- July 20, 2019 at 7:19 pm #26664
Would love to know your thoughts on ultra slow non vib. practice vs. about 80% tempo practice and how/when to use different speeds of slow practice.July 21, 2019 at 6:34 pm #26715
For efficiency, I practice as fast as I can! 🙂 which in many cases is very slow, if I’m not playing something in tune or with great sound.
The whole “practice makes performance” mindset means that we’re always gearing our practice toward that next step. So the non-vib thing makes sense if vibrato is interfering with your ability to hear pitch, or to execute a shift in tune, or whatever it may be. But if you’re going to vibrate in performance, then non-vib practice needs to be a temporary waypoint along the way to slow practice with vibrato, and then 80% practice with vibrato, etc.
There are those who default to practicing much slower than they need, which wastes time and more importantly doesn’t truly engage the mind… think of many other activities which may be engaging and recognizable down to a certain speed, at which they stop resembling anything worthwhile.
But most people default to speeds that are easier than full tempo, but which don’t really remove the difficulties. Or if they do find that “easy” speed, they don’t play musically while they’re there. And they don’t stay at that speed long enough to build good habits.
Again thinking of Bob’s class, I believe he returned to that point over and over suspecting that what he was hearing was the result of not enough time spent at those “easy” speeds. But you don’t necessarily need that same slow speed for every passage. Some will be in shape without it. For his own work, I know that Bob feels best when he’s done that kind of practice for every note. He gets enormous confidence and consistency that way. If you’ve never tried it to that extent, maybe you should! You’ll find what gets you results, and where you might run into diminishing returns.
Other people I’ve personally seen practice in that manner are Midori, Hilary Hahn, and Yevgeny Kissin. There are certain personality traits that lend themselves to that kind of work, and all the people we’re discussing have those to a great degree. But even if you don’t have these traits to that extent, you can still make the commitment to emulate that kind of work to get the results you want.
For me it always comes down to the practical question of what a passage needs. But if I’m out of ideas and nothing’s working, I’ll set a timer for 10 minutes and play it over and over reaaaaaly slowly until the timer goes off!July 22, 2019 at 2:56 pm #26759
Thank you for this great answer!August 1, 2019 at 4:41 pm #27275
Love this answer as well!August 1, 2019 at 6:55 pm #27281
Um, by the way… referring to the ultra slow practice, the term from Bob DeMaine’s class that really stuck with (resonated with?!🙈) me was what he called “serial killer” work… 😆 (Speaking of “certain personality traits…ha ha ha) 😅August 24, 2019 at 11:43 am #28527
Thank you so much for both Q&A! I could think about my practice time. Because when I prepare an audition at some point I get back to old practice-habits like you mentioned. Anyway thanks again!🤗
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