Practicing any instrument and particularly piano doesn’t restrict you with any one method. There are different methods which a learner can use however it is important to identify correct methods and use them for effective piano practicing. One of the best and never failing method that pianists have been using is slow practicing method and it has proved to work well for all different kinds of piano music pieces. However old thoughts were that this method is not really promising and can even work negative for practices. However the truth is if practiced on a regular basis and with correct technique, slow practice can truly transform your piano playing in a positive manner. Slow practicing actually is reducing speed and tempo for playing a particular piece during the process of learning and practicing. Accurate slow work would not only be interesting but would also be fulfilling if you wish to gain true piano playing success.
Why is slow practice necessary?
Slow practice proves helpful in a variety of ways. Correct fingering, hand positioning, wrist and arm movement is something that is crucial for correct learning, this could only be established with slow practicing. Apart from that with slow practice, a pianist can truly understand chord structure, phrasing and thus a completely correct picture of a piece thus enabling quick and correct learning. When you practice slowly, your mind gets more time to concentrate on each corner of a piece. As opposed to slow practice, when you rush and speed up for practicing a piece; you often make errors with rhythm and notes. When you continue to play faster, you are continuing to practice those mistakes and once you learn a piece with those errors; it becomes really difficult to unlearn errors.
You even get hesitation and even after multiple practices, your piano performance with that piece lacks confidence.When you choose to play slow speed on a regular basis for practicing, it gives you more confidence and improvement with your overall performance with your marked pieces. Slow practicing is for that reason termed necessary before your on-stage performance or before your piano exam. Moreover for clarity and accuracy; slow practicing is crucial. It even helps in memorizing that particular piece when you play it slowly with preparation in a variety of ways such as playing at slow tempo with one hand, then the other and finally both hands together.
When to use slow practice?
Slow practicing is the cornerstone of learning and practicing piano whether you are at the beginning level or are at advanced level of piano. Most of the serious professional piano players use this as their practicing tool. It doesn’t seem so but slow practicing is little hard as it needs a lot of concentration from player along with good ears on listening to music. But there are places and situations where slow practicing is the right thing to be done.
- It should be used for learning new pieces as it aids your brain and memory to learn quickly as with slow practicing your brain is moving faster than your fingers on piano.
- It proves effective when you are trying to learn pieces that lack control because of unevenness. Smooth pieces can be learnt much easily but these complex pieces that we are talking about need fine motor skills for correct learning.
- It is important to maintain correctness and smoothness in your piano performance.
- It could be used to give decorative dynamics and balances to your pieces that sound dull.
- It should be used to earn complete command on each note, pedaling and expression in a piece.
- It should be used to memorize pieces as when you play slowly, you can memorize pieces even quickly. If you are able to play a piece at a really slow pace from your memory, it means that you know all the atoms and angles of that musical piece.
Strategies and Tips:
Here are some tips that would aid you gaining further progress with piano playing while using slow practicing technique:
- When you are trying to learn a new piece with slow practicing, it is best to begin playing slowly with one hand. Work with small sections and work really slow to play the piece. Next try playing that piece on an ultra-slow speed with both hands. This speed could be a quarter of the speed marked or suggested with notes.
- While slow practicing, make sure that your mind is completely focused on your piece and practicing.
- It is wise to subdivide beats for gaining complete control and accuracy with notes.
- With slow practicing technique, metronome can really prove helpful. Setting a metronome will give you base speed and will suppress the urge of increasing speed.
- One important technique for slow practicing is to break your piece down so that you can play some parts of it on the required temp. You can practice the piece with separate hands and play them at a tempo closer to final tempo. As you do that; make sure you have concentration on your muscular movements, weight, fingering and other technical details. Once you have complete knowledge and understanding of your technique, you can use this information for your slow practice.
- Another technique is to work at a tempo that is much under your required speed. This is because if you work slightly under the required tempo of the piece, you will experience magnetic pull influence that would most likely make you impatient and you can gradually speed up to the original tempo. Working way slower reduces that urge to a great extent. But always decide your tempo in advance. For this kind of practicing, you should know your tempo before you start your practice.
- When you are beginning this practice, you should know where your first note begins, where your fingers should be placed and which note will follow after the first one. Knowing each step is important for precise piano playing.
- Imagine the sound and feel of the music that you will be playing and enjoy playing it like meditation.
- Believe in success associated with this technique and know it in advance that you will get the results needed.
- Make sure you have complete control over your fingers and feet and keep on commanding them what you need them to do net.
- Listen to what you are producing and evaluate your results to see if they match your intention. If they do, carry on with the same process and if they don’t check your steps to see what went wrong?
- Slow practicing would need patience and discipline. Keep yourself in a state of calmness and maintain a positive practice attitude.
A mechanical and dull sounding piano practice can be really boring. This happens when you lose connection between your body and mind and are not focused on your musical goal. Slow practicing keeps quality of your tone and your mind concentration in your piano practice and thus keep your body and mind connected. Slow practice thus is important for good sound and complete precision with any kind of music that you wish to play on piano or any other musical instrument.