Tempo Shivers

Slowing down for just a small section of a piece can be very disruptive. These temporary fluctuations in tempo usually happen when there is a tricky spot, or a place a student hasn’t practiced as much.

Tempo Shivers: Build A Band

Recreating the experience other musicians get from regular bands, orchestras and ensemble playing can be difficult with young pianists. Difficult, but not impossible.


  • Find a rhythm backing track. You can use an app or using standard rhythm tracks found on YouTube.
  • In the video I’m using Super Metronome Groovebox. Another great app for this is iReal Pro (also available on Android here). And a quick YouTube search found me this great playlist here. There’s no excuse!
  • Whichever option you choose, make sure your student knows how to access it at home so they can Build a Band wherever they go.

Tempo Shivers: Hands Off

Is your student shivering and shuddering through a section because she simply doesn’t know it well enough? If so it’s time to take her Hands Off and start asking some questions.


  • Mark each point where the student is slowing down. Ask her to answer various questions about this section without touching the keys, such as:
    • What fingering is she using in the right hand? And the left hand?
    • What are the note names?
    • What are the intervals, both melodic and harmonic?
    • Can she sing the melody for you? How about the harmony?
  • Allow her to play the section once.
  • Take away the book and ask her more questions about the section (this time using her memory).
  • If she can answer all your questions easily, Build a Band will be the best cure for her.
  • If she stumbles over certain questions, write them at the top of her music for her to quiz herself at home at the start of her practice each day.

Download a list of sample questions for Hands Off to get your ideas rolling by clicking here.