Practice Tip: Go Slow

When one of my students is having difficulty playing a phrase or switching between a pair of chords, I often find out that they are practicing it too fast (or, not practicing it enough – more on this later).

Let me ask a question.  If you try something ten times in a row, would you like to get it right more times, or get it wrong more times?  Of course, you would rather be more right than wrong.  If you practice a passage faster than you are able to perform it, most likely you are getting it wrong 9 out of 10 times.  The one time you get it right, you probably got lucky!

If you practice something slowly and repetitiously, you’re setting yourself up for success.  By slow, I mean at a speed that you can accurately perform your musical exercise (phrase, chord switch, scales, etc). 

A metronome will help you play at a slow and even tempo.  For example, say you are having difficulty switching between a G and D chord.  Set your metronome to 50 and switch chords every 4 beats (or 8 beats, if you need more time).  When you are able to do this, see if you can switch chords every 3 beats, then every 2 beats.  Get it?

Practicing slow is one of the short cuts to success in learning your instrument.  It will make you a more solid and consistent player!


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