation rage on without me.
    Blimey! Well I thought it was a reasonable question.

    I watched the first video but not the second and I didn’t read the article. I thought the video outlined an interesting and perhaps useful practice technique. I didn’t really see how it would be in conflict with anything else, and might offer a helpful alternative to other practice approaches.

    A lot of these things get marketed a bit hard in that annoying clickbaity sort of way. Bulletproof musican certainly does that. Everyone is on that internet marketing grift it seems….

    so the implication in the title is ‘you’ve been doing it wrong’ - it’s a cheap marketing tactic and I can see how that might get someone’s back up.

    (There’s also a lot of cults in music education too.)

    But tbf this fella is on faculty at Julliard and I’ve found some of his suggestions genuinely useful over the years.
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 12-06-2021 at 05:06 AM.

  22. #46

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    To put the discussion into a practical context - here is reflection on its application to Donna Lee (I first tried it on 'poison is the cure' by megadeath which I could not get right in the days my youth but I digress )

    I've learned the melody a couple of months ago from a lead sheet. The fingering itself is thoroughly optimized - I spent quite a while figuring out the most uncluttered way - I've tried 6 or 7 variants for a one particularly awkward lick. I also aimed to allow myself slurring into downbeat if needed ( since I was not learning from the record I couldn't tell where I may need to slur for the articulation, but having slurs in 'right' places seemed to be a good idea for the case if I don't have enough picking speed ).
    So I've played it now and then, on some occasions for quite a long period, like a good boy with metronome trying gradually to speed it up. I was hovering around 180-200, depending on the moon phase. I can't say I was not advancing but also I don't remember noticing much improvement lately too.

    At no point I could play with the record and that means that all of the phrasings and articulations mostly were as I have perceived the melody from the lead sheet.

    I've spent a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday I applied various ideas from the videos. What seemed to be working is the dotted rhythm - playing the thing with a maximum jerkiness and speeding up short phrases up to 6-8 notes making them eventually overlap (practicing larger phrases seems to bring efficiency down).

    On Sunday I actually could keep up with the record no sweating at all although it sounded disconnected in the beginning. I've spent may be around two hours playing to the record - not getting tired, not having sore hands or tension buildup and most importantly it was just plainly fun. I've noticed several parts were it sounded not right and could make adjustments as the day before.

    I should have probably recorded it yesterday, I was thinking may be I'll have chance to polish it more. But it seems that this working week is a busy one and who knows when I'll have time again. Here it the way it is now while the discussion is ongoing (I basically played it thrice as a warmup and hit the record):



    I'm not proud at all about how it sounds, but it is roughly the same level of accuracy I was playing before only now it is along with the record which is at 225-230.
    I'm confident that I will eventually clean it up and more importantly it is infinitely more fun now.

    Like it was said before -- the approach itself is not that new, even the Leavitt's book has the same kind of speed studies -- dotted rhythms, adding notes to a sequence, sequences of notes with shortening duration. But those are neglected and the thing about trying to feel what it means to be "driving in the speed lane" (like michael angelo batio likes to say) is dispensed with altogether.
    I would say part of it is actually due to laziness - it is easy to set metronome at high but still comfortable (otherwise you are not accurate) tempo, play a bit and then switch it off when you get tired.

  23. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danil
    I'm not proud at all about how it sounds.
    Well, it's impressive enough but I guess that ultimately you'd like it to sound like a guitar?

    I think no one has claimed that practising slowly at first isn't a good idea (if you're not perfect at sight-reading). It's also very good for committing a piece to memory I find - too good in fact (I would prefer not get disconnected from the score so easily).

  24. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by RJVB
    Well, it's impressive enough but I guess that ultimately you'd like it to sound like a guitar?

    .
    Yes, I'd like to get there eventually, although I know myself long enough to have doubts
    besides of me being clumsy part of it is my habit of playing unplugged (don't want to subject my neighbors to this, guess why) -i'm used to hit the thing too hard, need to start caring about sound finally.
    Said that, in the context of this discussion, not struggling with speed feels refreshing and I'm mildly optimistic

  25. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    When they put PhD after their name, watch out.
    Absolutely. Bet he doesn't even know what a super-locrian scale is. Pffff!

  26. #50

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    I have started to work with this method a little and I can definitely see the value of it. So far, I’m applying it to material I’m sight reading, like Scarlatti’s Sonata in A where I’m setting the metronome at tempo, which is half notes at 88 bpm. The song is in cut time, so that’s pretty fast. I have the metronome clicking only on one and I’m using forward chaining to move through it at tempo. I have previously read through and mostly memorized the tune at a slower tempo, so I’m not strictly sight reading it. But, I have done so using this method with a few other more moderate tempo tunes. So far so good! I’m going to try applying this method to some tunes in the Charlie Parker Omnibook as well.