I want to play faster on my instrument, but how?


Beginning music students often try to play a scale or a musical

passage as quickly as they can. Why? Because it's "fun" to see

how fast they can try to play. Ok. I get it. But in doing so, it's like

trying to type fast when you are learning to type, something like

 -- I wand to see ee how fasty I cann dtypek this .

It won't sound very good, although it may be "fun" to try. Here is

a list of factors that go into sounding good And playing fast in

no particular order.


1. Understanding the sequence of notes that you are trying to play.

Are you just wishing that if you play through it, all the right notes

will magically come out? Bogus! You have to know what you are trying

to play. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Not supercaligits...

supercalidociouslistic.......supercalixpalifragil..... How do you learn

to say the word? Easy. Break the word down into smaller components

and add the next syllable until you can say the whole word slowly, then

practice the whole word quicker, then practice it until it can roll off your

tongue. Don't worry it took the Sherman brothers three weeks to think

of that word.


The same is true to learning how to play a scale or a passage

on your instrument quickly. First, analyze the note you want to play.

On the piano, are you trying to play a scale with only two black keys?

Then start like a turtle starting a race. Play each note Very slowly.

When you can play the first two or three notes without coming

to any stumbling blocks, you can proceed to the next note. Once you

hit a stumbling block, you can stop, try to figure out what you did wrong

(if you are by yourself), then work on getting (wait for it!) just that part

(one or two notes ) under your fingers, and then proceed again from the

beginning. It might sound hard, or a tedious way, but it is the quickest

way to get to your end goal--to play fast (and sound good)!!!!!


2. Practice Your Rhythm!

You know what notes you are supposed to play. Now Play!!!!

Well, not so fast. LOL. Let's say you are playing a scale. You

first need to play each note with an equal rhythm, tone, and slowly.

If you play each note as a half note, and everything sounds

smoothly, then play the passage using quarter notes. From

there, if all the notes sound even, play a little faster, Then

think about using eighth notes for each note. Then build up

your speed with each note measured in eighth notes. 


These are two of the major factors beginning students, (not

you, of course) struggle with to sound good on their instrument.

The good news is that once you learn to play slowly, it's much

easier to learn how to PLAY FAST!!!!! (I know, What a concept?! )