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Topic: improving speed  (Read 4569 times)

Offline rockdafunkybeat

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improving speed
on: August 16, 2004, 06:27:10 AM
Hi.  :)  I'm new to the forum, and I decided to join because I've recently started reteaching myself piano after years without lessons.  :-/

What exercises could I do to improve my finger speed?

Also, my right hand is a bit faster than my left.  I think it has to do with my right-handedness.  How do I make my left hand catch up?

Offline goalevan

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Re: improving speed
Reply #1 on: August 16, 2004, 07:34:40 AM
I'm left handed and my right hand is still very much stronger than my left hand talking in terms of piano playing. I think this is definately because generally the melody that you play with your right hand is faster and more difficult than the bass you play with your left hand. I suggest you find some pieces that have more challenging left hand passages and avoid doing exercises if possible.

Offline rph108

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Re: improving speed
Reply #2 on: August 16, 2004, 08:39:44 AM
This is just my opinion, but I think excercises are great for beginners especially. Try Hanon virtuoso pianist or Czerny. Those are the two best known ones.

Dont try to play any excercise immediately. Start at a VERY slow tempo and using a metronome, go up one notch each day. If you reach a spot where its too hard to play go back and play the previous tempo for a while and once thats easy, try going up again. Scales are also recommended by almost everyone for speed and thumb crossing technique.

Offline faulty_damper

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 Re: improving speed
Reply #3 on: August 31, 2004, 11:33:52 PM
Speed almost always requires you to be relaxed.  If you play something too fast before you have conditioned your body to play it that way, it will become tense.  A tense body will be a difficult body to maneuver.  A poorly moving body means less accuracy.  Less accuracy means you won't be hitting the right notes.  Hitting the wrong notes means no one wants to hear you play, not even the deaf.

Start slowly to coordinate your body to make the correct movements that allows you to play the notes but not too slowly that you can get up and have a drink of coffee between notes.  Then speed up from there.

Speed is usually that last thing that you acquire once you have acquired the proper technique.  Without the proper technique, your speed will suffer, if you can get it up to speed.

Offline bernhard

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Re: improving speed
Reply #4 on: September 01, 2004, 08:58:41 PM
Choose a passage to practise. Alternate hands playing it. For every repeat of the RH do 3 repeats of the LH.

Keep in mind that most of the time, the left hand is less able then the right not because of  “fingers” but because the whole left side of your body is less used. So your left hand may be slower because you are using only your fingers, while the right hand you are using your whole arm.

Think about bringing a fork to your mouth. It is not done with the hand – the hand just holds the fork. It is the arm that brings the hand (and consequently the fork) towards your mouth. But because the hand holds the fork and our attention is on the fork (the food is there!), we concentrate on the hand and the arm movement happens unconsciously. This is all right with the right hand – you are used to it. But if you try to eat with the left hand, you become very clumsy first because you are concentrating on the hand, and secondly because your left arm is not used to the movement necessary to bring the hand over to your mouth.

If you observe carefully, you will notice that your right hand moves in a dramatically different way from the left when playing a similar passage (you must make sure it is a mirror image, since our hands are mirror-images; if you are playing an ascending scale with the RH you must play a descending scale with the LH otherwise your movement comparison will not be valid).

So here are two approaches:

1.      Choose a passage and its mirror image. Observe carefully how you do it with the RH, and how you do it with the LH. Work on making the LH movements as similar as possible to the RH movements (assuming your RH is your better hand and that you are satisfied with its performance). This way, the RH “teaches” the LH.

2.      Spend a month consciously doing all sorts of things with your LH (eating, opening doors, combing hair, using the mouse, you get the idea). This will get the left side of your body as adept at general movement co-ordination as the right.

Have a look here for discussions on left hand issues:

https://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=repo;action=display;num=1084390696

https://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=stud;action=display;num=1085018502

https://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=teac;action=display;num=1049478047

https://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=stud;action=display;num=1036101959;start=0

Also have a look here, where speed has been discussed at length:

https://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=stud;action=display;num=1087278993


Just the tip of the iceberg. ;)

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline minimozart007

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Re: improving speed
Reply #5 on: January 11, 2005, 02:41:14 AM
Another pointer is to practice at a speed at which you can play musically.
You need more than a piano, two hands and a brain to play music.  You also need hot sauce.

Offline dorfmouse

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Re: improving speed
Reply #6 on: January 11, 2005, 09:25:38 AM
Quote
Think about bringing a fork to your mouth. It is not done with the hand – the hand just holds the fork. It is the arm that brings the hand (and consequently the fork) towards your mouth. But because the hand holds the fork and our attention is on the fork (the food is there!), we concentrate on the hand and the arm movement happens unconsciously. This is all right with the right hand – you are used to it. But if you try to eat with the left hand, you become very clumsy first because you are concentrating on the hand, and secondly because your left arm is not used to the movement necessary to bring the hand over to your mouth.

Bernhard, I'm shocked :o!! Eating with the fork in the right hand? What is the UK coming to? Where are our standards? It'll be elbows on the table next! Bring back Nanny! >:(
Or do I detect a "foreign" upbringing?;D ;D ;D  (nudge nudge, ;) ;))
(Acually just wanted to try out these little faces :D)
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Offline will

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Re: improving speed
Reply #7 on: January 11, 2005, 10:13:28 AM
2.      Spend a month consciously doing all sorts of things with your LH (eating, opening doors, combing hair, using the mouse, you get the idea). This will get the left side of your body as adept at general movement co-ordination as the right.

Due to an injury I had the experience of having to use the mouse with my left hand (and side). The co-ordination took a while but it is now almost as good as the opposite side I usually move the mouse with.

Bernhard: Have you ever suggested the above activities to any of your students and seen any spectacular results in their playing?

I ask this because though my mouse handling ablilities improved dramatically in this time my piano abilities have not risen accordingly!

Thanks, Will.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: improving speed
Reply #8 on: January 13, 2005, 02:08:35 AM
Improving speed is best tackled in actual peices. When faced with a long sting of fast notes it is good to practice them in groups. Of 2 for instance, accenting every odd note, then reverse that, accent ever even number. You pause a little on each accent, so your hand can adjust to move to the next two notes. This works on the speed at half intensity.

sorta like.. note, accent note(hold)     note, accent note(hold) etc.....
reverse. accent note(hold), note    accent note(hold) note etc ....


 If you dont have the accents and pauses the speed can be overwhelming, but if you practice these groups and pause, understand the speed of what it feels like to play the unaccented note to the accented.

You can also do this with groups of 3 or whatever works best. This method i use still when working on big single note runs, and it always works.
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Offline bernhard

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Re: improving speed
Reply #9 on: January 15, 2005, 03:37:21 PM



Bernhard: Have you ever suggested the above activities to any of your students and seen any spectacular results in their playing?

I ask this because though my mouse handling ablilities improved dramatically in this time my piano abilities have not risen accordingly!

Thanks, Will.

Here are the reasons:

1.   You did not “practise” using the mouse with the left hand. You “used” the mouse with the left hand. From the very beginning your mouse activity was directed and pointed to obtain certain results. Your attitude was not: I must do one hour of Hanon for the mouse in order to acquire the technique to actually use it in real computer work". You just went ahead and used the mouse. Most people “practise” the piano but almost never (if ever) “use” the piano.

2.   The results in a mouse are pretty straightforward: You move it to a spot on the screen, you click it. If you are accurate in your movement and in your clicking satisfactory results quickly appear. Piano playing is far more complex, first in the range of movement, and second because most of the time we are not clear at all about what would be the desired result. Because the desired results with the mouse are so obvious and clear cut, we tend to progress that much faster. So whatever you do at the piano, make sure you have a totally specifc and detailed idea of what the desired result is. Then let this aim guide and orientate your practice.

And yes, I had some pretty good results with this approach.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline bernhard

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Re: improving speed
Reply #10 on: January 15, 2005, 03:38:49 PM


Bernhard, I'm shocked :o!! Eating with the fork in the right hand? What is the UK coming to? Where are our standards? It'll be elbows on the table next! Bring back Nanny! >:(
Or do I detect a "foreign" upbringing?;D ;D ;D  (nudge nudge, ;) ;))
(Acually just wanted to try out these little faces :D)

Although I live in the UK, I was neither born nor raised in the UK. In the uncivilised, primitive parts I am from we actually eat with our hands (eating with the feet: that would raise a few eyebrows where I am from ;D).


Fortunately, the British are pretty tolerant of eccentric behaviour, so the Queen took it all good-naturedly at the last banquet I attended at Buckingham Palace. ;)

Best wishes,
Bernhard.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline chopinguy

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Re: improving speed
Reply #11 on: January 17, 2005, 04:39:22 PM
I've found that practicing some of the Cramer etudes for the left hand have helped tremendously.  My left hand just feels a lot more agile because the etude is the first time I've had it try doing a piece designed for velocity.

I'm talking about the Cramer etude in f minor, (original number 16 by Cramer, number 7 in that edition with the yellow book cover and the vine design around the edge).

Offline anda

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Re: improving speed
Reply #12 on: January 17, 2005, 05:09:25 PM
Fortunately, the British are pretty tolerant of eccentric behaviour, so the Queen took it all good-naturedly at the last banquet I attended at Buckingham Palace. ;)


so, it was you who taught the queen to eat with her hands! i guess she couldn't find a british to teach her this  ;D
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