When you are practicing or playing your instrument, are you patient enough to play slowly? In order to learn a piece of music correctly, you need to develop your timing and rhythm and many students are guilty of playing too fast without keeping a steady rhythm.
To exemplify, a banjo player learns many fast songs. Some of those fast traditional tunes are what attracted them to the instrument in the first place. Similarly, a blues guitarist in the style of Stevie Ray Vaughn may receive some gratification in playing many fast rifts up the neck of the guitar fingerboard. Then there is the mandolin player, who sometimes forgets that there is more to the mandolin than playing a bunch of eighth notes quickly. The student’s desire may be driven by speed. Yet there are many benefits to learning (at least at first) how to play your instrument slowly .
As a teacher, I often tell my students that I should charge them an additional $5.00 for each time I ask them to slow down during a lesson. Sometimes my pleas seem to fall on deaf ears. When I say “slowly” I mean slower than what you would normally even feel comfortable doing. I would equate “slow” in musical terms as walking toe to heel, in baby steps down the street.
If you learn a song slowly and concentrate on your timing and rhythm, you will quickly discover that your speed will develop naturally. It is much better to be a perfectionist with your sound while practicing slowly, then to later become a fast but sloppy banjo, guitar or mandolin player down the road. Let’s also not forget some of the wonderful slow tunes that are worth learning and adding to your musical repertoire.
Are you guilty of having a need for speed? Let us know. In the meantime, be patient and your speed will develop over time.