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Old 01-13-2013, 01:35 PM   #1
Sempermore
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Practicing with the Metronome - when do you increase the BPM?

Hello!

So I was sitting around practicing these licks with my metronome to get them up to my desired speed when it struck me. At what point should you increase the speed? When you can play it 110% clean? When it's still a little bit sloppy but it sounds ''alright''?

I always increase the BPM when I can play it without trouble although it's not completley clean. So, when do you guys up the speed? Let us know!

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Old 01-13-2013, 01:37 PM   #2
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When you're playing it 100% right and it feels comfortable. If it's not completely clean there is absolutely no point in speeding up because as you get faster the mistakes you're making now will only get more ingrained in to your muscle memory.

Incidentally... this is why speed goals are a bad idea. They put artificial emphasis on the need to attain a certain pace and take your mind away from what should be the number one concern: getting it right.
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Zaphod_Beeblebr
When you're playing it 100% right and it feels comfortable. If it's not completely clean there is absolutely no point in speeding up because as you get faster the mistakes you're making now will only get more ingrained in to your muscle memory.

Incidentally... this is why speed goals are a bad idea. They put artificial emphasis on the need to attain a certain pace and take your mind away from what should be the number one concern: getting it right.


I see your point, but if I f.e play my sweeping excercises at around 140bpm and up my speed I will, when returning to 140bpm some time later, play it clean. Does this make any sense?
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sempermore
I see your point, but if I f.e play my sweeping excercises at around 140bpm and up my speed I will, when returning to 140bpm some time later, play it clean. Does this make any sense?


I know what you mean but have never found anything like that to actually work personally. I have consistently found, at least in my own playing, that pushing past a speed where I'm playing cleanly has resulted in failure and no progress at all.

As in all things, however... YMMV.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Sempermore
I see your point, but if I f.e play my sweeping excercises at around 140bpm and up my speed I will, when returning to 140bpm some time later, play it clean. Does this make any sense?


I tried several rationales like that to quicken my progress. Zaphod is right. They typically don't pay off.

The only thing I do like is the "top-down" approach where you spend a few minutes playing faster than you are able, and gradually slow back down to where you can play perfectly.

The one goal is only to realize how it feels, and how economical your motions need to be at that higher speed. You get a taste, then go back to the slow and steady approach. It can be helpful.

But again, practicing with mistakes above your perfect max speed (in my expereince) will not make you any better of a player at slower speeds.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:40 PM   #6
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If it is still sloppy I would recommend to slow down until you have time to focus on making minimal movement with relaxation. I would increase the BPM after I had played a few rounds perfectly to a metronome. I mean that you should concentrate on hitting the note exactly on the metronome clicks.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:42 PM   #7
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We're in agreement then--only increase the speed when you're running through your licks comfortably and cleanly and use the top down approach--now go!
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:53 PM   #8
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I'm probably not the best person to ask, seeing as I'm hardcore about my metronome practice, but I'll share what I do.

Start extremely slow. I'll usually do half the BPM, but even a quarter of the BPM if the thing im trying to play is extra tough.

If you can play it perfect, up the BPM by 2. Just 2. If you can play that perfect, repeat. Keep going until you reach desired speed and start over if you screw up.

The reason for the minuscule speed increase is so your brain doesn't register it as faster right away because the change is so gradual.

The secret to playing fast is not to play fast; it's to play slow faster.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphod_Beeblebr
When you're playing it 100% right and it feels comfortable. If it's not completely clean there is absolutely no point in speeding up because as you get faster the mistakes you're making now will only get more ingrained in to your muscle memory...what should be the number one concern: getting it right.


This!

If you're not 100% clean with it- at any speed- then speeding it up will only speed up your mistakes, possibly make those mistakes worse (because it's faster) and even introduce new mistakes because you're making things even harder with the speed!

What I tend to do is to start at a speed that I can already play it at- be that 50% or 2% of full speed (or somewhere in between). The most important thing is that you're getting it 100% right- the starting speed isn't all that important other than being slow enough for you to play it 100% correctly.

Then you speed up. How much should you speed up? Well, play it by ear. If you jump up by 10bpm and suddenly you're struggling to get it anywhere near clean, go back by 5bpm or so (so you've only sped up a total of 5bpm). It should feel more difficult, but not be impossible. If the new speed is still too hard, take the metronome down even further.

When- and only when- that new speed is as perfect as your starting speed was, then you can increase the speed and go through the same process again.

I find these things work better if you slightly overshoot how fast you can go, and then bring it back. For example: say you can play something perfectly at 100bpm, but not at 105bpm. I would go up to 110bpm and then back down to 105bpm. This method works and I use it with my students all the time. Sometimes you just don't think you can do the faster speed (and if you don't believe it's possible, it wont be).

In fact, sometimes I'll do this with a student and they'll do the 110bpm version completely cleanly. It's rare, but it happens. As I said, sometimes it's about just believing it's possible, and that you're capable.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:23 AM   #10
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I always tell my students, increase tempo by 5bpm increments only when you can play at the previous tempo consistently and accurately several times in a row!
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:47 AM   #11
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I find that if I practice to a metronome and then speed up, the results are often not that good - usually because I wasn't playing the thing as well as I thought I was.

Play your part 20 bpm slower than you think you can comfortably play it without mistakes, practice that for 1-2 hours, then gradually speed up by 5-10 bpm every little bit. You will eventually reach the spot you were at before, and it shouldn't feel as difficult or fast as it did before. That's your cue to actually start increasing the tempo.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:31 AM   #12
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The best thing that ever happened to me was stop worrying about getting up to speed. You'll get there, trust me.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:04 PM   #13
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The best thing that ever happened to me was stop worrying about getting up to speed. You'll get there, trust me.


Yes, this.

But no as well, because sometimes when you want to play a song and you can't play a part because of the speed ... you have to practice this part to reach the normal speed of the song ... so there you "worry about getting up to speed".

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Old 01-28-2013, 02:41 PM   #14
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Sometime you need to take it past what you can play to so your fingers get the feeling of what it is like to play it faster.

But the general rule is slow and clean and lots and lots of repetition
Edit: Ohhh and always relaxed
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:16 PM   #15
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Start as low as the metronome can go. Play the section until you can play it perfectly. Then go up the next tick. Rinse and repeat until you hit tempo.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:51 PM   #16
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As soon as anything becomes comfortable and fluid in motion, I feel that is the moment when you could decide to increase speed.

EDIT: It should sound good to your ears as well before increasing.
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