Difficulty playing slowly
Found in: Musicality, Pedaling, Technique
Heidi M., Canada
I have a private student, an adult with no previous piano lessons of any kind, who is learning even a lot faster than what I am used to seeing. As an artist, she also loves improvising. I teach her one of the F1 songs and she comes back next week with a couple of her own lovely variations as well. While it is exciting working with her (just 8 weeks of lessons so far), I am a bit concerned to discover that some songs/variations she can do very well when she plays quickly, but not so well slowly. So I tell her to practice slowly. She accepted that but has admitted that “playing slowly is harder than playing quickly!”.
Any thoughts on this situation? I feel I need to slow her down (maybe not move so quickly through F1 and Acc 1 but get everything solid, but still do not want to stifle her creativity!
Leeanne I., Australia
Sometimes when we slow things down, we have to think more about what we are doing. As long as she is not playing faster than the audio recordings, I would say it is fine. Can she play the songs on the practice pad? Can she teach you the songs? i.e. can she say the sentences and point to the fingers used away from the piano? If she can do all this, she thoroughly knows the songs. Time to address the dynamics. If a song is played too fast, it often loses its ‘feeling’. You can demonstrate this by playing one note. Any note. Play it repeatedly fast and loud. Then play it slowly, softly, and lovingly. This is what she needs to work on now with those songs.
Heidi M., Canada
She is playing a bit faster than on the audio recordings but when she goes slower she makes mistakes. Funny because I often ask other students to explain to me the patterns after they learned them and to “teach” it to me (or their parents/peers), but had not done this as much with her.
Sharon L., California
I tell my students, “The slower you play, the faster you learn”.