Essential Secrets 37: Increase Your Tempo Gradually
Increase Your Tempo Gradually
Staying in Control Gives You the Best Results
Many of the time-saving strategies in this book focus on learning notes accurately and efficiently. Once you know all the notes, though, you’ve got to learn to play them at the performance speed.
The secret to building your tempo is to always play at a speed where you have complete control of every note. You start slowly, and build your tempos by the smallest of margins. It’s simply a waste of time to radically increase your tempo to a speed where you have no hope of playing everything correctly.
Here’s a foolproof process for increasing tempos that works every time:
1. Master the music at a slow tempo. This means you can consistently play all pitches, rhythms, dynamics and phrasing—and produce a tone you’re happy with.
2. Play a minimum of three repetitions with a metronome at your current mastery speed.
3. Bump up the metronome one or two beats per minute. You shouldn't even feel the change in tempo.
4. Play at least three repetitions at the new tempo. Continue only if you have complete control of the music at this new speed.
5. Continue steps 3 and 4 until you get to the point where you can’t go any faster without losing accuracy. At that point, stop playing.
By increasing your tempo gradually, you make steady progress. With each increase you’re fooling your muscles into thinking they’re not going any faster even though they are. Your muscle memory stays intact. That’s essential to your success. You may hit some plateaus where you can’t actually go faster, and that’s to be expected. Just stop there for the day. You’ll pick it up again when you practice bass tomorrow.
Slow and steady really does win the race. You'll be amazed at how easily you can increase your tempo. This approach saves time, builds your confidence, and helps you master your music. It’s one of the most powerful practicing secrets.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET