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Finding the Tempo: Balancing Fast and Slow Practice

In the world of music, it’s often the speed that steals the show. There’s an undeniable rush that comes with playing fast pieces—it’s thrilling, challenging, and just plain fun. But behind every lightning-fast performance lies a quieter, more deliberate practice that’s just as essential for musical growth.

As someone who loves to play with tempo, I’ve come to appreciate the delicate balance between fast and slow practice. Let’s take a more laid-back approach to explore why both styles have their own unique charm and importance in the journey of mastering music.

Taking It Slow: The Art of Precision

There’s something special about slowing down the tempo. It’s like zooming in on the details of a painting—you notice things you never did before. When I practice a fast piece at a slower pace, I get to savour every little nuance. From nailing the rhythm and tuning to experimenting with different bow techniques, it’s all about fine-tuning the subtleties.

Back in high school, my teacher had a trick up his sleeve—he’d have me play concertos at a snail’s pace before big performances. It was during these slow sessions that I learned to pay attention to every bow stroke, every dynamic change, and every tiny movement that brings the music to life.

Feeling the Need for Speed

But let’s not forget the thrill of picking up the tempo. Playing fast is like riding a rollercoaster—it’s exhilarating, it gets your heart pumping, and sometimes, it’s a little scary. Pushing the boundaries of speed pushes us out of our comfort zones and into uncharted territory. And you know what? That’s where the magic happens.

For me, there’s something oddly satisfying about pushing myself to the limit and seeing how far I can go. Sure, I’ll stumble along the way, but each stumble is a chance to learn and grow. It’s about embracing the journey, imperfections and all, and finding joy in the process.

If you’re eager to delve deeper into mastering speed on the fiddle, you might find my older blog post on the topic, Mastering Speed on the Fiddle, a valuable resource.

Finding Your Groove

In teaching my own students, I’ve noticed that everyone has their own rhythm. Some are eager to sprint towards speed, while others prefer to take things slow and steady. And you know what? That’s totally okay. The key is finding the balance that works for you.

So, how do you find your tempo? It’s all about listening to your instincts and honoring your preferences. Maybe you’ll start with a slow, steady warm-up before picking up the pace. Or perhaps you’ll sprinkle in bursts of speed throughout your practice session. Whatever feels right for you, go with it.

And if you’re looking to deepen your musical journey, don’t forget to check out my course, Fan to Fiddler, where you can take your skills to new heights!

In Harmony with Your Music

In the end, it’s not about how fast or slow you play—it’s about finding your own rhythm and playing in harmony with the music. So, whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll through a piece or racing to the finish line, remember to enjoy the ride. After all, the beauty of music lies in the journey, not just the destination.

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