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Ten clicks faster [Bob project] (Read 1833 times)

Offline Bob

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Ten clicks faster [Bob project]
« on: June 13, 2004, 05:35:04 AM »
I want to increase the speed at which I can play scales by ten clicks of the metronome.  I want the rest of my playing skills to stay the same, unwarped by scale practice.

What's the best way to do this?

How long will it take?
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline dj

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Re: Ten clicks faster
«Reply #1 on: June 13, 2004, 05:59:52 AM »
i don't know how you intend to improve your scale playing without having your other playing skills somewhat improved as a result.
rach on!

Offline Saturn

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Re: Ten clicks faster
«Reply #2 on: June 13, 2004, 10:33:28 AM »
Read the two links in the FAQ about fast scales.

There are some really good and useful suggestions there, the most important of which are the use of thumb over technique and the scale fingering which Bernhard uses (4 then 3 on black keys).

If you've read through all that and don't seem to have found your answer, post here again a specific question mentioning which techniques you tried and which don't work for you.

- Saturn

Offline nick

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Re: Ten clicks faster
«Reply #3 on: July 01, 2004, 02:50:50 AM »
Bob. Did you find an anwer to 10 clicks faster? Let me know please. thanks
Nick

Offline allchopin

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Re: Ten clicks faster
«Reply #4 on: July 01, 2004, 05:28:18 AM »
Quote
I want the rest of my playing skills to stay the same

It's great to know people set their goals high these days.

As long as you don't strain yourself trying to speed up, your skills should not go downhill, if that's what you implied by 'unwarped'.
A modern house without a flush toilet... uncanny.

Offline Bob

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Re: Ten clicks faster
«Reply #5 on: July 02, 2004, 02:26:56 AM »
The 10-clicks I refer to is being able to play 10-clicks faster as part of the standard way I play, having 130 feel like 120 used to, having 130 be part of the way I can play without any effort, not having to practice to maintain that 130 -- just having it there all the time.

Nick,

An answer?   Hmmm... sort of.  I think it's a long-term thing though -- making a true change over the course of 6 months (and not 10 clicks).  

The best answer -- I play scales everyday.  I think you have to occasionally push (break/stress) your comfortable tempo.  Just like lifting a really heavy weight to gain greater strength, you push the tempo (stressing your playing muscles).  However, I think you have to drop back after a hard push like that in order for things to heal up.

I do know this -- scale speed does not increase unless you do something.  Things do get better once in awhile by themselves but if I want something to really change, I really have to focus time and energy on it.  I only notice the change much, much later (6 months to a year) and by then I consider it part the standard way I play already.

I think having a daily routine helps solidify this.  It makes it effortless.  It makes a little bit of consistent progress effortless.  Gives you security in your playing.  In the long run, I think a routine can build up your technique without your having to put a lot of effort into it.

My routine covers a lot of different areas of piano technique.  Sometimes, pushing one area can affect all the others.  If my hands are worn out from scales, it makes arpeggios a lot more difficult (actually, pushing one area can put pressure on the other areas).  


3-4-5 fingers -- I think the main reason my scales have gotten faster is from doing exercises for the fingers, esp 3, 4, and 5.  123 get so much work from everything else.  I've done repetitions in pairs 12121212, 131313..., 141414,  etc.   This pattern:

12, 13, 14, 15
23, 24, 25
34, 35
45

or
54, 53, 52, 51
43, 42, 41
32, 31
21

Hands separate, hands together // hands mirrored, hands playing the same pitches

Pushing your endurance by doing more repeitions is another direction with that exercise (besides speed).

I like the pairs exercise.  It gives my fingers a kind of "ironed out" consistent feeling.

I found it was a little insane to try to all type of groups of 3's (ie 123, 124, 125, etc.) so I do small groups of 3 notes.  Since I gave up on all the different combinations, I do "organic" combinations -- 123, 234, 345 's; 12321, 23432, 34543; sometimes with groups of 4 notes, sometimes 5 as in 1234 and 1234321, 2345, etc.    Again I do hands separate and then all the diffenent ways of hands together.

The patterns of 3 notes had the same effect as 2's -- a nice feeling of consistency and strength.

The next part that helped my speed -- I just did 2 repetitions of 2 8ve scales at the very end of my routine.  This was just pushing speed, somewhat sloppy playing.  I wanted to push the edge of my playing.

I do my routine fairly consistently and have doing these things for a few years.  I just posted the 10-clicks to see what reponse I'd get.  I usually am thinking about something else or watching TV while I do this type of exercise -- It gets extremely boring and mind numbing, but I can't argue with the results -- security and guaranteed progress.  I also like that I can carve out time in my schedule to get this done.  There is no guessing, not much deep thinking about philosophy, it doesn't matter how you feel or how much you want to reach the goal -- It does take a lengthy period of time though -- you have to stress your playing abilities, let them heal, reset your form -- Just that could take a month or so.  It can also cause your playing to crash, or you can wear yourself down.  It's important to know when to stop pushing and when to slow down, relax, and ease things back while you heal.  

I know that purely technical practicing can be "anti-piano" for some.  There is a strong argument for using real music to develop your piano technique.  I'm still undecided.  I do my routine to keep in shape and slowly "grow" more technique without having to focus on it so much.  I hate trying to play a piece beyond my abilities and then getting bogged down in the technique required for that piece -- ie I don't play the piece well, hurt my hands by trying to go too far too fast, start focusing more on technique and less on interpretation (for example, "I can't play this passage fast enough.  Screw the crescendo -- I can't even get the darn notes out fast enough.").  Finally, on these "monster" pieces, I never finish them.  Something comes up and the piece slips out of my schedule and eventually out of my mind.  If I'm stubborn, I keep practicing them, but would never finish them unless I happened to develop enough technique (which is unlikely).

I am not playing any actual piano music right now by the way.  I plan on picking literature that it within my abilities so I can focus on interpretation and actually shaping the music -- These pieces I could perform.  Possibly some "monster" pieces just to push myself, but these I would never finish and never be comfortable performing.

Hope that helps -- Ultimately, I think you have to find your own solution.  Listen to a lot of ideas, but decide on your own what you believe. And, don't be afraid to think up your own ideas -- I've found mine to be just as good as the "expert" opinions.  I don't buy what everyone else says -- I think some professionals want to appear more artistic and say they never do any technical practicing, that they only think artistic thoughts, that technique just "appears" one day if you work hard, etc.  I've found if I want definite progress, I need a practical solution that works for me.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."