When I was a child my teachers always admonished me to practice passages slowly. So I did. I played it slower. So what!? It was slower. I did have time to ask myself what should I be doing while I was practicing slowly and the answer seemed to be just practice it slowly. It was an opportunity for day dreaming.
But now I have a better idea of what to do when practicing slowly.
1. Practice all the advance placements of prepared fingers. Also consider other opportunities for advance placement.
2. Keep track of where the first finger is at all times.
3. Prepare finger patterns.
4. Anticipate string changes and string crossings
5. Listen for intonation errors. (No slipping and sliding)
6. Measure shifts to full completion of the shift.
7. Watch bow divisions (the bow is the hardest part of slow practice).
It turns out that slow practice really has some big benefits. It isn't an opportunity for turning your mind off and getting distracted but it is an opportunity to process a wider band width of technical instructions.
More entries: March 2010
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