Hi, I’m Vi Wickam and here’s another great Quick Practice Tip for you!
This one involves using a metronome.
Now, I know metronomes can be a pain in the tush, but metronomes help us get better faster.
So that’s really what we all want, is to become a better musician as quickly as possible- because the better we are, the more fun it is to play.
So, when we want to learn a passage and we’re having trouble mastering it, the best way to do it is to start out at a speed where we can play it.
So, that maybe 20 beats a minute, it may be 40, 60, 80… whatever that is- find a speed where you can play it, and set your metronome at that speed. So that you’re hearing ‘click, click, click…’.
Now when it comes to using metronomes, there are a lot of different types of metronomes to use. My favorite is an app on my iPhone. I love to use my headphones with the metronome. I also will use a Casio keyboard, and I will use drum machines, and those kind of things can make it more interesting, but that gets beyond the tip.
The tip is find a speed you can play at. Play it with the metronome, then bump up the metronome 2-4 beats faster at a time.
So, say we start at 80, and we can hear the click, and we can play it at that speed.
Then we play it again at 82.
And we can play it at 82, and 82 still feels pretty good.
Then we speed it up to 84, and we can play it at 84, and we’re like “Yeah! This feels pretty good!” Then we bump it up to 86, and we’re like “Oh my goodness! This is the edge of my zone! I’m at the edge of my comfort zone!”
So I’m going to play it 3 or 4 times at the speed- right at the edge of my comfort zone. Then I’m going to bump it back to 84, then I’m going to play it again.
84 felt a little hard before, but now 84 is a piece of cake.
So, the next day I’m going to come back, and I’m going to make notes of how fast did I play- or at least I’m going to have it in my head.
And the next day I’m going to start at 82, and I’ll bump it up to 84, and I’ll be like “Oh! 84 is a piece of cake!” Hit 86, “Oh I can still do 86, still feels like how 84 did yesterday!”
Then I’ll bump it up to 88, and I can play 88 and I’m going, “Wow! I’m getting a lot better at this!”
I bump it up to 90, and all of a sudden I’m at the edge of my comfort zone again! So, I’ll play it through 4 times at 90, then I’ll bump it back to 88… 88 isn’t so bad!
So work it up methodically like that.
Work up your speed, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can improve your speed on those more difficult passages.
As long as you do it slowly and methodically, and use a metronome.
That’s your quick tip for this week! See you next time!